This is the remains of an ex-dancer. One shot.


1. Broken pieces


She moved slowly, stretching out on leg at a time, refusing to acknowledge the weakness in her limbs and the shakiness that pervaded each sigh. The dance was simple: Lift, turn, tap, lift, spin, spin, stop.


So why can’t I get it right?

She knew, but instead she just shoved it to the back of her mind along with all the other problems. That was why she was here.

There’s nowhere else to run.


So why not? Childhood dance studio, as rotten and abandoned as the girl. The mirrors were cracked, the floor warped, as if whatever darkness that had inhabited this room had nowhere else to go.

Just like me, the girl thought. She danced harsher, stronger, driving away the pain, the sorrow, the darkness.


After hours the shakiness faded, returning to the smooth glide that she was used to. It hadn't felt this good since that first time she had tried it, the first time she had given in and taken what the had offered.


They made it sound so good, the perfect way to escape the world while still being here. 'Not dangerous', they said. 'It's great', they said. 'They'll never know', they said.

But the most important part was what they hadn't said.

It destroyed me. It destroyed everything. There's nothing left!


And after it had torn her world apart, when she'd realized that even though it was an escape, you always had to come back to what you had left behind. And every time she came back, reality was always a little worse, always a little less satisfying.

It wasn't enough.


Every minute of every day, it was there, the craving. She couldn't get rid of it. Not ever. Not if she danced and danced and danced until there was nothing left to dance with. Not if she danced until the end of time.

It would never be enough.


She wished she could blame them for her mistake. She wished she could make it better. She wished she could un-break it.


But she knew better, by now. Wishes don't grow on trees. 


It was her fault, for hoping to get something good out of what was always destined to be a disaster. It was her fault for not saying ‘no’. She should have held out longer. Maybe they would have left her alone, and she would still be in one piece, instead of being made of the shards that governed her life.

It'll never be fixed.


She couldn't make it better, not anymore. It was too late, she was too far gone. She was alone, her habit, her craving taking over her life, her family. Making her watch from afar as someone who looked like her, acted like her, and at most times, was her, tear apart the only other thing that had been keeping her whole.


She stopped. No more. 


There were no more bruises. No more judgements. No more threats, bribes, manipulations.


There was no one but her.

Her and her cravings, and broken pieces and jagged edges, and the emptiness that was the only thing she knew was right.


She panted, legs hurting from misuse after all these years of nothing. She fell against the mirror. The broken, cracked, dirt mirror, that showed more of the illusions she had refused to see through.


This time I must do it right.

So she looked. And looked, and looked, and looked.


But all she could see was a thin girl of barely twenty, made of skin and bones, brown hair black and grey from the dirt collected over many years. It was long, and ragged, draping just over her shoulders. Her eyes were bruised, hollow. Vacant. Empty. Lonely. Her eyes looked too big for the rest of her face, the brown-black taking over her face, the only spots of color in her, on her. Thin lips, pale face. As if she hadn't seen sunlight in a hundred years.


It felt like a hundred years.

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