Who sees the world the way that Luna does.
For a long time, everything had been so … vivid. The water was the deepest, brightest, most startling blue imaginable, and the breathtaking green of grass made her hesitant to even walk on it. Even the darkness that came upon her was the deepest of black and most frigid of cold. Everything was its utmost beautiful – she had been sure that this was the world.
Then, things went off color. It was duller, somehow. As though she was wearing dirty glasses. It all seemed so … plain. She wasn't entirely sure why she ever thought this earth was something miraculous and unique; it was all the same, every corner and every mother in every coffin.
Sometimes she had nightmares, and her father would tuck her in and wrap his arms around her and whisper, You're safe now.
She realized then that it was not the world that had faded. It was her. She was duller, grayer, than she'd ever been. It was on the inside, not the perfect pink of her flesh. She asked her father if one could turn inside out, so that even though she would be dull on the outside, her insides would glow again.
He'd smiled at her, but it didn't even reach his cheekbones. Oh, Luna, all the darkness of the world could not fit into your little soul.
The first morning of autumn, everything came alive again. Something was different about these colors, though. They were bright and loud and sparkling, but they did not make her sorry to step on the grass or want to sit on her roof and stare for hours at the glorious sky.
That was okay, for a while. She preferred the inner dullness to the outer gray, because at least then it seemed like Eden. She preferred to pretend that she glowed along with the rest of the world, instead of recognizing that she was the singular failure in an otherwise structurally perfect creation.
She kept fading, becoming more and more imperfect until the world that had welcomed her at first didn't feel like home anymore. She wore her skirt shorter, and her shirt tighter, and her hair silkier and smoother to make up for the muted air around her. Her father sent her a letter with a picture in it; her mother. She was the most vibrant person I had ever met, he wrote. You look just like her.
She looked at the photograph. Her mother was smiling – the same blonde hair, the same eyes, the same uniform. She was laughing, and she was shining like the moon. Wow, you look beautiful in that photo, the girl beside her said, pointing at the photo. You really … glow, you know? Wish I did that when I smiled.
Luna looked up from her mother, startled. She looked down at her hands, at her skirt, and into her soul. It was black, and it was frightening, but there were patches of sunlight everywhere, fighting and sometimes even winning. The darkness exploded from within her and spread out into the world, dripping onto trees and into the grass and the dirt and the lava that burned beneath. And it was grayer, the colors and the scenery around her, but somehow more real and perfect than it had been before. She felt suddenly guilty for sitting beneath a ceiling when the sky was stretched above her. She wanted to sit in her window and stare up at the stars all night.
She smiled, turning to the girl who had spoken. You do.