I have many names. When I hover behind her, she calls me chill, bringer of goosebumps. When he brings his lover to bed, I sink into the girl and she calls me conscience and flees, nauseous.

A gloomy mind makes him stoop, and I press, press, press on his shoulders.

A force-feeding of guilt. An unwelcome exorcism.

Eventually, the words fall out, all half-digested cud, during dinner.

She shatters with sickening heartbreak. Her usual glow dims from the inside out. Cracked, crumbling, whole.

I tilt her chin up.

Toward the warm bulbs she’d installed herself. Toward the light.

K.R. Lai is a writer based in Shanghai. When she’s not procrastinating and fighting Imposter Syndrome, she settles down with her laptop and tackles the blank page with indignance. IG: instagram.com/thesilverpocketwatch/.