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THE BOTTLE cap went off with a pop that would have been trifling in a crowded room—but save for myself, the living room was devoid of people. Usually, I would have enjoyed the lack of company. The couch was my favorite spot and silence, my favorite music. However, as of present, my head felt emptier than our house, and it was a feeling that elicited a certain degree of fear. The blankness of my mind made me feel physically light—too light for comfort, light enough to be taken by the wind in one soft swish.

I tightened my grip around the neck of the bottle I had opened as I pulled it closer to my lips until its mouth finally touched mine.

The bitterness of alcohol filled the emptiness I had been feeling, if only temporarily; the acidic pain it has left in its wake above my abdomen and a little bit across my chest reminded me of my dimensionality.

Four bottles later, reaching for the drawer of my study table, I found myself taking out my sixth finger, my paintbrush, and I let its tip bleed different hues over a blank canvas, showing traces of life. F MARIA ANTOINETTE A. MALICSE

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