No one had to know

She thought she was the only one. To fret. To doubt. To ruminate darkly. Catastrophe was her only certainty, even though its arrival was sporadic. To control it, in her spare time she created near-catastrophic situations for herself. Like a gambler, adrenalized, she would effectively step on the ledge just to see what would happen: Would today be the day? Sometimes when all was quiet in the dead of night as the city slept, she would sneak up to the roof in the freezing rain and stand there in short sleeves, goosebumps covering her arms, slowly becoming an ice sculpture. It was only in these moments that she was able to stop the locomotive barreling through her head. Quiet now, she would descend back to her cell and rest until the next disaster.

She knew she would have to stop eventually. That her unique lack of compassion and empathy were unsuitable for this. With her heightened apprehension, their absence combined into an endless reserve of rage lying in wait, always at the ready. It became her engine, a constant hum that got her out of bed in the morning, fueling her ascent. But even she did not dare to floor it.

What would stopping accomplish? No one ever stopped on the way to. Why should she? A chameleon, she’d pass. No one knew of the snakes that inhabited the void of her being. No one had to know.