When I was younger I pretty much lived in a fantasy world. I loved pretending that I wasn't really who I was, that I wasn't the freak sitting on the fringe pretending to be someone else, somewhere else.
I buried myself in books. I breathed in the fantasy like a chain smoker.
And then I started writing.
It was an entirely new class of drug. I pumped it in nonstop and felt the surge of an escapist high.
And then the high started to wear off.
My worlds started to seem dull. The characters within them turned against me, renounced me even though I was their creator, their god. The stars started to die and the paint was peeling.
And then I saw the strings. Tiny little bits of string poking out of the mountains and rivers I'd carved out of white space. I took hold of them and pulled.
I followed them through littered streets, through broken worlds with broken characters cursing me as I walked.
Eventually, all of the strings met. The universe was crumbling, but I pulled at them, anxious to know, to be able to classify the disease plaguing it.
When I finally uprooted the strings, I found that they led straight into my right foot. I had gone too far to give up, so I kept pulling.
My skin tore like the flesh of a ripe fruit, and the strings trailed around and around my body, becoming more and more difficult to move.
With time I finally managed to pull the string out entirely, finding that it ended and began in the shriveled organ I called my heart. It was then that I looked upon myself, and saw that with the string I had peeled away the time that had passed since the fateful day I picked up a pen and paper, seeing again the seven-year-old freak.
I knew exactly what it was that had taken my high from me.
It was reality. It was the wonderfully, horribly sobering reality that had collected like rust in my mind. It was the knowledge that no matter how many times I escaped into my worlds, they would always be fantasy.
And the reality was that I would always be that seven-year old freak.
I changed myself. I took the freak and locked her away in a closet, and I let reality do with me what it willed. Writing was no longer an escape into fantasy. It was an ode to reality.