Does it end here?
I wasn’t told that it does.
But does it end here?
The relationship?
No. The poetry.
I doubt it.
But where have they gone? They’re all gone.
The muses will come back.
Not the muses. I know they’ll be back. I’ve already planned that out. Where have they gone?
Oh, them! The people. The audience! Why, they’re right there.
Then why can I see no one listening to me? I see no one there.
Don’t worry. They’re listening. They hear you.
Are you sure?
Yes. I can hear them staring.
Can you see the-
Yes. I can see their colors. They’re vivid like yours.
Are they neon? Pastel? Oh or are they metallic?
Depends…
Wait, can they hear me talking about them?
Yes. They’re staring. The audience is staring.
The audience is… staring? That’s not-
No, it’s not good. What should we do about it?
We could-
Let’s cry.
But I-
Let’s make them stare longer.
No. I want to explain to them that-
Let’s make them stare longer.
Wait, can they hear you talking about them?
Darling, of course not. They’re all staring at you.
I want to get off the stage.
Darling, let’s make them stare longer.
I’m getting up. I’m leaving.
They’ll stare if you do that.
They’re staring anyway. I want to get off the stage. Away from-
They’re laughing. They do have such pretty laughs. Oh look at that one.
I see no one there.
They’re laughing. Look, that one’s quite the color. It’s pastel pink! And there’s a yell-
Stop, please.
And there’s a yellow one just like yours used to be. Hasn’t been like that since…
STOP IT!
Now we’ve done it! Let’s make them stare longer.
STOP LOOKING AT ME! STOP LAUGHING!
You’re just jealous. Their laughs aren’t red, or blue, or translucent.
I’m not jealous.
Yes. Yes, you are. You’re jealous that they have some form of nepenthe.
I do too.
Yours is long gone.
Just leave me alone.
Let’s make them stare longer.
They’ve seen what they’ve seen long enough.
Let’s make them stare longer. You’re quite the piece of work after all.
I’m leaving.
But wait!
Why?
Look. In the back.
I can’t see anyone.
There’s someone. Theirs is blue.
You’re lying.
It’s pale and frail and translucent. It’s blue like the glass in a church. It’s red like-
I get it. Why would he-
He?
Why would they be here among this audience?
Why where else would they be? Reds hide amongst pinks and yellow. As do others.
“And then sparks creep from the sky.”
Reciting poetry now, are we?
“And everything is white once more. Taints of red and pink and orange deteriorate my soul from the inside, destroying my whites, blues, and greens.”
Ah. Okay. They do tend to hide in your stories, don’t they?
I wouldn’t say they hide. They’re quite visible.
Just like you! You’re exposed. The whole world is staring. The whole world is staring
and laughing. Look at their faces!
I can’t see anyone there.
Don’t worry, Darling. They’re staring. (Let’s make them stare just a bit longer.)
I can’t see anyone there. I don’t see anyone there.
They’re whispering, Darling. They’re whispering. It’s black.
Their whispers are black?
They’re demons, Darling. They whisper demons.
What about his?
The one in the back? Their whispers? Why, they don’t whisper at all!
He doesn’t whisper…
Of course not. You seem so happy about this.
Of course. He doesn’t whisper!
Of course not, Darling. Of course they don’t whisper. THAT ONE YELLS.
GET ME OFF THE STAGE.
They’re staring. They’re laughing. They’re whispering. They’re yelling.
He’s yelling my name.
No. They’re not. He’s not.
He’s yelling my name.
No. He’s not. He’s yelling, simply yelling. He stares.
I can’t see anyone there. I can hear them. I don’t hear stares. He’s yelling my name.
Believe what you will, but they’re still staring.
It’s okay. His laughter is bl-
It’s a vibrant pink.
He’s not yelling my name.
He never was. Now, let’s make them stare longer.
I just want to go home. We’ve played enough today.
We’ve played too much today? Correct. Let’s get serious. They’re not just staring.
Yes, I understand. They’re laughing and whispering and one is yelling. I get it. I just want to go home now.
They’re not just staring. They’re staring.
GET ME OFF THIS STAGE. NOW.
Let’s make them stare longer. Almost done. It’s already cracking.
What is?
Why, your mask darling! It’s translucent like you said before. And it’s cracking.
And once it’s done, we’ll give the pieces as presents to the world!
Presents, but-
We’ll send a piece to a moonlit pond. Another to a boy who plays with coal.
Another to a father who whispers things. A girl who doesn’t breathe air.
A piece to the cotton candy snow and cotton ball cold. To the water vapor clouds.
To morosis. To a girl who can only read braille on her skin. To a girl who can’t
grasp what she yearns for behind the confines of a desk as she goes deaf with
sounds. To the one who lives lives you have and haven’t. To a ; but never to a .
We’ll give one to raspy hands and clammy voices. To cupcakes without icing.
To Sundays and Mondays. And one to the rodents with solidity. To the men
who have been hung. We’ll give them all a piece. And they’ll be but one shard left.
That one will be left for me. And you’ll be left with nothing. You’ll truly be stared at then. No one likes someone without a mask.
Let’s make them stare longer. They’re staring.
They’re not staring. They’re staring. They’re stealing me.
Let’s make them stare longer.
Let’s make them stare longer.
Let’s make them stare longer.
Let’s make them stare longer.
Please stop. You’re scaring me.
How can you scare yourself? I’m scaring you? You’re scaring you! Now they’re really-
They’ve stared long enough.
Let’s make them stare longer. Farewell.
✤ I can’t see anyone there. ✤