The men in gray suits are coming.
They always have been. Coming to collect those of us who have sinned against society. Trust me, we are the baseball cards that fit oh so perfectly into their greedy, child like hands.
Their explanations for collection are about as nonexistent as the money in my family's pocket. Dad's hands are cracked and filled with oil and despair. Mom's once curly hair flies in a poofy mound atop her sweaty forehead.
No matter how many hours my parents work at the suit factory, we seem to be in a constant state of debt.
I am the middle child, or at least I think I am. My parents never told my sister or I who was older. They've probably forgotten by now, just as they've forgotten how to tell the two of us apart. My older brother is too wasted to ever get a job, and Zola and I are too young to.
School is crazy expensive. Work is not an option. Stealing is out of the question. I'm stuck.
Talk to you soon,
They took dad.
How such a kind soul is deserving of rotting in their jail is beyond me. What is the point of all of this? Why us?
I was there when they took him away.
His head hung limply between his shoulders, hunched from years of pent up exhaustion. His gray eyes met my own with an expression I can only describe as relief. It's over, they seemed to say.
A single tear slipped from mom's eyes. Most would just think it was another droplet of sweat racing down the side of her weathered face, but she wouldn't have wiped a bead of sweat away that quickly.
Zola snuck out last night and came back with a loaf of bread. Based on the smug grin plastered on her face, this can't be good. She's been taking loaves from a farm boy. His seaweed green eyes were much larger than his stomach. She told me he always puts his leftovers on the kitchen counter. She spends many nights sneaking through the colonial build's back door and stealing honey oat loaves.
Thank god I was walking with you this morning when I was taken. Two heather gray suits strutted up the cobblestone runway. It wasn't until they were right in front of me that I could see their faces. Empty, like a person whose name you remember but face you can't put a finger on.
I had to ask them what was wrong, and their only response was,
"You know what you did."
I assume this is another one of their games. Make me pick apart everything I've done over the past few weeks until my mind is just a few broken shards of memories melting on their floor of fire.
Their truck is a cold, gun metal gray that feels like ice against my skin. The gray suits are currently laughing in the front seat, probably mocking my feeble attempts to find a comfortable position in my bed of chains.
Talk to you soon,
We finally arrived at the jail. The gray suits were paid generously for my capture, and I was taken to a cell with dad.
"What did you do?" his warm breath tickled my ear as we hugged.
"Nothing," I said, looking into his warm gray eyes. Dad's premature wrinkles scrunched together in a jigsaw puzzle of patterns as he trailed his fingers down my face.
"Me either," he sighed. "They picked the wrong people."
"What do you mean?" I gasped. He held his finger up to his lips before hugging me again and whispering, "It's what happens when you have an identical twin." My eyes widened. Of course! They think I'm Zola. They think dad is Mark, his twin brother.
I can't rat Zola out. I could never.
They split dad and I up for the first step in 'cleansing' our souls. I was forced to watch Zola steal the loaf of bread over and over and over again.
She did it every night. There was a lot of footage to go through.
My eyes still burn from the achingly bright tv. My nail beds are chewed raw, my raven hair a swamp of rage and disbelief.
I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Wish me luck,
He exposed Mark. I saw him put on his suit this morning. His gray eyes lost their familiar warmth. He was a shiny new cog, now moving the freshly greased machine of soul stealing. He is gone. I dread the day when I am too.
A single brown mole on the side of Zola's porcelain doll neck. That's the difference between me and her sitting in this cold, stale bread of a room. I just have to tell them.
I am slipping, but I realized something today.
The gray suits claim to steal the souls of those who are guilty, when really, the machine they work for is long gone with their consciences. Can they truly steal a soul if they don't have one to examine for context?
Unfortunately, I believe the answer is yes, because we are all subconsciously willing to give up the part of us that feels. That loves. That hopes.
I have a feeling this isn't going to end well.
I am sorry. I thought I could be strong. I ratted Zola out. Now we are both here, except one of us is in a gray suit and one of us isn't. I have become one of them. A name without a face. A soul thief.
I've got to admit, it's much easier to live life this way. There is nothing weighing me down, nor up. I will simply be here forever. Never empty, never full, never me.