5 Ghosts

Fun fact: did you depression is characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities?

according to the World Health Organization, five in one-hundred adults struggle with depression and approximately 280-million people struggle from depression. You are not alone. Did you know that depression is the number one major contributor to global burden disease?

Depression, if you let it, can and may lead to suicide. Many have questioned grasping such means, over 700,000 people fall victim to suicide each year. It is the fourth leading cause of death. In fact, there are entire forums and websites where you are encouraged to take your own life. It is a blossoming subculture, but do not let it creep into your life.

Question: do you find value in what you're currently doing?

"The meaning of life is to give life meaning" -Holocaust survivor, Viktor E. Frankle

As I finished my bowl of pap, the maid clapped. Smiling, she took away the bowl to the nearest kitchen. I watched her as she brightly skipped away, as if she were painting the tinted world around her with watercolor, her as the brush.

The maid had always had an animated and colorful air to her. Whether it be sitting and watching me to retrieve something, she always seemed… naively joyous. Truth be told, it made me envious. She seemed so confident in herself.

It was rare you meet someone of her mindset at her age, it was rather precious. As weak as it was, I even strived to be like her sometimes. She seems so… peaceful.

I sighed, I am still confined to my baby chair. It was an old chair that had many fibers poking out from it, kind of like the equivalent of having bed head, but for a chair… wow. The worst part though, was the constant splinter I got from sitting on it, and I wasn't fond of it.

Splinters hurt when you were placed into an infant body that had lost all the pain tolerance you had built up. At that point, all you were left with was your mental endurance, which, luckily for me, was rather high.

But whether I was fond of it or not, I was growing very accustomed to my new life. In fact, I was even growing… bored.

Recently, and while it didn't matter, life was stuck in the same routine. All I ever did seemed to be sleeping, eating, and reading. Like a stale cracker, things were getting… bland. Plus, nobody liked stale crackers.

But there existed desires, and there existed necessities. And for the moment, I had to prioritize the ladder. I had to prioritize necessities. To keep my options open, this is what I needed to do. Change was not needed here.

I glared. I could escape from this seat, but it wouldn't be worth the effort. Then again, what was.

I wiggled my body and kicked the bottom of the miniature table in front of me. I myself wasn't sure why, perhaps out of boredom? I wonder what a world without boredom looks like. I looked up at the golden chandelier. I think I want a peaceful life.

"Lady Advika, I'm back!" Advika. Such had been my name these months. Though, neither consistently, I usually called myself Vika or Haiiro in mind.

I clapped with a subverted expression, welcoming the maid back as I continued to get lost in my thoughts.

Picking me up, the maid placed me back on the rug. Almost unconsciously and by muscle memory, I crawled over to the book and sat next to it. Opening the cover, I flipped near the end of the book. Along the way, however, I felt an abrupt sting pierce my distant mind, pulling me back.

I looked down at my hand, more specifically, my index finger. Slowly, blue blood trickled from a cut that I had carelessly inflicted on myself. A paper cut. My eyes widened slightly and my heart stopped.

I stared at my hand, which was as still as a rock yet felt as if it were shaking. Then, I took in a sharp breath, realizing I had forgotten to breathe. I tried to focus on my breathing, but I was quickly dragged out of my focus.

I felt, almost tangibly, my shoulder ache, then my neck, my knee, between my legs, my side and even my jaw, cry and groan. All the places I had received distinct pains, one way or another, in my past life.

My peripheral once again crawled up into my vision, as if most of my view had gone blurry and grabbed towards the nucleus of my sight. I could hear a ring of anxiety enveloping my mind and senses, refusing to stay quiet.

My center of focus stretched, warping my finger to look as if it were an entire room away. Yet, the feeling only grew worse. As if no matter how far I ran from the blood, I could not escape.

I opened my mouth, gasping for breath as the vivid tearing, pulsing, and stinging of my old body came back to inflict it all over again. The world felt cold, and then all too warm, an itchy, tingling warm.

I grabbed my chest, or rather the white cloth I was wrapped in with a weak grip, infecting its purity with almost black blood, blood so dark I wondered if it was blue at all.

I weakly gripped and clawed at the top of a stack of books which was practically the same size as me, knowing that if I let go, I would immediately collapse. I felt my body sink.

Sweat ran down my body, every second feeling like ten. I had forgotten this feeling of true dread in my stomach. It felt like darkness itself had planted a seed in my stomach.

Noticing my odd behavior, the maid at my side called out to me, nervous curiosity lacing her voice. She regarded me for a moment, wondering what was going on.

"Lady Advika? Lady Advika?" she reached out to me, on her knees, but I flinched away, looking at her huge figure with eyes of readiness. She paused, gazing at her own worried and confused expression through my eyes. She could barely see herself.

I looked at her, my trembling vision locked on her expression. Like prey staring at its predator. I could feel my heart screaming at my chest, pushing against it at a rate I wish I had forgotten. Slowly, she reached out to me. I felt my body tense, and tighten, my muscles compacting. I shifted my body so that my shoulder faced her, ready to cover my head on instinct.

Betraying my expectations, however, she pulled me into her lap and embraced me with a hug. I stared out, unblinkingly. Slowly, I let my muscles relax, I exhaled slowly. My heart began to slow.

She gripped me tighter, not so tight that it hurt, though. It was more of a comforting squeeze that enveloped my body. It wasn't my body that was fragile, on the edge of cracking.

I stared out, not at anything in particular, my eyes stuck wide. For the first time since I came here, I truly felt like a child. Foolish, helpless, vulnerable, weak. How had I forgotten?

"It's okay, lady Advika, I'm here, I'm here" she whispered to me, rocking and squeezing me slightly in her grip. She felt my chest slow and my shoulders sag, and paused her embrace as she looked at me. Then, embarrassment and shame washed over her.

Had she been smothering an infant? What if she had gotten hurt? Or suffocated!

I ignored her worries, however, my mind was somewhere else. Somewhere very distant, there, I found myself flooded by my own memories. Drowning in them, gasping for air, looking for an escape. A way out.

Yet, I found none, it was too vast, too powerful. And I found myself sinking to the bottom, my toes meeting drenched sand as I drowned.

My eyes weighed me down to look at my own hand, my blood still smiling as it flowed across my tiny pale finger. I thought about the contrast between this blood, this Ji blood, and the other blood, the blood of a human. Then, how they were both so… dark.

I stared at my hand for a long moment, regarding the blue that washed over it with conflicting eyes.

Of course, no matter what you did in life, blood would always find its way onto your skin. I knew this. I knew this all too well. Yet, I had been ignoring it. Looking the other way. With life, came blood, with blood, came death. A moment passed.

What… was I doing?

Hadn't I lived not to be a marionette? Yet, I was questioning if I wanted to seize power? If I wanted my limbs tied to the strings of somebody else?

Was I questioning if I wanted freedom? I asked myself. No, I was questioning if I wanted peace, I answered. But was that really true? I.. didn't know. An ice bucket of disappointment, nostalgia, and sorrow washed over me.

My eyes froze sad, caught up between the me I had lived with for the past six months, and the me I had lived with before that, trying to side with one of them.

Peace, or power? I furrowed my brows, a frown growing on my face. I wanted a quiet life, separated from the worries of me, of the world. But could I really get that? I looked down at my hand, already knowing the answer.

A small cut lined my skin, blue blood spilling from it. Blood that had reminded me of what I had all but been trying to avoid. Violence, fighting, using.

This blood was my own, and no matter where I went, it followed. I could not escape it, I'd die. Maybe I should. No. And no matter what I did, it would be drawn one way or another. And every time, I would be reminded of these same feelings, weaknesses.

I sighed, my vision still blurry as I accepted the answer I had. Peace wasn't an option, it was never an option. I had tried that path many, many times. But when you become vulnerable, people use that vulnerability to harm you.

To be used, or to use. One or the other.

My eyes narrowed. I found myself ashamed at my answer, but not so ashamed I wasn't willing to follow it.

To use.


I chose power, I needed power. I didn't care how I got it, nor the means I took to gain it, all that mattered was I achieved it. My heart sank, but my mind sharpened. Being vulnerable was the same as asking to be a tool, I needed to be a man about things…

I blinked and looked at my hand with disdain, my eyes so dark, no light could escape. Then, I shifted my gaze to the maid and firmed my mind.

And here I thought I had changed in these six months, but at heart I hadn't changed one bit. I couldn't change. All I was doing now, was accepting that.

Peace is temporary, but with power, life is as you wish it to be. That was what I had learned, and it would be the Ideology I continued to lean on. Survival of the fittest, I thought, setting my eyes on the maid cradling me.

"Thank you" I whispered, hugging her back, the first truly malicious smile appearing on my face since I arrived here. I was going to seize power to whatever scale be necessary, and sacrificed would have to be made.