Why does he take the sideways step? Why does he move, but neither forward nor back? Why does he half fill his lungs, and why does he only half open his mind?

He moved in a way that allowed for no progress. He thought in a way that allowed for no change. And he sat in a way that allowed for no comfort.

He was not unique, but neither was he ordinary. He was not strong, but neither was he weak. And he was not made for this world, but yet, he was of it.

The people formed a scattered circle as they watched him sit on his shins in the middle of the public square. The near icy rain fell weakly and although he was completely drenched, he made no attempt to escape it. He made no attempt at anything.

He was so still that some in the crowd thought he was a well painted statue. The observant of the watchers noticed the very slow and subtle movement in his chest.

Many had asked the authorities to remove him, but they refused. Another in the cells meant another to feed, and food was scarce.

He drew things out of many of them. Some yelled at him, some cursed him, and some said things they had never been able to say, for they had never found anyone they hated so much that the words would flow. But now they flowed.

Other people’s words did not matter to him. For no matter how cruel they could be, they could never be as cruel to him as he was to himself.

There was a time, faint in his memory though it was, where his mind seemed solid, strong, made of something unruinable. He remembered how it was, long before the ruin came.

Some things can be broken and then put back together. Some things are broken, then burnt, spat on and bent out of shape. Some things one tries to fix, only to discover the pieces were never there to be broken in the first place.

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