I lie flat on my back, on a wet, soft surface. Water droplets pelt me as if they're trying to knock me out while I still feel weak and my vision is blurred. So I'm completely soaked, my brain gets to work before the rest of my senses return slowly, one by one.

First, I realise I'm absolutely freezing. This isn't rain - it's hail.

Second, it smells like something has recently been burnt nearby.

My chest hurts. Breathe. Openeing my eyes, I see that the sky is completely grey with clouds. Breathe.

My hair is splayed out on the ground, and my head is pounding. Breathe.

I seem to be paralysed, it's like I've forgotten how to move. Breathe. I manage to turn my head to the side. So, it's a field, and someone has burnt the grass. And then I guess it rained and put out the fire. Breathe.

Right, now for moving the rest of my body. Slowly, I get myself upright into a sitting position. I'm now completely numb, so that must be why I can't feel myself breathing, (breathe), and also why I can't seem to remember how to use my muscles properly.

Gently, and with much careful thought, I stand up. It's the srangest feeling, not being able to feel the weight of your body. Like there's no gravity, except there is. Breathe. And I can't say that I wish I was in the real world, 'cause my world hasn't been real in years.

Now, I'm up. I wish the hail would stop. Aidan, Meggie and Mai aren't here. Great. Happy, happy days. Breathe.

Well, at least staying stood up as been mastered. Breathe. As for balance, well, how to take a step. Lift foot. Move it forward. Breathe. Put foot down.

End up flat on back, hit head, searing pain, feeling regained. Gasp for air. That isn't supposed to happen.

Sigh. "Typical"



I turn my head again, this time to the other side. I see my reflection, except this isn'tn really me. The girl I see is cleaner. Her silky blonde hair falls in waves down her chest and her back. She wears a beanie hat and matching deep purple gloves, with a scarf to go with them. A black cozy looking coat, and drak blue jeans tucked into grey Ugg boots. This girl isn't stupid.

She smiles and points to a place behid me. Too shocked for words, I turn to see. The girl in this mirror isn't me either, but is still my reflection.

This girl's choppy,tangled, muddy hair has been cropped short carelessly with a knife. Blood runs from a place in her hairline, down her face, encrusted on her left eye and on her top lip. The bright red colour contrasts with the dirt that streaks her features. She's crying, eyes downcast. Her clothes are thin; a flimsy shirt, worn for so long it's lost it's natural colour under the dirt and dark red stains. Slashed across the chest, and one lifelessly hanging from her shoulder. Her jeans are ripped in several places, and deep wounds and bruises can bee seen through thr gaps. Her feet are bare, injured, but clean because of the hail.

I inhale sharply. The girl's eyes flick up and she catches my gaze breifly before staring at the floor again, a fresh strem of tears leaking down he cheeks. She would rather suffer this torture than live the extended life she's been given.

I stay completely silent as I realise that these are two ways my life has been, or could be. Before, I was happy, clean, completely mindless as to what the real world was like. In the future, if I give up like I'm planning to. Just leave, without so much as a goodbye to the others, to let my life waste away to a point that death and life are equal. That's the girl I'll become.

I say nothing, the two girls go blurred, like when the satellite signal messes up the picture on a TV, then in front of me appears a true reflection. My hair hangs around my face, limp and lifeless, streaked with dirt and blood. My face is dirty, and I have deep blue bruising around my eye. My clothes are mildly stained, having been worn far to often, and my shoes are falling apart.

The one difference is that this girl is smiling, and I am not.

"You're unconcious in the real world," she tells me.

I lift my hand to touch her, and as our fingers meet the reflection shatters. I shield myself, crouching down, sobs shaking my body as small shards of glass rain down onto me.

My life, I think, is in ruins.

The End

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