“Just this once...please, let me stay. Please, let this be real. Let me be normal, even if it’s only while I sleep. Let me have this house, this life. Let my father and I live here and let me have friends who aren’t paid to stay by my side. Or, if you prefer, let me just stay alone here. I don’t even have to be normal. Please, all I ask is that you let me stay. I only feel right when I am here and I am so tired of feeling wrong. Please...” Iris felt her calm pleading turn into true begging, something she had never done before no matter how much this dream and this impossible life had been the object of her confused mind’s obsession when she slept.
Closing her eyes she reached for the doorknob again, trying to turn it slowly this time. She held her breath for a long moment before she realized it still wouldn’t move. It would never open. Looking at her hand, she suddenly realized that the doorknob was gone; in its place was a cold, hard, golden feather that was so heavy that it weighed her hand down, but she couldn’t let go. Iris stared down at the strange golden feather, and suddenly felt everything around her shift and fade until the feather was all that was left and the world around her was nothing more than a white vacuum—as plain as a blank piece of paper.
“It is gone. It is all...gone.”
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