In the middle of a crowded city street a small girls stand alone. In a world of dirty snow and heavy black overcoats she stands out, a bright puff of sky blue, motionless against the swirling eddies of grey. People move all around her. Crazy busy people, not one of them the same. Sometimes they notice her standing so still as they hurry on past. They search her face with empty eye sockets and screech at her, their mouths filled with acid green spiders and rows of pointed teeth. The noise is like a million nails on a chalkboard. It chases shivers up her spine and sends her whirling away down the street in terror.
When the noise has stopped and she finds herself once again alone and unnoticed she looks down at herself and notices for the first time the shape beginning to grow from the end of her finger. Like a long skin coloured snake it burrows out of her flesh and pushes against her skin. It wiggles and squirms and thrashes her skin, trying to force its way out. The agony hits her like a wave. She can feel the empty tunnels all through her body where this creature has wandered aimlessly eating her alive as it tries to find its way free. Her ocean blue eyes are huge with horror in her small round face. She lifts her hand to her face and examines the snakelike head pushing against her skin from inside her hand. The skin is pulled tight against the creature's face as it tries to break free, stretching her skin grotesquely. She can see the ridges that would be nostrils and the tiny bulges which would be eyes.
With her snake-free hand she touches it and it writhes even more wildly. Desperate to get rid of the creature she squeezes the growth and it bursts in a spray of thick black oil.
The creature is gone and the pain disappears with it. Her body is her own once more.
She wipes the oil off on her pretty blue dress and when she looks again her hand is fine. Nothing to mark the demise of the monster.
No one knows how old this girl is, or even where she comes from. She just appeared one day, a poor tiny, fragile thing, alone in a world full of people.
This is Cecilia. Poor crazy Cecilia. She doesn't realise the flesh eating snakes and screeching voices are all in her head. You could tell her if you like, but she probably wouldn't understand. Even if she did, she probably wouldn't believe you. She would be too distracted by the bugs crawling out your ears and back into your mouth. The purple goo leaking from your empty doll eyes wouldn't add to your credibility either. For Cecilia, her world is as real as yours is to you.
People used to try to tell Cecilia that it is all in her head. As if somehow that would make it less real. To Cecilia, the things in her head are the only things that are real, at least for now.