Why do you love me when you told me you couldn’t love a lost monster? Why do you
restrain from erupting when I push your buttons and crash your creations, suspending your
plans? You’re flawful, my dearest, and this is why I open my heart as a loveless; let me present
my evidence, your honor. We dance in impenetrable fortressesses. You skulk and I scare; you
dance, and I dare the world to challenge us one more time. I miss hopscotching with you across a
soggy blacktop playground with pebbles encased in our fists.
Before I begin: Of course, there is no telling how much the world scorned you to date.
So, for brevity’s sake, I deem you the judge of our credibility (accounting for both me and my
unique species). Everything about our moral code is subjective, but I digress. Your honor, let me
open my case with a fact, because I cannot promise everything I relate in this letter will hold
truthful meanings for you. The word ‘shapeshifter,’ as you might have discerned from our title,
connotes our ability to morph, but not into people we have met.. Friends, Nature, humanity; this
is where the magic begins. We look into a long mirror, or any sizable shard of glass where our
reflections match the weariness of our hearts—and freeze. We capture the moment and hold it
close, because they tend to flutter away. Wings are too tempting for our kind.
Transfiguration comes next. Characteristics minus the character flaws, and we morph into
another one of us, a fantastical being capable of the wonder of belonging, of feeling the illusion
we deem as secure because everyone is secure, correct? Stable enough to live, at least. My
rambles serve as remedies to my solitude. Burn thy souls, fleeting maker of silent ghouls. Track
me through my lineage and trace the scars which have led me forward this far; leave me, you,
the scourge of my daymares, so I do not remember blithe accusations. In short, we are sensitive.
Sensitive people are also people, though. We will go further with our eyes half stilted with
Most of us are bipolar, because there is no other means to live when both halves still
cannot measure up to a whole. We do not know ourselves because we are riven with doubt
behind paneled glass. How does one repent from sins they were born into? My status is my
spoilage. My identity is the privilege I am severed from and have bled into, and must make
reparations to combat.
Somehow, I find myself growing farther and farther apart from happiness. Emotions
quarrel more than they compromise, but some of mine have stopped attending bi-weekly
meetings, and I can’t bake so I can’t bribe them. I prefer brownie sundaes and anything
satisfying like dark chocolate.
Clinical depression is more scientific than it seems. It’s just another malfunction of our
kind, that we manufacture serotonin and it keeps cycling through the assembly line to pitch over
a cliff with no bottom. When I go bungee jumping, shapeshifters will keep the funeral
Once, I went to a meeting. You weren’t there, because you were living in that palace with
the red bridge running across a stretch of land to keep up with the city. It was nice, and the nature
seemed approachable, unlike the other shapeshifters. I was careful not to address anyone, but I
learned a lot that day. We are a distant people; we do not favor social interactions and are
drained by such tasks. However, if not provided a supplemental social activity every so often, we
will begin to go insane with anxiety. We are puppets, and the puppetmaster is anxiety. How do
we fix such an abnormality, sister? What do you suggest for those combating paradoxical
Shapeshifters enjoy slurping their noodles and tearing off hunks of bread before eating. I
dissect my cranberry muffins to savor their sweetness. We pick at our cuticles and rake our
fingers through our hair. People tell us we’re dirty because we eat with our hands. We often find
ourselves staring out the window in a form belonging to some obscure person across the planet,
musing over the meaning of life. And you wonder why I am still single. At this point, it will have
been a miracle that you followed me thus far, because letters are not my forte. Neither is
communication, and despite my evasive nature I will make an exception to you to prove I am not
distanced from the world.
Dearest sibling of mine, do you remember the day we visited our old schools and walked
using the old path and met at a crossroads, you looking up before crossing the street. Ambition
knocks us aside from above with the slightest sleight of hand. I learned how to become the best
of magicians by observing the best.
Did you not know I am failing math? Did you not know I cry in that class every day, the
sunlight masking my tears but not the streams of salt, like rock candy. The world puppeteers us
shapeshifters in a feeble attempt to keep us alive.
We will tell you that we are okay, because we are doing well. Do not discuss these matters again, or else my techniques are no longer working.
You will never receive this letter, because I am burning it and watching the cinders of our civilization die with the flames. Let me open my heart to you; let me make the world aware of our existence, the existence of the shapeshifters. This is my proof. We would never lie to those we love, so let this be the thesis I will spend the duration of my life trying to uphold.
Because the truth does not need to be proven if it is bitter.
Anshi is a high school sophomore who has work published or forthcoming in eleven literary magazines such as the Eunoia Review, LEVITATE, and Mobius Lit. She has published two books, was a contributor for the Eleventh Hour anthology, and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading while drinking (too much) coffee and listening to music.