🕊 ii. snap out of it

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chapter two,

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chapter two,

Sometimes Sasha Satoshi would look in the mirror and still see who he was in high school, when the world was black and white and when the sun seemed to shine brighter. It's when he would still smile in the mirror as if he was taking a picture, the hopeful but near breaking type of smile that you need to look at twice to see the sadness under it.

Now he looks at a reflection of a man who doesn't try to mask the pain, blue under the eyes and tired of waking up each morning. He sees depression on legs with greasy hair that shines unnaturally in the fluorescent lighting of a bathroom; himself, a stranger with a familiar face. It's when he remembers that he used to think being bullied was normal, or when they cornered him behind a drug store and dislocated his shoulder against the brick building and he lied about how it happened for no particular reason.When remembering he overheard the school's principal and his parents talking about the kids that always kicked him and when the principal told his parents "Your son deserved it." He looks at himself and sees all the things they did to him and all the things he's done to himself since.

He opens his mouth and hooks a index finger on the side of his lips and stretches, studying his teeth and ignoring how his dry lips crack under the pressure. His jaw unhinges and he sees someone else's blood between his teeth. It's a muddy red and he can't seem to taste it, but he can feel it caked on his gums even without looking in the mirror. He rakes his tongue over the red lumps and can see the man's face who the blood belongs to; an older gentleman with the sickening expression of fear and shock, the memory stuck right then, right after Sasha gnawed his whole left arm off. Sasha is positive that was his fault, he can't even blame The Monster for it anymore, as the acceptance sinks in that he's The Monster.

Sasha puts his arm down and closes his mouth. He's numb, running on autopilot as he fishes out his toothbrush and toothpaste from his work bag, the two newer items he's taken to carrying with him. He quickly squeezes the paste out and brushes his teeth, making a certain effort to clean his gums throughly, minding the time on his watch. The bathroom door is locked and he can only hope no one notices how long he's been hiding away in here, or until more teachers arrive in the building. School hasn't even started yet, the students won't be here for another forty-five minutes, so the chances of anyone coming are slim but never none. He brushes faster and more intensely at the thought, vaguely recalling that he's pushing too hard on his now red gums, getting lost in his memory of last night's adventure.

He wasn't entirely sure he was the infamous monster that the authorities were searching for until about two in the morning, the second time he transformed into that horrible creature he was unfortunate enough to get cursed with. It was hard not to know it was himself, the process of limbs being reshaped and growing a set of wings heavier than his usual body weight was hard to ignore. It was flaring pain throughout the entire hour it took just to morph, so much so that he was surprised he didn't pass out. His vision did flash to black multiple times but he's smart enough to know the difference; perhaps it was his eyes themselves changing, pupils become slits and the sclera turning a concerning yellow. Either way, Sasha remembers tearfully wishing he could go unconscious, if not die.

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