They are trying to get her out. Out of her own head. Inside there's too many colors; saturated and painful.

It's talking to her. A strange alien with an ability to seep through the pores of another being's skin and attach itself to the memory bank of one's mind. The occasional moments that she feels like bursting into tears when she smells her grandmother's perfume is those times it's experimentally picking at her brain. It doesn't really talk to her in words at first. It's forgotten that it should.

Sometimes they're not her memories. It's collected too many. It makes something else other than its amorphous, indescribable form to conduct conversation. It wants to stay inside her head since she's warm and welcoming. If it only barks and rubs endearingly on her leg, she'll scoop it up and take it home. It knows what she's like. It's checked with others that it's left.

But it's becoming less welcome and more desperate. So it does something that hurts her so it can convince her in its twisted way. To hold on straws.

It looks like a girl with long dark hair, sharp gray eyes, sun-kissed skin. Bracelets hang off her delicate wrist. She doesn't know this girl. "She was first, you know. First is always better. She's interesting and you're vanilla. Her grandfather's a good friend of his grandfather. And you're related to nothing. Coming out of nowhere."

She doesn't reply. She's not angry yet but she's getting colder. She just turns away.

Then fine hair turns to a familiar shade of golden. What morphs smiles for the nonexistent camera. It's thin and statuesque. "You're not beautiful or famous enough. You can't catch up. What makes you think he chose you for anything else other than the safety in familiarity? He's overwhelmed now but in the future-"

She cuts it off by moving one of the blindingly bright things and throwing. Because now it hurts. But she puts on a brave face.

She's trying to scream out of the nightmare but she doesn't hear anything but the transformation into a new face. It's another one she doesn't know. But it smirks confidently with lips as red as the blazing jacket that huddles its form. Even in the dark, she can see the beauty mark on the top of its lip.

"They haven't told you about her, all for the best. Because she's better than you in everything. She can fight without a pet lugging behind her. She's dark and fascinating. She can understand him. For all your superficial need to understand, you don't really relate. She's human, just like you, but she's one of them. And you're an outsider."

That's when they pull her out and it feels like she's been drowning. Their smiles are comforted and she nervously smiles back. She stares at his green eyes. When he asks if she's okay, she gives a not-answer. All vagueness from her own insecurities. But she puts on a brave face.

Not Far

Your words in my memory

Are like music to me

Goodbyes had been awkward. Seeing each other practically everyday made things a little difficult. A lot difficult. A green phone silently lay on his palm as he remembered yesterday.

He had been fiddling with the straw instead of drinking. Lip-biting and running his hands through his brown hair, he tried to look at her as he said something. He couldn't.

He had been frustrated with his inability to be supportive. Her face looked so guilty. But despite his constant heroism, he wanted to cling to this one selfishness.

"It's not like forever, right?" he said nervously. "When you finish college and move out, you'll come back. Right?"

The smile on her face was painfully beautiful. "Mm-hm," she pronounced uncertainly.

The affirmation, no matter how weak, had been enough. A smile broke out on his face. A little later on he joked about using her pet to visit back in Bellwood. He actually pat the cutting from under the table, as if thinking less of her pet as competition for attention but as a bridge.

The lead in his stomach only fell when he drove her back home.

The flight was that day. As he stared at the phone in his hand, he lost the courage to make a final goodbye. He turned it off and tried to sleep. He also tried to forget about the meaning of flight or the time six forty-five AM. He couldn't.

A few months in and it still wasn't easy. He saw her on a computer screen sometimes. It got rarer as time passed. She had so much to do and so did he.

He stood in front of the computer screen in Rustbucket 2 and a digital map blinked at the corner. The Magister talked about the nature of the attack on Earth, Kevin drove and Gwen answered the Plumber when he didn't.

His fingers traced lines over the continents and oceans. Then his hand recoiled when he reached a small country at the northeast section of the map. He hated that it didn't seem that far.

Later on while he ran; jumped from the shattered floor of a building; morphed into a form with wings, his thoughts went back to how close that country was. His heart pounded. He was going to keep all this well away from that place. No closer.

Even later, he coughed a bright red spray of liquid on the ground. He choked out his cousin and his best friend's names. Knees buckled and banged on the pavement. Lungs tried to hack itself out. Eyes wanted to shut themselves closed. Face scraped on the floor when his eyes gave in.

Prying his eyes open, he rolled on to his back. He stared at the night sky. The darkness dotted with stars reminded him of smooth black hair that shone. Eyes determined, the symbol of peace activated.

On the other side of the world, a girl lay on the cold grass dimly thinking of them as bright green eyes. Disoriented, she reached out to the stars that would be blocked by smoke occasionally. Around her, it burned.

I'm miles from where you are

I lay down on the cold ground,

I pray that something picks me up

And sets me down in your warm arms.

Sweet Dream

She was his friend, if he no longer felt that way about her. She didn't know. There were too many lights. He had become blinded by them. Too dizzying. She was personally scared of it.

Once upon a time, there was a magazine and the two of them on the cover. She had overreacted, too frightened of what it all meant. He had comforted her. But was a long time ago.

At first he had been confused and overwhelmed but very appreciative. Too appreciative. He had eventually learned to love it. He had begun to - her mind was more tearful than scathing at the thought - alienate her. Alienate everyone. His cousin had told her that he was acting ten again, probably worse. At that time, she could still joke - maybe it wasn't a joke - that it was worse.

Now he was so far away from her, bathing in bright lights and making friends with influential people who were more plastic than people. Her life was normal now; boring and very normal.

Instead of angry, she was still scared. Not because of the sweet dream of their smiles together lost in time, but this dream-like bubble he was in that she knew was momentary. With a heart still holding a sliver of love from back then, she hoped he turned from the lights and still found someone behind him from the people he deserted. Before they left in exhaustion.

A/N: These stories were done to practice writing flash fiction (500 word limit). Not to mention, this was obviously written out of a lot of negative emotions.

Insecurity, Not Far and Sweet Dream - are lampshades to Julie-hatedom in the form of pro-Benlie fics. Yes, they're very scathing. Not Far has lyrics of the beautiful song "Set The Fire To The Third Bar" by Snow Patrol.