03:28 AM

Every night at exactly 3:24 a.m., his rough lips caress my ears as his cool breath sends chills down my spine, forcing goose bumps to erupt across my skin. He tells me that he’ll take me to a beautiful place where the sun would kiss my tears away and the wind would embrace my skin. He tells me I’d spend my days dancing in lavender fields, my laughter harmonious to the music of birds chirping. He tells me that I deserve to be happier.

Every night at exactly 3:25 a.m., the voice swarms through my body like a million worms, reminding me of what I can have if I’m just strong enough to let go. It devours my insides and consumes my every thought. My heart hammers against my lungs as I struggle to fill them with air. It seems that my lungs are drowning in the poison that he forces down my throat with the gentle coaxing reminders that this should be the end of my suffering. He tells me he could end my suffering.

Every night at exactly 3:26 a.m., the voice insists that holding on does more damage than letting go. He tells me this as he holds onto my own strings with his calloused fingers, threatening to rip me apart with a single tug. The sweat on my forehead dribbles down to my neck and further lower, slowly dampening my sheets. Minute by minute, I can feel my heart rate increasing as my legs start to convulse uncontrollably. He’s doing this. I am his puppet.

Every night at exactly 3:27 a.m., I lie alone in my bed and stare up at the bare ceiling as I’m reminded of the similarities between me and the cracked paint coating the charred walls of my dimly lit room. I can’t help but equate my room to a fort that forms a barrier between me and the outside world. He forbids any entrance or windows so when he sets fire to this broken citadel all I can do is suffocate and helplessly watch the flames envelop the flowers I arranged to welcome my guests because inevitably, he’ll never allow any guests.

Tonight at exactly 3:28 a.m., everything stops. The silence gnaws past my skin and screams volumes from inside me as I question how emptiness can feel so heavy. I let go.

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