Title: Tinga
Author: Ashantai
E-Mail: ashantai@hotmail.com
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I own nothing and nobody.

I saw you that night, your heart,
your soul opened to me like a book.
I saw your face, your history,
the problems and joys of your life.
I saw a man who was falling in love,
and what he loved he thought was me.

You believed you were seeing me,
who I was, what I was.
But what you were seeing was a lie.
I had to tell you it to keep you safe,
to keep me safe, to keep us all safe.
I fell in love with you, too.

My face was a face I wore,
My name a name I created,
My past one I built from my own childhood hopes,
and a history I thought would sound normal.
I did not tell you of a time in cold, damp woods
when I ripped a man to pieces for no reason
other than that I wanted to.

I did not tell you of a time in a silent, bright corridor
when I saw a sister crash to the ground,
blood pooling around her, and I did not cry.
I filled your mind with stories of a girl who laughed,
had problems that were not really problems,
and a history that could be anyone's.

That girl was not me.
She was who I wished I was and dreamed I could be.
The lie was comfort, security, safety for us both.
"A tattoo," as you lifted my long dark hair and
caressed my neck with warm fingers.
"A self defence class," when I attacked you,
thinking you were an intruder come to kill us both.
"An only child," when you asked about my family.
But no. A lie. Too many lies.

Not a tattoo. A mark of the hell I escaped
where small bodies committed acts they were
not meant to even witness.
Not defence. A predatory, genetic impulse
to engage, to attack, to kill.
Not an only child. One of many things that
you cannot truly call children.
The lie became truth for both of us.

We had a life, a future, a family.
We loved each other, and our son.
I tried to tell you. I tried to speak the words.
But the lie had become easier, safer.

I told our son a story to put him to sleep,
a story of a princess with a loving family,
but who was hunted by an evil king.
I think he understood.
It was enough. It had to be.
We were happy, for a time.

A happily ever now that was mine.
We shared it.
Then disaster.
The tattoo revealed as a mark of evil,
The self defence as the training of a soldier,
And a brother and sister who suddenly
knew me better than you did.

It's not true.
I was Penny Smith.
I was your wife.
I loved you.
But I was more.

I was Tinga.
I was a broken child.
I was afraid.
I was a mother and a wife,
a fugitive and a soldier.
I was a human being.
I was...

Penny Smith is gone.
Tinga will soon join her
in the world of shattered dreams.
The evil king, hell, the abyss...
I have been taken
by those who claim rights to me
and who seek to destroy every identity
I have ever held as mine.

I was once a wife, a mother,
and a child without innocence.
Now I am an experiment,
a thing to be melded, influenced.

I will soon be gone.
I will no longer exist,
even if I am alive.
It has happened before.
It will happen again.
Escape and evade will not work this time.
I eluded the evil king once.
I cannot do it again.
I must go. I must yield. I must die.
For you. For our son.

Remember me,
who I was,
what I stood for.
There was never a lie,
only the truth of my love.
I wanted safety for you,
for our son. I did love you.
So remember me...
And if you can,