At The Tip Of Her Fingers

by Lara Wilson

Sometimes she thinks she holds the whole universe in her hand and one squeeze will bring ruination to civilizations big and small and destruction to countless millions.

Sometimes she wants that so badly. To hear the voices wink out one by one until all that's left is silence. That's her dream, her desire.


Silence in a mind that overflows with voices that overwhelm and confuse. Voices that never go away, never completely, no matter what regimen of drugs Simon puts her on, no matter how busy she keeps her mind. They linger, whispering to her, nonsense and hurtful things, dark nasty wants and sharp pure evil.

The voices are parts of her own mind. She knows that, but she can't control them, can't stop them from doing things, liking turning sticks into guns and the tips of her fingers into flower petals that claw at her breasts, digging until rivulets of blood run down the drain as she showers, and hopes vainly that the pounding water will drown out the seduction of her mind.

Today she's not sure what she holds between thumb and fingers--a bauble, a marble, a ball. Maybe it's the universe. Most likely it's nothing but smoke. Too often there's nothing there.

The others look at her with a range of pity to disgust in their eyes, but she's used to their looks, their emotions spilling out of them, uncontrolled and messy, and ignores them, rolling the glass ball across the palm of her hand. Closing her eyes, she imagines the screams as worlds tumble and people die, one by one.

Almost there, just a few more screams...

And then Simon is before her, taking her hand, leading her to the drugs that muffle the voices but never totally silence them.

She never knows what she held in the palm of her hand. It's gone when she awakens, and she suspects that once again it was her imagination.

But sometimes she wishes it was the universe, because if she could destroy it, silencing every living creature, then surely she could silence herself.

And sometimes that's River's deepest, darkest desire.


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