If I have to be the crazy one, jaw clenched and fingers twitching for a blade or a cigarette, writing dirges on paper napkins, then at least send me back to when the crazy ones spoke prophecies from their mountain shrines. If I have to hear voices and share my headspace and my heart with hungry ghosts, at least let the masses build a temple to our dark triad so I might tend your sacred fire and read death tales in its ashes. Instead of averting their disbelieving stares, let the masses come kneel at my feet with gifts of gold and jewels. Let them grovel for my intercession, your benevolence. I can be the oracle, it’s in my blood and all my dreams, but this isn’t a good time for madness. In another time, another place, I’d be washed in rosewater and draped in white linen; here I can’t even display the markings on my skin or speak the truth of their purpose. Here I must smile and nod like a doll; there, I could bare my teeth and let your howling explode out my lungs and they would weep and ask for more.

I could do such unimaginable, incomprehensible things in a place where the mad are recognized for what they are, conduits and scribes and truth-tellers. But fear not, my beloveds; if they lock me up, I’ll carve your words into the walls until my fingernails split. And then I will write in my blood.

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