I stood like a false steel, watching as the pharmaceutical vampires ran blitzkrieg method towards my bloodstream. It was me or them; stifled life and snuffed out breath or wide eyes with a penchant for choreographing a side step when dire circumstances called for audible. Chains were bound around every free limb, for I was a prisoner to a never ending onslaught, a battle, a war – tortured with the Rockwellian picture show that played for everyone else. An oasis life that was always just over the horizon, kissing the sun somewhere I could never find. Could not reach. Could not imagine. My arms tired, legs anchored from the weight of the cold steel I could never replicate in my will. Just kill me. End it. Let me find the life that awaits my exit from purgatory. I could see everything so clearly as I lie face down on the floor, my electrified bottom with a false door, no magic on tap. Staring at the cage that kept me from the world. From you. From me. My days on the battlefield receded further into the past, a locomotive of pain picking up speed until it faded from my peripherals. I was left on the platform watching it disappear, happy to have gotten off, yet sad to know it even exists. Sad to know it will never stop. Not even slow. Sad to know many others will unwillingly board. But there I was, in a world condensed, chained and broken when I realized – I already had the key. It was in my smile I hid from view. It was in my laugh that I muffled from you. It was in my eyes, I just had to close to see. It was in me. The whole time, it was in me. Warm sun. Cool rain. Stiff wind. The silence of night and the never ending decibels of day. It was now all mine. But I am not greedy – I left some for others when they decide to stop playing war.

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