When I first see her, the girl is a stranger, one of many I've glimpsed before. The features of her face blur listless and her presence pales in comparison to the bursting green of the leaves dripping off trees around her. She bunches around herself in the mass of people, another molecule in the lattice. I'll never know her.
My eyes slide over her. To a boy nearby, whose sparkling eyes shoot out of the sky. He ambles towards the faceless girl from before. She says something, and he laughs, setting off warm tingles through my body even with the distance.
The laugh transforms her. A sheen of golden light washes over her body. An angelic smile pokes out of her features, her eyes brightening with a glimmer. Something inside her cuts open and color, pure joy, spills out.
Kisses of wonder smatter over me, as I behold the dazzling creature before me. She's still talking to the boy. The corner of my wonder twists painfully as he lays a hand on her arm. I shake it back, but the pain only grows, washing against me relentlessly until I'm soaking in the midnight waves, dark and oily against my skin. I want to scream, but motion has left my body, and the tides only mount, cresting as—
I am drowning, joy leaching from my body, leaving it in great heaves, and all I can see and hear and breathe is the icy desperation, the sickening jealousy—
And then I see the girl again. Her beautiful face looms out of the darkness, and my mind focuses around her. She did this to me. A flash of anger, and the absolute certainty that nothing that perfect could be capable of inflicting this pain. And sure enough: a flicker of satisfaction now, grating against the black, as I spot a darkness in her spreading grin. It springs to her eyes, where they glitter with a newfound malice. How could I have missed that? I struggle towards her, tossed against the waves. My thoughts pound in unison. She draws closer, and my hands reach out. My vision becomes tinged with red spots as they grasp her smooth arm.
Everything goes still.
I draw in a shuddering gasp, clean air flooding my lungs. I feel something gripped between my fingers and blink hard against the sunlight.
"Are you alright?" a voice asks. I look up, and see the girl. The girl who was a stranger, an angel, a monster. But now she is none of those things. Her voice is clear but soft. I feel her fidgeting uncomfortably under my arm. Surprise and confusion light her plain brown eyes.
Another set of eyes train me, those of the boy, who watches me curiously. Turning back towards the girl, I search her face several times over, scanning for any hint of the things I saw before. For the separation from the stranger. For the magic or the evil I had glimpsed only moments before. Disappointment settles over me, as I realize she is, although pretty, completely ordinary.
They're still watching me. "I'm just fine," I mutter, before dropping the girl's arm and walking away.
** This is a story I wrote about the powers of the mind and imagination. It's definitely still a work in progress, but this is what's done so far.