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Broken Masks

By Cameo

Broken Masks
                           Conan wondered when it was. Wondered when the world had become to dull, when colors had lost their brightness, when
                           smiling was a pain, and just the thought of waking up in the morning was fucking ridiculous. Just like the many nights before,
                           Conan sat glumly on the couch, eyes glazed, and unfocused as he stared out the window, moon reflecting in his eyes. The emptiness
                           he felt was almost unthinkable. If it weren’t for harsh pain in his head caused from his headache, and the small entrancing
                           thump-thump beating from his heart, Conan would think he was dead. Pulling himself from his thoughts, Conan snapped to attention
                           when he heard the loud ‘Ding dong’ from the grandfather clock in the far corner. Peeling himself from the couch
                           and glancing up at the large numbers, Conan groaned.  It was five in the morning….
                           Again. It wasn’t like Conan didn’t want to sleep, or that he wasn’t tired. He was. He was exhausted to be
                           perfectly honest. And although the small boy, used to be teenager, climbed into bed, every night at the same time, nine o’clock,
                           sleep never seem to take him. Night was quiet, easy to get trapped in your own thoughts, easy to relax. Or at least that’s
                           what everyone says. Conan knew better. When someone said that too him, he knew the truth. It was peer bullshit. He couldn’t
                           relax. Why was it the world so full of such injustice that not even a small man/boy like himself could get to sleep at night?
                           Sighing deeply, and pulling himself completely from the couch and leaping down to the floor, Conan walked slowly down the
                           hall, and past the grandfather clock, which he good have swore he heard mumble something along the lines of: ‘Go to
                           bed already!’ More or less following the clocks rather harsh advice Conan stumbled groggily into his bedroom and fell
                           silently on the small mattress he had come to know as his bed. Turning slowly on his back and staring lazily up at the ceiling,
                           Conan took a deep breath and closed his eyes.  His thoughts seem to swim round
                           and round in circles in his head, seeming to sting his brain, increasing his headache. Groaning a silent groan, Conan allowed
                           his eyes to crack open, allowing himself to flip over on his stomach and reach his hand slowly beneath the fabric of the pillowcase,
                           Conan gently pulled out something small, shiny, and sharp. Pulling his right sleeve up to about elbow length, Conan placed
                           the sharp object to his skin, closed his eyes and pressed. The pain was beautiful, like poking a bruise, poking a kinker sore
                           with your tongue. It hurts, but something about the satisfying thrill, the indescribable pleasure of inflicting pain on yourself,
                           with no ones knowledge of your actions but your own. Opening his eyes slowly and admiring the new wound on his arm Conan couldn’t
                           suppress the small smile that was creeping across his lips as he watched his own blood crawl from beneath his skin, crawl
                           down his arm and finally fall silently to his sheets beneath him, dying them red. Reaching under the pillowcase again, more
                           swiftly then before, Conan pulled out a pink rag he had taken from the kitchen weeks before, stained with blood. Pressing
                           it gently at first and then more firmly to his wrist. Conan held his breath for many long, long seconds as his heart seemed
                           to beat harder and faster, his adrenalin seeming to clime the charts like a really popular shopping center going bankrupted.
                           Letting his breath out slowly, straining his ears to make sure no one was coming and would catch him in his act of unhappiness,
                           Conan released the rag from his wrist, stuffed the sharp object and the rag hastily back under the pillow case. And with a
                           light sigh, Conan stuffed his face roughly into his pillow, closed his eyes, and slowly drifted off into a light sleep.
                           “Good morning Conan-kun, time to wake up.” Mouri Ran chirped happily, opening his bedroom door and peaking
                           her head in. “It’s 7:30, time to get up and start your day.” Groaning loudly Conan stuffed his face angrily
                           into his pillow and rolled over on his stomach. “Come on, Conan-kun.” She whispered, stepping over to him and
                           pulling the covers off from over him.  “Your friends will be sad if you
                           don’t come to school.” ‘Yeah right…” Conan thought bitterly, weakly sitting up and opening his
                           eyes. His eyelids felt like they weighed ten pounds each, making it very hard to keep them open. “I’m up…”
                           he grumbled, letting out a small yawn. “Good boy, Conan.” And with that, Ran left the room.
                           “My aunt Shiina came to visit this weekend.” Mitsuhiko explained excitedly as the ‘detective boys’
                           all huddled around their little spot on the playground at recess. “Guess what she does?” “She a Doctor?”
                           asked Ayumi, interested as always. “No.” said Mitsuhiko. “She a fry chef?” Genta asked rubbing his
                           enormous belly. “I’m hungry…” “You’re always hungry, Genta-kun.” Mitsuhiko informed
                           him lightly, shaking his head with a small smile. “And you’re wrong too. Conan-kun, you have any guesses?”
                           “Not a one.” Conan mumbled with a loud yawn, rubbing his eyes and trying to keep himself awake. “Are you
                           sick, Conan-kun?” Ayumi piped. “You’ve been yawning and rubbing your eyes all day.” Letting out another
                           small yawn, Conan smiled at her. “Nah, I’m not sick. I’m just really tired…didn’t get a lot
                           of sleep last night…” “Oh.” Ayumi looked a little concerned, but then added. “Conan-kun, we
                           all had to guess, it’s only fair that you should have to guess too.” “What?” Conan asked. “Guess
                           what Mitsuhiko’s auntie does.” “Oh…uh…” he rolled his eyes and yawned. “A publisher?”
                           “Huh?” the three children asked giving the young man/boy a strange look. “Aw, never mind…” Conan
                           mumbled with a short, forced laugh. “What ‘does’ your aunt do?” Sticking out his lip a bit, which
                           made it look like to Conan that he wanted people to keep guessing, Mitsuhiko took in a deep breath and finally said. “My
                           aunties a psy-chow-logoiiist.” “Physiologist” Conan corrected. “What?” Mitsuhiko asked. “She’s
                           a physiologist, not phy-chow-logoiiisr” Conan repeated explaining this to the group. “They help people with their…’problems’.
                           He paused slightly at the word problems. “I know that.” Mitsuhiko said looking a bit annoyed at Conan out shining
                           him. “I over heard my aunt and mother talking about it yesterday. And you wanna know what I heard?” “Enlighten
                           us…” Conan said sarcastically not meaning to say anything at all. Ayumi looked offended. Same with Mitsuhiko.
                           Genta just looked confused. Conan not saying anything, Ayumi turned back to Mitsuhiko. “What did you hear?” “I
                           heard that—“he paused and looked around to make sure no one would over hear him. “I hear that sometimes
                           when people are REALLY depressed, they sometimes…” he paused again. “Cut themselves.” “Cut themselves?!”
                           shrieked Ayumi looking frightened.  “Why?!!” “Relieves stress
                           and tension.”  Conan answered automatically not even looking at them and
                           sounding very distracted. “How do you know that?” Genta asked him leaning down and looking Conan straight in the
                           eye. “Are you hiding something?” ‘More then you’ll ever know.’ “Hide something?”
                           Conan asked turning to the group and giving them a light smile. “Nope not a thing. I just know these things…”
                           He let out a fake laugh. “I read a lot is all…Hahaha.” “But why would anyone ever want to-to…cut
                           themselves?” Ayumi asked. “Even a small paper cut hurts.” Conan shoved his hands deeply in his pockets.
                           What a great topic to be having right now. “Some people get depressed and than do it.” Mitsuhiko repeated. “You
                           don’t think anyone from OUR school cuts themselves do you?” Genta asked cautiously. “I dunno, maybe.”
                           Mitsuhiko answered, looking thoughtful. “First of all, we’d need to know some symptoms of depression.” Conan
                           shifted awkwardly on his feet. “Uh, I bet the school library has plenty of books on it.” He suggested quietly,
                           as the three younger children turned to face him, faces beaming with joy. “That’s a great idea, Conan-kun!”
                           piped Ayumi. “You always know what to do!” Conan forced a kind smile, desperately trying to ignore the sharp glares
                           shooting from the other two boys seeming to pierce into the back of his neck and shoulders. “Uh, anytime Ayumi-Chan…”
                           he laughed weakly. “Should we go check it out…?” “Yeah!” squealed Ayumi.


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