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Nickols Aug 2014
I'm bending at an impossible angle.
Over backwards,
to appease such erroneous behavior.

An implausible feat,
to gain a few meager feet.  

Eye contact
As our bodies touch.

Once again,
I've become the malleable traitor.
Bending over backwards,
placating your itchy trigger finger.  

That's why I'll take you back.
Oh no, that's the price I must pay.
With nothing else to give.
I'll spread my confession.

I could almost taste the anger,
lingering on my tongue.
A paper thin relationship,
ripped with a flick of the wrist.

I should leave you with nothing,
instead I'm giving you my heart on a silver plate.

Oh no, that's why I'll take you back.
Oh no, that's the price I must pay.
Oh no, it will be alright...
if I give you nothing to shake off...
I'll be alright.

Just have to remember,
your words cut like knifes.
Into my skin, carving lines.
Ownership marks.

MINE

There's several ways to thinking about.
Deriving it according to principles and theories.
Remembering there's tomorrow,
and a day after...

No matter what happens, will you take responsibility?

Oh no, that's why I'll take you back.
Oh no, that's the price I must pay.
Oh no, it will be alright...

Fading into a blue ball of anxiety...
(words)
Nickols Jun 2014
I can taste it.
The sour-tang of anger staining my tongue.
It's a flavor that really sinks in.
This nasty, awful taste of diminishing rage.  

Swallow the good,
does no good.
It only disguises my mood.

This, festering negativity of a no-good mood.
Nickols May 2014
Time.
A
fickle
thing,
indeed.

Neither here
Nor there.

But
somewhere
always
in
between.
© Victoria
Nickols Jul 2014
His hand wrapped so fiercely around my heart,
a five fingers imprint.
To which will never go away.
Even if he wants to go,
the marks would still be there...
Mutating my heart until it ached.
That boy had left an everlasting impression on me,

I will never be the same.
Nickols Jun 2014
In a world full of black and white.

Where not a soul could be bothered within their mundane ways.

There was a single girl, shining in full blasted, techno-color.

In this world of dark hues of haunting shades.
Vacant entity's, refuse to look up from scurrying feet.

Day in and out, they mooed like cattle.

But not the vibrant Crayola girl.  

For all she had to do was look up,
and she could see her rainbow arching in the clouds.

While everyone else, passed her by.
I had to edit this. Sorry. I posted it really early in the morning. *face-palm*
Nickols Dec 2014
I condemn you. I condemn you.
One; for the pain you brought.
And the second for the continual shame.

**** you. **** you.
One; for my severed heart on the ground.
And the second for the boot stomped across it.

I hate you. I hate you.
One; for my dignity.
And the second for my pride.

I shall forgive you. I shall forgive you.**
One; for the pity I feel for you,
And the second for my own self-worth.
Nickols Dec 2014
Immune to the depravity.
Enslaved to the creativity.
A weaken soul, to the artist brush.
A becon of burning coals, in the artisans stove.

Two sides of the same coin.

We are writers.
We are painters.
We are smelters.
We are dancers.
We are singers.

We are art.

We are, us.
Nickols Apr 2014
I walk this earth to learn the meaning of existence.
My toes digging into the sand, so I might attain the therapeutic knowledge of warmth purging my soul.

Two hands.
One to the right, achieving the greatest passions of life
The other in the wrong, a heavy burden in my left palm.

My blue eyes can see the path laid out in front of me.
(Paved in bronze, silver and gold.)

Bronze of my past,
Silver of my present
Gold of my future.

I walk the cobblestone path.
A journey of many colors without an inking of what might lay before me.
Still I press on,
walking this earth
as I count my blessings one by one.
© Victoria
Nickols Jul 2016
Black eyes,
Deep and endless.
Shines a light,
Bright and timeless.

A kind smile,
On a gnarled face.
Handsome in his
own way.

Honesty.
A lost virtue,
In this wasteland
We call home.

Smoke drifts
from a parted mouth.
Escapes into the
nothingness of the
green-tinged sky.

"Moments like these,
I know all that karma
stuff is all bull."


Those are your words.
Not mine.

"Because no one like me,
should be this lucky."


There is no one like you.

A man out of time,
in stolen red duds.
tricorn hat tipped
to the side.

That smirk,
that damnable,
smirk, plastered,
forever to your smug mug.

Your ruddy hand
reaches back.
Open palmed
full of scars.
To grasp my mine.
Much smoother skin.

"Come on love,"
you say,
with your voice
full of gravel.

*"Lets get this freak show
on the road."
(I think I just went full on Fangirl!!)
Nickols Jun 2014
There is a lesson to be learned here. Maybe even a few.

I've been so angry.
So angry, I fear I might lunge at myself. My reflection shattering into a million peices, with the shards lodged in my chest. Churning and turning.

I've lost sight on things that should never, ever be misplaced. My heart on my sleeve, snipped away from a fraying string.

Know this: A man with out his heart is worse than a lion missing his courage. The fates takening, so where is the wizard to give back what I've lost?

There is no golden road to follow... Nothing but a ****** river to cross over on.
But where do we walk, when all the bridges have been burnt?

A lesson. A lesson to be learned.

Where do you go after the wolfs destroys your house, blown your stick home to the ground? Either in his belly or ****** and broken on the ground.

A lesson. A lesson to learn.

Never trust what you can not see, taste or hear... Then again, it's just not wise to trust anyone at all.
Nickols May 2015
You could never feel my story.
Every word written in between the lines.
Scrawled in the deepest shades of my morality.

I'll hand you a box, full of my darkness.

It'll be years before you realize, this was a gift, to understand my story.
Nickols Sep 2012
I beckon thee, to come visit me, in the garden of virility.
Where men are carved from your darkest fantasy;
and the women spun from your forbidden cupidity.

Where carnal knowledge is given freely;
and is taken just as quickly.

Oh dearest, infatuation;
given your love and lust till they blur and swirl.

Good sir.
Oh, Sweet madam.
Lost in the down wards spiral of your avidity.

I beckon thee, to play with me, in our hectic world of make believe.
Where women are carved out of false trickery;
and the men spun from wicked forgery.
Where  nothing seems to be, what it is.

The garden of falsity.
=^.^= Inspired by Tutors.
© Victoria
Nickols Apr 2015
My fingers laced a crown,
as you carried me into the lapping water.
I drew a breath...

And you tucked me into death's bed.
Water filled my lungs
with a slip of your invasive tongue.
--A goodbye kiss.

You left me there.
Slipping down into the icy waves.
Beneath the rising water.

My breath gone as you dissolved from my bubbly view.
Nickols May 2014
There's a ghost in my house.
Rattling handles on every door.

Throwing stones through the windows.
Sending shards to the floor.

The front door opens,
I'm escaping out the back.

The walls run red.
Striped in my ****** sins.

I cry... "Ghost... A ghost, in my house,
a haunted memory in sheets of white."

But I'm told, it's all in my head.
Given an oval pill to wash it away.

Lying in bed,
the moans and groans
start again.

I have a ghost in my house.
Not a figment of my imagination.

A ghost who rattles handles
into the dead of night.  

A ghost of white sheets
and fading memories.

A ghost
of my past offenses and greed.
© Victoria
Nickols Sep 2012
The fairys laugh in their play-
letting the sugary pollen flutter onto pale lashes,
with their pixie dust drifting into the darkest of ashes.

I'm going to lay back down,
Amongst the fleeting flowers.
For I swore I saw the remedy,
Hidden with in your golden heart.

Alast, I could have it wrong.
Was it not you, who dare to tell me, "be brave".
But is it not your spent heart,
at her feet as the blackest of ashes.

Glittering fairy dust, could not hide the ruins.
For evils wicked had already been undone.

A curse; a curse, upon your wretch soul.

Sweep the cinders in a coffer-
Lock them under key,
Cover your tracks.
Hide the way.

I forgive thee:
I do, I really do.
But please, my love.
Leave.
For if not, she will find ye--
And it will hurt only me.

Hurry forth now, The witch sends her huntsman.
The howls, I hear them dancing on the winds.

Run.
Do not look back.
But please, my dearest of dears, forget me.
As I have forgiven you--

Now go: A thousands I loves you.
Leave me be.
I have been watching way too much "Once Upon a Time".

© Victoria
Nickols Jul 2016
Even through my flooding gates of pain.
I could still appreciate how unbelievable green his eyes truly are.
Nickols Sep 2018
It’s easy to lie to yourself when you’re so debilitated. It something to come to terms with; to turn a half-truth into a reality.
Nickols Nov 2012
You try to show me love,
but how could you honestly?
When you don't understand: What true love is?
I now, can fathom what you are;
I know what kind of Man you've become.
If a Man, is what I can call you at all?
The pain was obvious from the start,
but I was blinded at the heart from all your black-magic arts.
Are you watching me?
Are you even listening?
Doubtful, for when have you ever listen to a heart which is bleeding?
So go forth, spreading your lies.
At least I know the truth; for a little boy is the role you play and play it well, you do...
© Victoria
Him
Nickols Oct 2014
Him
His** smell. I could never define it properly. You never can, with scents. There are never words to describe them floating in the air after a rainstorm, nor the smell of a freshly cut grass, on a warm summer's day.

His scent was dark and musky: the shadows of an expensive aftershave, cigarettes burning slowly, the smell of home gliding on his skin.

Those, and a thousand other things I could never place my finger upon. It all combined to make up Him. The most comforting smell in the world
Nickols Sep 2014
I am not your maid.
I am not your personal cook.
I am not a butler for you to boss about.
I'm not your employee...
Your slave, nor am I anything of the such.
I'm not a *** doll.
Or a pillow to cuddle with.

I am a person made up of water, blood and flesh.

I think.
I feel.
I bleed.
I cry.
I laugh.
And I live.

Please don't confuse these things.

For I am real.
And you shouldn't take me for granted.
Don't mistake my apathy for empathy.
Nickols Oct 2012
Fare thee well,  my sweet; I will forever, miss you,
out among the golden rays of the sun,
which to whom, could not come pair,
to the very shade of your curling yellow hairs.

I swore, my love,
you were right here,
not just a moment ago.
Now a memory is all which remains.

I bid you a fond adieu, my darling.
For our time has come and gone.
Another life, just maybe;
then, I will get to hold your hand anew.
© Victoria
Nickols Jan 2015
For all the poems
written on the subject
of unrequited love.
There are far too few
discussed on
being the desire
of the affection.

A difficult topic
to build a
foundation on.
Considering,
you're suffocating in
debilitating silence.
How could I know
if the words were
never spoken?

Like counting birds
against the blaring sun,
its almost
an impossible feat
to accomplish
battling a massive
lack of knowledge.

--and with the
cataclysm raining
down on your shoulders.
Do you feel cold
and lost in desperation?
A silent hope built up
into a concealed bonfire.

Standing alone.
Burning alone.
Impossibly alone.

I didn't know.
The words never
left your tongue.

No promises made
No catharsis expressed.
Only lustful secret
clutched to your chest.

Sometimes solutions
are not as simple as
they seem.
If only I'd known,
If only I'd been told
long ago;
then maybe
this wretched ending
could have been
something beautiful
instead
of a juvenile mess...
I wrote this and then re-wrote this and then re-re-wrote it again. All because I didn't like how it played out on paper. I think I'm happy with it now.

Sorry If I annoyed you. :^)
Nickols Nov 2013
I dream of you,
A dream in shades of blue and gold.
The color scheme is what calls to me.
A prisms within its own world.  
As the Partial beam,
deems me ready for the comet stream attached to you...

I dream of you,
like a melodic theme.
A gleam of hope, held within a world of downward slopes.
A helpful reminder, you redeem me.
Supreme among other musicians.
You are a song of musical theme.
Clean and creamy, with a side-ward gleam.

I dream of you,
in shades of greens and aquamarine.
A mind of calculating machinery.
I dream of you, and I know what is true.

I love you, with a world's eye view.
© Victoria
Nickols Oct 2013
I wanted to be right. An accusation I didn't want to own. Denying I could be wrong as the cigarette was burning slow. You asked and I refute. An unknowing dance with misguided steps. A tango of denial, with the thorn from a rose buried within my sides. I never lied... more of twist of an evasion. An omission of truth, disappearing with the grey ribbons of smoke. You asked the question; did I not answer to the best of my knowledge? Of course, I speak more in a statement than with a query... I never lied, only gave you partial false-truths. An innuendo laced with a common courtesy. Was it such a crime? A honest seduction with the intent of never telling the whole story.

I wanted to be right, with an accusation I would never own. "that I would love you" but how could that be true?

I can see now my excuses are fading faster then your red tipped ember. So I'll just go now, goodbye my half told story. Fair thee well...The time we spent is in the past, and I am now, left with that hole in my head.

I wanted to be right but fibbers never get to be the winners.
The thing was, I did in fact love you. And I guess you could say, that this was the saddest part of a well placed half-truth.

© Victoria
Nickols Oct 2012
I want to sleep with you.
No, I do not mean ***.
I want to sleep next too you.

I want to pull you closer.
In my bed.
Snuggled close under the covers.
Bodies pressing in a warming bliss.

Your hand touching my hip,
your nose nestled into my hair.
The pleasant press of your smiling mouth at the back of my neck.

Yes, sleeping with you is quite wonderful.
© Victoria
Nickols Feb 2013
The cobwebs were hanging in the corners of the room.
While I'll confess I was lost within the masquerade,
of a dance full with the intent of death;
swirling till we sung with how to die alone.

In our ballroom, is what I need;
Step by step; unassumingly.
I'll wait for you there, locked in our rhythm.
I'll wait for you there, till time stands still.

And on death row, I will continue on with a smile.
My mask molding into my face-
Like the harlequin, dancing endless steps-
slipping down the path of the pagan.
I will pray to the god's and anyone listening.
To return me to my heavens.
To a place, I'll recall;
wasn't I just there---

In our ballroom, is what I need;
Step by step; unassumingly.
I'll wait for you there, locked in our rhythm.
I'll wait for you there, till time stands still.

And on I dance, until the days were done.
And then, there I sat with regrets...
Cobwebs hanging over shattered glass.
All the things I've never achieved...
For all I've done, for all I've been.
**In dreams until my death, I wonder on.
© Victoria
Nickols Jul 2016
There were days where I'd crawled miles on hands and knees.
Every agonizing inch with only thoughts of finally resting at your side.

There were weeks where I'd close my eyes,
because the damage around me was to horrifying to witness.
My vision blurred from bleary kisses.
The caress of a backhanded comment.

There were months, and months where I held my words at bay;
keeping all my worries and doubts inside my mouth.
A devastating storm brewing just off shore on the tip of my tongue.

There were years where I would cry, begging for some sort of validity.
A single conformation from your lips.
I was in fact being heard over my silent screaming.

I tired of this endless journey.
Days.
Weeks.
Months.
Years of yearning.

Dredging through trenches on fire.
This tiresome struggle to inhale a single smokeless breath.

I drag myself on; towards the end and far beyond.
A clear blue sky waiting for my upheaval.
The air clean with a heavenly scent of freedom and home.

Some people are lost in the fire but some are built up within the infernal storm.
Nickols Nov 2012
A storybook written deep within the glimmering sand,
the simple message displayed in between sunshine infused ink drops.

Drip
and
a
Drop.


Down
they
flopped.


Night descends; and all is lost.
Destroying everything acquired.
The glory of the lore gone;
gone to being expired.
The moon's ink was a tad bit darker,
A different story, altogether.

Heathens
and
Demons;


Down
they
go.


Well, just until the sun rises...

And out befalls the sunshine,
white ink drops plunging down upon
the glittering grains of finely attuned glass.
The storybook saved, until the next moonfall.
© Victoria
Nickols Mar 2018
I focus on the end.
The only thing which matters.
A path for my feet to walk upon.
The road of stains and mistakes,  
inky foot prints left in my wake.
Nickols May 2014
I love a boy.

From the moment we met,
I've been falling
and
I still haven't touched the ground,
three years later.

I love this boy

With all my heart.
From his blue eyes
and
Right down to his soul.

I'm in love with my boy.

His smile captivates me.
Two matching dimples,
pinching his cheeks.

I love him
because he's my child.
I love him
because he's my son.
For my baby boy. I Love you, forever and ever.

© Victoria
Nickols Nov 2014
Thick clouds of smoke billow from her mouth.
The taste of cigarettes and whiskey lingering on a pink tongue.
A woman-- With eyes of an angel
but a body of nothing as saintly.  
She beckons through the nebulous crowd.
Lips gleaming red from obvious sins.
Hips swaying ripened to a hypnotic beat.

Will you, (insert name here) go to her?
To indulge in her hidden desires?

A gentlemen of scholars, without a single dollar.

Will you, a man made of valor, rush to her?

Fighting it only makes the urge stronger.
Eternal darkness will never know an end;
the sinful devil in her tiny black mini dress.
She is a demon in nightmare form,
nefariously wrapped in silken weaved candy.

Her call is strong...
Her voice soft.
She beckons you;
   --will you fall?
Nickols Nov 2016
"I'm not mad."

Narrator: She was angry. And maybe even a little resentful.
Nickols Sep 2012
"Please." I meant to say it assertively, but it came out meek and quiet.

Please love me, please want me, please don't leave me, please I need you.

Closing my eyes, I tightened my hold on him and tilted my heavy head to his broad chest. A hot tear bubbled over my eye, rolling wetly down my cheek.

*Please go, please leave me alone, please I can't help myself, please I'm too weak.
Not a poem but none the less, still fun to read. =^.^=

© Victoria
Nickols Jun 2014
I died last night.
A stain of red upon the sheets.

I died last night.
Without a sound leaving my lips.

I died last night.
And I'm still lying there.

I died last night.
Without a care.

I died last night,
to live for today
and to grow for
tomorrow.

I died last night,
to live.
Nickols Apr 2014
“I’m here for you. Where ever you need me. I there.”

I smiled up and held his glistening stare. I realized then and there, his eyes weren't dark brown like I’d previously thought but instead a deep ocean blue. So blue they were the color of the black night sky.
© Victoria
Nickols Aug 2014
A gambit man's choices hidden up his sleeve,
constructed by shadows and twisted lies of forgery.

Joy; desire; and anger.
Three tricks saved till the bitter end.
A dangerous hand played at the lion's share.

Two chances.
My only choices.
Love and jealousy,
a metaphor based on your zealously.

Your greed surpasses my sorrow.
By the way of desire,
to hold someone down by using fists of binding love.
A firm grasp beating me down till I'm black; black; blue. Black and blue.

What do you want from me?
What are your demands?
What do you think you're getting out of this?

It's one or the other!
Not two sides of the same coin.

What do you want from me?
What are your demands?
I am bound to find out.

So, just give me a reason,
to keep on believing.
I'm lost and I'm not understanding.

Make me understand.

Explain why your mouth is smeared with lies.
I can see the stains,
Painting your skin amber shades of infidelity.

It's one or the other!
Not two sides of the same coin.

It should've been a paradigm of our souls.
Not a paradox blending into a maze.

Look at how far we've come,
the pain we couldn't escape it.
Blood on our souls, passion licking at our heels.
Tell me how I should never give up,
that dazzling battle of misery and avidity.

Broken, weeping, blossoming and scattering these feelings.

Make me understand.
I just want to understand.
Nickols Jun 2014
Don't give up.
I said looking upwards.
It just the weight of the world,
bringing your tender heart down.

If their word corrupts you into silence,
I'll be the one to break that vow for you.

Don't give up.
It's just your hurt,
you're trying to hide.
Because I know, you want to burn bright.
Even in the darkness.
I'll be looking towards your light.

Misunderstood,
but don't give up.
Everyone needs to be heard.  

When your hearts heavy,
remember, I'll be there
lifting it for you.

I can hear you,
little miss understood.

Don't give up.
The word's 'Don't give up.' have been stuck in my head for the past two days. Finally decided to write them out and this is WHAT came out of it. *shrugs*
Nickols Aug 2016
....
...
..
.
Till the moment he concedes to his worries, shame and fears.

He is finally free of the mermaids den. Effervesce ripples around him,
on the journey to the surface.
Deliverance echoes through him as he crests the waters edge.

He has made it.

Coughing up his panic. He breaths deeply; the power of patience and
perseverance.

He is alive.
and
He is free.

....
...
..
.
THE END

Logical buoyancy wins again >:)
Nickols Aug 2016
....
...
..
.

--And there he lays on the  ocean floor. Surround by all his misgivings and uncertainties. Jagged rocks like daggers in his back. They whisper a malicious sirens song.

"Rest," They sing a sweet love song.
"Rest and all will be well again."
All the while, he continues to bleed.

....
...
..
.
Nickols Aug 2016
A vast and empty sea of despair circles from every side of his life. With waves of panic, insecurity, and shame lapping, every now and then, at the bottom of his rickety raft of lucidity keeping him afloat.

....
...
..
.
Nickols Aug 2016
....
...
..
.
--The waters swells around him, drowning him in panic as it rushes into his mouth. He can't breath. Insecurity sets in as the shame descends into his lungs. The sea swallows him whole.

One bite.

down; down; down,

into the cavern below.
....
...
..
.
Nickols Aug 2016
....
...
..
.

Will he continue to be buoyant? Onward in a grey sea of tedium and apathy? His rickety raft held together with persistence alone. Weaved, hitch-after-stitch, until it all falls apart.

....
...
..
.
Nickols Jul 2014
I look up to everything you are.
My vision of clarity.
I've loved you for so long.
My song of familiarity.
I believe in you.
Even when you didn't ask me to.
I found my prosperity with you.
A river of hope, flowing endlessly.
Nickols Jun 2014
Tonight is the night.
When the girl and the sea can atlas become one.
Her flawless legs blending into the wet sand.
A thin waist, which is clouded in white, disappears into the frothy foam.
I watch her go, her blue bodice rolling away on a wave.

She doesn't look back at me standing on the shore. The sun cresting on the hills.
I will always miss her, and her mint green eyes swimming in tears of loneliness.

The lost-girl who vanished into the sea without me.
I haven't been writing lately. My computer took a dive and I'm waiting for the new peices to arrive to fix it. I dislike writing on my phone. (The typos drive me nuts and the autocorrects)

I've actually gotten back in to painting. I've been posting my work on SketchClub! It's an amazing site for artists to come together and share. My screen name on SketchClub is: Pandarra.

Come check my work out! <3
Nickols Sep 2013
I ******* loved you; never forget that.
Even if it hurts, its not something to let go.
Nickols Nov 2014
This town is crumbling.
With dust turning into ashes.
A judgmental life built
to the apparent lackluster rhyme.

Trembling lips, forced proximity.
Eyes on fire, the vile toxicity.


Trouble.
A simple motto to live by...
Mockery of shared stupidity.
Continually circling
to the timeless tune
of a love struck fool.

A fool, within the rubble.
A fool of love, scavenging for a heart.
A love-sick-fool, standing with empty arms.

Love, it can't be held together with gum found on the bottom of a shoe.
Nor can it survive with lies told by you.
Nickols Feb 2015
He's an angel
fallen from grace.
I'm a demon
ascending to the
peak of infinity.

Could we ever coexist together,
out in the harmonious grayscale?
Grayscale is a range of shades of gray without apparent color. The darkest possible shade is black, which is the total absence of transmitted or reflected light. The lightest possible shade is white, the total transmission or reflection of light at all visible wavelength s. Intermediate shades of gray are represented by equal brightness levels of the three primary colors (red, green and blue) for transmitted light, or equal amounts of the three primary pigments (cyan, magenta and yellow) for reflected light.
Nickols Sep 2014
There's an ***** missing in my body.
Right between my heart and lungs.
An empty space filled in by bone and blood.

It should be there,
Instead,
it pains me that it's simply not.
A missing section of myself and my fellow humans, lost to evolution.

There's an ***** missing in our body.
An empty space between the heart and lungs.
A vital piece of something important,
That we've all mistakenly forgotten.

There's a piece missing.
The section between heart and lungs.
An ***** that can compute the pangs of lust and lack of oxygen,
when falling in love.
I blame my phone for the typos.
Nickols Mar 2014
This poison is intoxicating. A drug sending you into the oblivion. Enraptured by the taste and the feeling of impeccable deliverance. It's just what the doctor order, a spoonful of laced sugar. A placebo effect with nothing but the risk of cancer eating away your insides. Green in color, like the skin beneath the coating of a candy apple. It enters your system like a rock through a glass window. Shattering reality, while constructing a world of make believe.  

This addiction is poisoning. An intoxication crawling inside her veins. The ever present itching there just below the girls pale skin. Waiting for her next fix.

One more hit...
Just one more.
O'please, give me more.
More;
more;
more;

This poison is blinding, an addiction of the soul. The disorder of the weak mind, with nothing else to hide.

One more hit...
Just one more.
O'please, give me more.
More;
more;
more...
© Victoria
Nickols Oct 2016
It wasn't until her back was turned,  she realized her grave mistake. His knife slipped in silently between her ribs. With little effort it pierced her heart. The shock and shame. The ridicule, it was all the same.

She died knowing where to lay the blame.
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