It was never supposed to be like this. She'd been straddling the fence that separated fantasy from real life for so long that she hadn't realized when she'd hit reality.

She walked down the dirty street, the starless sky above her an expanse of pure onyx. The only light came from the dim street lamps. Her pale porcelain skin seemed to glow like a pearl when she stepped outside of the boundaries of the light. It was quiet. The air was wet, hot, thick...sickening.

With each alleyway she passed, the reality that someone could grab her and do God knows what became more and more real. It didn't phase her. Where most sane people would feel terror, she felt nothing.

But then, was she sane anymore? Would she do what she did if she was sane?

Yes.

No.

She wasn't sure.

The sound startled her. Someone speaking. She turned around.

A man, no older than 25. An exchange of words. A question:

What's your name?

The red painted lips, bold against milky skin, parted to speak, then froze. Name? She'd had a name once. At some point in her short life.

Isalette.

It was once her name. But once you're in hell, you no longer need one. And in hell she was indeed.

Dull eyes of sky blue looked up to meet brown ones. Shoving a handful of black ringlets aside, her shoulders moved in a shrug. The man chuckled. A face without a name, huh?

Smile. Fake. But it was what they wanted. It was what they all wanted. After all, nobody loves the forlorn.

He walked in the direction from whence she'd came, and beckoned for her to follow.

Frown. Removal of the mask.

Pain. Again, she'd been failed. Was there nobody to see that the smile - the true smile - was dead? Was it that nobody could hear her silent cry for help? Was it that nobody realized her anguish? Or was it just that nobody cared?

Of course not. In order to care for someone, one must love them.

They didn't love her. Who could?

She covered up her frown, her small slip up, with a smile. And she followed him. After all, that was what he wanted. Would compliance make him love her?

It never made anyone love her.

And it was all she wanted.

Ever since she was a girl, she'd never felt it. From the time she was five, she knew she wouldn't be loved. Boys teased her. Girls isolated her. As they grew older, she was ignored, and finally, she isolated herself. She could only be sad if someone inflicted pain. Now, nobody could. Yet, on the inside, she was slowly breaking. She longed for friendship, and it was denied. So she let go of wanting it.

She was reintroduced to boys in the form of relationships. But what good are relationships if they're one sided? When she showed interest, she was always shot down. One by one, they rejected her.

One...two...three...she lost count. And with each rejection, she sank lower. Misery began to drive her mad, slowly shattering the small amount of self-dependancy she'd bolstered herself up with, until finally, she was down.

Reject...

Undesirable...

Unlovable...

Failure...

She'd let the mantra play in her broken mind, distorting it even further, breaking her into nothing.

And that was exactly what she was.

Nothing.

She'd broken, fallen, and with nobody to catch her, she fell flat on her back.

She needed love. Desperately - savagely! - she'd searched, desperate to find out for herself what it felt like to be admired, to be wanted, to be loved. Two out of three wasn't enough. She always saw love around her, but could never get to it. Like a plastic doll, cast aside, never treated with the same care as one of porcelain.

She wanted love. Needed it. But it was never supposed to go as far as it had. It wasn't supposed to end like this.

When she was 17, she'd had the good fortune of going to a gathering amongst friends. None of which were hers. She met a boy. And he'd given her all of his attention. He talked to her, flirted. She'd soaked it all in. And when he suggested that they go to a more secluded place, it'd felt right to her.

Love.

She woke up to find him with another girl.

A heart shattered, tears fell, silence reigned. But it was known to none that a mind, stuck on the one experience, had finally fled.

Never again.

She'd find real love. Maybe, she'd realized, that was where real love lay?

Three years passed. But she never forgot that glimpse, that night of love. Did that make her insane?

No.

After all, all she wanted was love.

She found the trick. Comply to what they want, and they'll love you. She found that compliance was her best friend. Mouth shut, do what they want.

She'd found love in the many men that she'd had, and in the man who now controlled her.

Compliance had made her the favored one.

It wasn't love. And she knew it. After each time, she knew it wasn't. The void only grew, slowly taking over her whole body.

The man kissed her and guided her to the bed. Complying, she did what as he wished.

Thinking he'd love her. It was a childly folly. He didn't. The last one didn't. And the next one wouldn't either.

Yet, hands went everywhere. Clothes were lost.

A gasp here. A giggle there. Building them up made them love you. No, it didn't.

And so it went.

Numb. She felt so numb. In the midst of all the touches, all the pain, all the agony. She felt it all, yet she felt nothing. She was nothing.

She wasn't loved.

He began snoring.

She would never be loved.

In the darkness, eyes once bright with hope, now were dulled with hopelessness. The heavy eyeliner hid the redness from her tears. They were her only companions, the only ones that had ever cared enough to visit her every day.

No...

She wasn't loved. She was empty. Alone. Shameful.

When had she become so pathetic? How did she manage to sink so low? How did this happen?

The young girl, barely away from adolescence, welcomed her good friends. She decieved no one but herself. She wasn't worth love. She was an impudent tenager with all the grandeur of a whore.

Cold, naked, ashamed.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Stumbling out of the bed, she felt her way around. Blindly dressing, she felt the void get bigger, the throbbing emptiness a reminder of what she'd become.

She opened the shabby blindes that covered the dirty window, and blackness made way to gray.

A coat on the door. A cautious glance. Reach in, feel around. A wallet. Taking all she could, she dropped it and quietly, she slinked out the door, and back into the night.

It was what she was. Entertainment. Nothing more than a derelict circus act. Lady of the night for the Cirque de la lune.

Let the beautiful wonder, Lady of the Night, take the stage. Let her entertain. They go wild for her. They claim to love her. But they don't love her. She does what they expect, and as soon as she's gone, they forget. They forget her, the face with no name. But then, the members of the circus are always nameless. And a circus was what she might as well have been in.

This lifestyle didn't discriminate. Men, women, trannies, young, old, they were all in it for some reason. They all wanted something. They were the acts of the night.

They were the Cirque de la Lune.

This job hated nobody, but loved no one. They had to find that one element on their own.

Thunder.

Hate. She hated her self. Everyday, she woke up hoping to die.

She was nothing more than a vagrant whore who'd never found love. But she couldn't turn back. It was the path she'd chosen. Somewhere...somewhere along the line, someone would love her, care enough to see her pain. Take her away from this lifestyle. Right? Wrong.

Rain.

She'd never stop. All she wanted was love. And in this, she found love. Empty love, but love nonetheless. Someone woud show her true love someday.

Keep going. Find it. Soon... Never.

Too late.

Was she insane?

Yes.

She'd sold her soul to the Devil and was now apart of his circus troupe. Escape. She had to escape. Staggering into a back alley, dimly lit by a fire in a metal barrel, she found peace: A group of men.

Let them stare.

Let them leer.

Speak.

Say you want love.

Show me love.

Love me...

Rosy lips opened. The man grinned, revealing rotted out teeth.

Powder or needle?

Needle.

A syringe dropped into her small hand.

Voices in her mind lashed out. Every choice, every movement she made, she'd have to answer to the ringleader. She was nothing more than a loveless freak to do his bidding. Blur. Tears. Pain distorts even the best of eyesight.

Opium.

Poppy Opium. Potent.

Hesitate. Breathe. Look up. Speak.

The first time is always the worst.

Eyebrows raise. First? No, powder is for you then.

No! Wild...oh, so wild. Out of control. Broken.

Insane.

Close your eyes. Jab.

Feel. For the first time in forever, feel. Feel it enter the veins.

She'd never used drugs before.

When had her life taken this turn? Where was she headed? Bad choices. Why had she made so many?

Dull eyes blinked. The drug was quick. She could feel it. Her legs... they hurt. But they didn't. She leaned against the rough brick of they alley. She felt slow... listless.

Conned. She'd been tricked into happiness. It wasn't real. She was miserable, agonized. She slowly slid down to the floor. Vision blurred. Sounds were muffled. Confusion reigned.

Relax.

She'd been placed in a counterfeit euphoria, conned by the surreal glamor of a dirty needle.

Slow. Lethargic. How fast was the world moving without her? She was flying without leaving the ground, and now, her world was fading. She looked around in an impaired stupor as slowly, everything mixed together, a sloppy painting of a reality she'd flirted with, and finally chosen for sake of love.

It was funny, how she'd almost given up on true love. She sniggered. It was a lie, an illusion. She'd never get it. Her heart and mind could stay shattered. Who would know? Who would care?

She looked around. A few other girls like her were slumped over. One had fainted. But they were all just like her. One was busy with a middle aged man, covered in scum, and stinking of drugs. They didn't bother with discretion. The Cirque de la Lune didn't believe in secrets.

Yes. This was it. Where she belonged. She'd found true love in the needle. Love was powerful, addicting. Maybe she'd come back for more.

The money from earlier was thrust at the man.

Smile. Speak. Another needle.

She was insane.

She laughed. True love. It was in these lost girls around her. Her family. They were love. But more importantly, the love was in this opium. She knew it. The chemicals were doing their duty with speed and efficiency, and they were sweeping her off her feet.

Another jab. More euphoria.

Let it destroy her body so her soul could fly free.

If someone wouldn't love her, then she wouldn't either.

She looked at the empty needle as it slowly hit the concrete. At a snail's pace, she lay down on the cold, wet cement and stared at her fellow sisters. Slowly, her thoughts faded.

Lay down. Blur. Everything sloshed together as she moved. This was her.

She stared at the syringe that lay in front of her in a glassy eyed stupor. For once, she was the one with the happiness, and something else was empty. She gave a twisted smile. The trick of compliance had worked. She'd complied to the needle, and it had given her love and happiness, washing away her troubles, in return. That was love. That was what love was about.

She watched her hand multiply as she slowly reached for the empty needle. Too long. It took too long. She gave up and stared ahead, not wanting to do anything.

Lay still.

Fly.

Feel the euphoria.

Fake.

Just like the love.

No. Real love was here, not in the men.

It was where she'd always been. She laughed, broken, miserable, insane. How had she never seen it? For so long, she'd searched for love. Needed it. Yearned for it. And for so long, it'd been right under her nose. How could she have wanted to escape this lifestyle? That would mean leaving love behind. And she couldn't do that, now could she?

No.

Not now that she knew the truth: That love was in the tiny syringe. It wasn't something that people could give you. She let out a laugh full of madness and lovingly gazed at the empty syringe. This was it. This was love. This was where she belonged.

Cirque de la Lune. Holder of love.