I don’t move.

I can’t move.

I don’t dare to take a breath as he towers over me. A chill sweeps into my lungs and I am a mannequin with glassy blue lips and a stumbling heart. I like to think I’m feisty, fiery, flaming with this blazing energy that can’t simply be extinguished.

But as soon as he’s here, it all rushes away and I am just a little girl again, shuddering and shivering under the sheets, afraid of the thing lurking in the dark. Afraid of the way the shadows seem to move, spilling into my mind like ink staining silk until I can’t think, can’t move, can’t feel anything but my heart slamming against the brittle bones that hold up my body.

It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve known him. I never know how to take his rage away. The fear is paralyzing, but what’s worse is the precarious knowledge that I could do something. I could move a hand, could take an action, could do something, anything. But I don’t. It’s not worth it.

It’s never worth it.

So I remain still: a mannequin with limbs that creak because they never move, lips frosted shut because they never speak, and skin so smooth and white that no one can see the heart beating desperately within the darkness, screaming for light and freedom and if not that, at least a little hope.

No one sees and I continue to be.