A Frog is jumping across the tile floor. Each one crumbles beneath his feet. Hop. Hop. Hop. I’m alone on an island of tiles. It gets closer. The ground gives. We fall as Frog sits on my desk. We are floating. Spinning; airless and soulless. He looks at me. I want to ask him why. His head snaps to the right and we are back in the room for moment, suspended summersaults, watching a someone enter the room. When the someone sits, Frog and I go back to falling. He tells me I talk too much but his lips don’t move. He tells me I talk too much about being gone. He says he can take me somewhere gone. He hops off my desk and is standing on the surface of water. Water is everywhere. I’m still in my desk, my feet are tied to the legs of my chair. I slip out of my shoes, fighting the snake laces as they try to leach onto my calves. The water is either icy hot or scorching cold. I last only a second before I melt and I am stretching out across the surface of the water. I just float for three lifetimes staring at the inside of a daffodil as my body falls in layers like a parfait of melancholia and peach cobbler. Frog reaches out his hand and I take it. I reform as a lighter self. The water is a murky black and as it bubbles, hands form from the tar and grope for my feet. Frog is a balloon. He lifts me up past windows. Miles of windows of nothing. Where are we going? He tells me I ask too many questions for someone who wants to be gone. Why does it matter where I am or where I will be? I am gone. Isn’t that enough? He drops me, and he deflates whizzing around a room. We are in a doll house. He is on the kitchen counter. The light flickers and with every palpitation the x-ray vision short-circuits. I want to ask him why, but I don’t say it. He hears me anyway though. A happy home has its secrets skeletons don’t just stay in closets if walls could talk imagine the stories. His voice is monotone and drones on in a frightening rant, bouncing off of everything in neon shockwaves. The bones are trying to get me. I leap towards Frog, but he hops away. I run after him. It’s my house. If I look too hard, I can see it. Focus. I can focus. The X-rays freeze. They morph back into my furniture. The lights are off. Frog disappears, leaving glowing footprints in the dark and that spread into puddles of color. I think against it, but stop myself. No. No more thinking. I leap into the colors, kicking up rainbow drops that stick to the air. The colors bleed into one another. The world is colorful. A picture book. I find myself looking at a tree. The fetus tree. Various stages of pre-life beings suspended in air. Some have fallen to the ground below, looking like little grey stones. Others were making their way into knots in their vines. I tried to reach out to them, but their vines would constrict and pull them higher from the ground. Powerless, I sat beneath the tree, feeling it breath. I reach out to touch the stones, but they crumble to ash and sink into the earth, emerging as bright blossoming vines. They creep up the trunk of the tree, dressing the harsh brown exterior in delicate flowers. I feel a sorrowful smile slip onto my face from somewhere beneath my feet and I nearly shudder away the sensation for lack of familiarity. Frog emerges from behind the trunk. Don’t fight it. Just let it go. I inhale deeply, taking in the fragrance of bittersweet reincarnation. Frog slowly glances to the left. As I fallow his stare a large figure in a mirrored mask appears beside me and knocks me over the head with something heavy. I tower over myself and deliver blow after blow with this large block of something. What was it? I aim higher, right at my eyes. This is going to be lights out- I freeze- we freeze. I look at this crippling tool of punishment: Words. Thousands of them jumbled into this giant club. Ugly.Stupid.Fat.Useless.Spoiled. they bounce around in the big glass bat. Alone, they are powerless. I fight back, knocking myself and the weapon to the ground. I pick it up and aim right at the mirror, shattering it and all the words into oblivion of shards and rancid smoke. The smoke clears and Frog is in my ghostly wake, looking up at me with those big eyes with an unseen approval. I wish he would praise me. No one ever does, but then again, I guess I never deserved it. Maybe that is why I wanted to be Gone. I could never make people happy if I wanted to be happy at the same time. I am suddenly sitting at a table set with elaborate tea cups. The center of the table sported an inconceivably large pitcher of liquid. Happiness was all it said. Every cup had a name. My mother, my father; people in my life. My father’s cup was made of sponge, soaking up more than anyone else’s could. But when he went to drink, the liquid would seep through the pores and run down his chin. His was empty before he knew it. My mother’s cup was more of a colander. You could see clean through it from every angle, but on the inside there were little cups; little pockets of joy that only she knew. The average person would over look such a thing. Patch up the holes. Or throw it away. Not her. I examined the cup, and on all the little niches, there were more names. Along with gardening and other names of close friends, mine was one of them. I look up at Frog who extended his long tongue into the pitcher. I wanted to ask him why I didn’t have a cup, but everything suddenly was dark. His eyes hold an eerie orange glow that morph into a single dot, shrinking in size. I double over, feeling something catch in my throat. Bubbles of smoke pour from my mouth and bounce heavily on the grass before spreading in an eerie sloth-like mist over the entire world. In the fog, I choke and gasp, desperate for the fresh air. Frog is gone again. All I see is that dot. Smoke flows from it and from the abyss of obscurity surrounding it a face emerges. A cowboy hat, a cigarette, a charming smile. Daddy. The Marlboro man. Or so Mother called him- way back when. I hug him. But, he doesn’t smile long. Smoke fills everything. We are in his truck. I can hardly see. I can’t breathe. I grope in the smog for the window controls. At the last second, I hit home, the smoke floods out and welcomes the frigid air. I hesitate before I look over to him, but when I do, I scream. I try to pry open the door, but it is stuck. I feel him looking at me. His skin has fallen off, his eyes have sunken into black circles, and he is no more than a skeleton reeking of beer and death. I catch a glimpse of something in his insides. Wedged in his liver was a shard of something. It was white. It had the first few letters of my name on it. I rip it out, ignoring the disgusting noise that accompanies my efforts. His remains turn to ash much like that of the fetus tree. I take a handful and put it in my pocket before I jump out the window and fall through the stars. I cannot tell if I jumped up or down because it is so dark. Then I am walking and the streetlight ahead of me sings away the shadows with a gentle hum in tune with the creeping crescendo of cricket sounds. I am pulled in. There are tigers in the morning dew and they roar towards me in tiny twinkles of light. Whether it is dawn or dusk, I can’t tell. But there is coolness to the air and when you breathe through your nose the promise of the day to come is on the verge of showing itself with the rising sun. I’m outside her open window and I see her there, reading. I want to reach out to her, but I am Gone. It wouldn’t matter anyway. The things I wish for her, I can’t give her. I’d never be able to make her feel as special as she is. She’d never realize it. Her aura is a fifty-fifty mix of impending emotional rejection and a passive acceptance of everything wrong with the world. Her eyes are filled with the worlds’ wonders and she is blinded to the darkness I had so often found myself lost in. My stomach leaps forward. I miss her. I know she doesn’t want me to be Gone. I watch as she sets down her book. Frog is sitting beside her. She looks up at me. The smile on her face brings tears to my eyes. I’m in her room and we are on her bed, lying there, wordless. Her ceiling is the sky and we are six years old. We are in my back yard and playing pretend. People think we are sisters. We sit in the middle of memory lane. I dig in the dirt and find something. My little fingers pry in the earth for the secret treasure. I prick my finger on the sharp edge and see more letters of my name. I stick it in my pocket with the other piece and the handful of Daddy. I stick my bleeding finger in my mouth and it tastes like mud, but salty. She tries to get up and walk on, but I don’t want to. I look up at her, pleading with her to stay. I want to stay right here in the dust with my bare feet and dirty face. She stands up and takes my hand, hauling me to my feet. I am still five years old, but she has aged. We walk along and I drag my heels. She picks every flower along the way but most of them I wouldn’t have even noticed. The further down the road, the less and less I see. I look backwards and there is nothing but a long hallway of doors. Suddenly, she is gone. I see her way off in the distance, with bags. She walks through a door and I am all alone. The doors take turns opening and closing. All different colors, styles, and shapes, they orchestrate this silent opera of clashing lives. I walk down the hallway, but there is no end. I see one door, it has a green glass handle and I stare at it for a long time, but it never opens for me. I try the knob, but it is stuck. I grasp it tightly and turn it as hard as I can, but it breaks in my hand. The door turns stone with iron bars and a large padlock. I stand there a long while, not knowing what to do. Frog hops through a little orange door that closes fast behind him. I walk towards him and it almost seems like we walk forever before he turns and looks at me. This is your choice. I notice that all the doors ahead of me are cracked open and I peak inside a bright blue one. I see the inside of a home with a playpen in the corner and toys thrown about the carpet. I close the door tightly. I walk past three more until I come to a light purple with a big gold knob. I push it open and see a boring office. I close this door as well. I don’t know what I am looking for. Yes you do. But it didn’t open. Why should it be that easy? But I need a key. Then we need to keep looking. We walk through a set of French doors to the right and we are outside in Mothers’ garden. I can taste the dirt. It sticks under my fingernails as I dig for potatoes. She is hunched over her tomato plants and humming that tune of hers’. A piece of her hum breaks off and I hold it in my hand. The middle letter of my name. She smiles at me. I put it in my pocket and hug her tightly, something I haven’t done in too long. I open my eyes and I am back at the fetus tree. I reach into my pocket and take out the ashes. I dig up some dirt and plant them near the other vines. They will keep each other company. I don’t let any tears fall at that thought. I walk around the tree, touching all the stones and letting them burst into flower vines and I smile at the beautiful rainbow of colors that now cover the brown bark. The vines make a staircase and I climb it cautiously, avoiding the sleeping pink masses of levitating underdeveloped human. At the top, there is another piece of my cup, I look at all the pieces I have, but I still am missing the last letter of my name. I look around, but there is nothing but grass as far as I can see. Frog is beside me. I ask him if he knows where the last piece is. You know what happened to it. The more you try to tell yourself you will never be happy, the more real that idea becomes. But, what if I don’t believe that anymore? If you really didn’t believe it, you wouldn’t be Gone. But I don’t want to be Gone anymore. You can’t be Not-Gone. I ignore him, climbing down the tree. He hops after me. Where are you going? I’m late for something. I take my seat at the tea party and pour the liquid into my cup. It leaks out of the cracks a little bit, but if I hold it a certain way, it isn’t too bad. The chip where the last letter should be catches the tip of my tongue and it bleeds a little bit. The pain shoots through my face as the sweetness invades the wound. I close my eyes tightly, holding my mouth. See, it’s hard to do this. Some people just can’t be happy. Maybe it is easier to just be Gone after all. Will you shut up? Just because it is hard doesn’t mean I can’t do it. I scream at him. I take the last swig that’s left in my cup and wait for it to hurt. He smiles at me. I look into the bottom of my cup and I see a little iron key. I run from the table and I am back in the long corridor. I run for half of a lifetime before I reach my destination. The padlock still holds my door prisoner, but not for long. I turn the key and the stone crumbles into sand. I walk into the room and sit at the desk and begin typing away. The type writer dings loudly and suddenly I am back in school. All the someones are getting out of their seats and zombieing into different rooms. Frog stares up at me from my desk and we silently exchange goodbyes before he hops out the window.