Mei's demons are proving more persistent than she'd originally planned, and she's not so sure she can send them away again.

Some days she looks in the mirror and sees nothing.

It's still her face staring back. The Asian tilt of her eyes, her cheekbones, her jawline, her lips, all the same. What makes the face alien is the eyes themselves.

They're the wrong shade. This morning they are the same sickly yellow color as her cat's eyes, who is fluff-plush but vicious. Sometimes they are a vibrant shade of red, like a cherry, or the watered-down blood that drips down after a shower-shaving cut. Once, her eyes were white, a corneal snow-screen. But today they are sickly cat-eye yellow.

She had been getting better, that was true. Her thoughts more ordered, more reasonable, more sane. She stopped smoking, drinking, partying. Hell, she hadn't hardly looked at a cigarette or drink in months. She'd even become vegetarian--though not very strictly, since she had fish quite frequently, and the very occasional cheeseburger--despite her doctors saying she didn't really need to. Her mind was cleared, her demons purged. For a while.

She woke to nothing very rarely, for about three months. After a stressful weekend, maybe, she'd find a face with miscolored, dead-looking eyes, but this happened so infrequently she didn't think much of it. A lingering.

Then she got worse, and quickly. Health-wise, she was about the same, maybe more lean muscle, clearer lungs, healthier liver. That didn't seem to matter. Rarely led to weekly led to daily. And every day, she would wake up and look in the mirror at a face that was not hers. They taunted, the eyes did. They remind her what she is capable of.

About a year ago is when the whole mess started. She was a sophomore in college, no real care, simply schoolwork and friends, until that first morning. It was terrifying for her. She'd known people who had woken up in the morning to throw up in the toilet and discover the unintentional pregnancy. Told it was the most frightening thing in the world.

She would have gladly accepted an accident instead of what she got.

That morning she found vibrant shaving-cut-red eyes staring back at her. And even though she knew thinking such a thing was insane, she heard them talk to her.

Mei. Come out and play.

Taunting little children voices from evil eyes.

A week later, she woke with blood on her hands and arms and trailing along her chest and legs. It was caked in her hair, which was a tangled mess on top of her head with sticks and leaves in it, and it speckled her face. She saw her filthy self that morning and laughed hysterically, humourlessly.

Later that day, they found the awful bloody mess she'd made, in a park just off-campus. It was someone's family dog, a collie, gutted and garlanded around a tree like it was decorating some psychopathic Christmas. Everyone gaped and gagged and wondered who could do such a thing. When Mei found out, she spent the day puking and crying from the horror until she passed out from exhaustion. The next day, she was settled on dropping out and doing something, anything, just as long as it was away from here.

But unfortunately, Lassie there was a beginning, not an end.

The End

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