• “I’m full of chlorine,” she said, blinking up at the man passing by, not seeing his wary expression, not noticing the way his smooth hand tightened on the handle of his briefcase. She didn’t really see anything anymore.

    “All the water just wants to come out!” she cried, long, spider-like fingers threading into her hair, not noticing the greasy, tangled texture. Her hair didn’t really have color anymore; it was brown with grime and dust and oil.

    “It just wants to come out.” She was talking about tears, you know. She was full of tears, but they wouldn’t come out, and she didn’t know why. All she knew was that she felt like she was full of pool water, all smelly and laced with chlorine, that strong, over-powering chemical. She hated chemicals.

    “If it doesn’t come out, my hair will turn green,” she stated matter-of-factly, nodding sagely at the businesswoman who was edging around her. Her hair had once been blonde, you know. Beautifully clean, shiny blonde. It had been almost white, almost silver. People had touched it in elevators because it was so beautiful, and she remembered that she had hated that, that it had annoyed her. A little girl with golden ringlets, clinging to her mother’s hand and staring at her with wide, seraphic-blue eyes slowed down as she walked past, and she reached out to touch those beautiful curls. She could understand why they had touched her hair; it was like touching sunbeams, though she supposed that hers had been more like moonbeams.

    “A moon child, Sun Child,” she said, smiling at the little girl. “I am a moon child.” The girl’s mother tugged her away, glaring at her as she continued on her way. It was a common response to her presence, fear. People feared her, but it wasn’t her fault. She had just seen her fiancé murdered, that was all. That was all. She had just heard his screams, had just heard her own screams as she had been violated while he bled to death. That was all.

    “Moon children and Sun Children and Flower children. Mantis children. Dingledodies,” she said, watching people pass, giving them smiles and waves as they walked. She wobbled to her feet, and people noticed that she had a proud posture, and that, long ago, she might have been beautiful. Powerful. Yes, powerful.

    “Then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”,” she recited, dancing down the street like a dingledodie, burning, burning, burning like a candle. Or a fire, maybe. She paused, looking up at the bright star of the solar system, eyes narrowing as the candles exploded like spiders across the stars. She saw the blue centerlight pop, and she blinked.

    “******** spiders,” she said, glaring at the sun, and it occurred to the disturbed passersby that there was nothing worse than a deaf schizophrenic with the power of speech.