I did not know how to play the game when I was a child, and still don’t. I don’t know how to be human. I thought I’d somehow learned with time and devoted imitation, but then I discovered that I lacked one fundamental trait: love. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to stumble into other people’s paths and walk by their side as though riding a roller coaster, my chest pounding dizzy with dreams. Were my feelings back then real or was it yet another simulacrum for me to feign normalcy? I’ll never know—I don’t think I’ll try again, lest they find out what I really am: a hollow soul. An island. A horrible amorphous formation of dry rocks where no lost bird would ever want to land. I was banished into this cave in order to prevent more people from getting hurt, and yet I’ve slashed a few curious passersby with claws I’ve never been able to locate on my body. I watch them bleed to death and I don’t understand what’s going on, I don’t understand the warm liquid splattered on my face. Every new presence is a menace. I’m not afraid of them but of what’ll happen to them if they come any closer. Now you’re looking at me with that compassionate face, confident that your infinite mercy will bring change to this mess. You’re not the first but I do wish you were the last. I’ve heard “I don’t bite” all too many times. I know full well that you don’t, but I do. If I were you I’d run away. Now run. Run.

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