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As a child, I was a barbed thing. I exhaled cold, hard Octobers and relished the stolid, 9-month rain. My mind fogged over thoughts of what-was-before-birth as my bleeding fingers dug for skeletons and stones to tell me stories about the Earth.

“You’re a fancy little thing, a goodie-two-shoes prude,” he’d say, his eyes the colour of dying leaves.

I was six-years-old and whispered words I considered dear friends, like countenance and wont and indubitably. I had discovered classic books and slept with an old, weathered dictionary.

And I walked around with a little rubber Dracula-bat for company.

“Street smarts are what you need,” came his words, lugubrious and warbling, as he held me beneath the numbing waters of the sharp-shadowed lake.

Splotches of ink leaked before my eyes and I found there was a kind of peace in drowning.

“Goodie two-shoes.”

A visceral disgust.

Drunk on a spore-coughing revulsion, inward-turned and blooming like a fungus, I cursed, wishing I had cinderblock fists and a swarthy, iron frame.

I longed to be brutal and sharp and vicious. If only I could tear the stringy, pale tendons from a carcass and startle him with my incarnadine grin.

I was just a small animal that bristled when he kicked.

And all I could see were his eyes, the colour of old stones at the bottom of a creek.

The Drear can be such a seductive thing.

My one imaginary friend.

It is so enticing to lapse into that velvet mildew of black.

There is a peace in that kind of drowning.