Untitled by Jessica Tillings

Dahlia is experiencing a change within her. Thirteen years old – she’s hit the threshold of her hormonal adjustment, but she does not know that. She hunches on a chair which is crammed into a dimly lit room. More like a charity shop storeroom than a study; the clutter gives her sanctuary. Her heavy-eyeliner gaze is fixed, intent on scanning the words and patterns on the computer screen. Lyric sheet after lyric sheet. The dark ominous tones of The Intense Humming of Evil drone out of the speakers for the fifth time this hour. She’s learning, or at least, trying to grasp how exactly this music speaks her language; how words can be so beautiful and carry such raw, tugging emotion within her. Within anyone. But no one hears it like she does.
One hand pulls at the ladders in her tights and the other is tangled in her long black hair. She is the epitome of her angst, but she does not know that.  She sighs like a silent scream as she opens a new Word document on her computer. Her bullet-hole eyes reflect in contrast to the luminous white page which pales her complexion. Her fingers awkwardly dance on the mouse; chipped black polish on chewed down stubs. Dahlia is having an internal crisis. She’s remembering her last attempt at poetry; something incredibly self-aware and stupid about a snail. She swallows with her eyes screwed up – the memory makes her want to choke. She doesn’t understand. She cannot comprehend how the weight of her vision fails to transcend from her gut; how her words paralyse in her wrists and recoil from her fingers.
She starts the album again. Whispering along to the lyrics – afraid of being heard. She begins; carefully caressing each key as she types. Something has aligned for her, but she does not know that.


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