In rage and impatience she hefts the weighty objects above her head, hurling them at the floor. They strike the edge of an upturned table and explode into a multitude of sharp, bright shards. She feels one chip the hard scarred skin of her face; it draws no blood from the thick armour.
The dusty floor is covered with precious gems; so painfully precious. A million chill splinters of mirror, each containing a fragment of her face, a memory of her real self, from the time when she could live in the world instead of shutting it outside herself.
Tiny pieces of herself stare up at her from the floor, captured inside their waiting worlds. Now her work can begin.
She begins. She weaves and fashions, creates and contours, all the while muttering a psalm of profound thanks to her skilled ancestors. She thanks the gods that she learned her grandmother's lessons well, despite - perhaps, because of - her mother's very vocal disapproval.
After many hours the work is done, her magic concluded, and she lifts the thing to cover the remains of her face. She sighs with deep pleasure, pleased with her handiwork and exultant at the return of hope.
She finds a small hand-mirror of her grandmother's, just an ordinary mirror, and gazes at herself, admiring her masterpiece. A mirror maze melded into a mask that will allow her to become whole once more. Her glamour recaptured in the face of a thousand pieces.
Now she can face the world once more.
The low heavens brush her shoulders with expectant, misty rain as she steps out into the thick air. Even at this quiet hour, the street is alive with passing figures.
She pulls her coat round her, touches her miraculous mask one last time and walks down the last few steps. She begins walking, going nowhere.
Expectantly, she turns her face to the passing pedestrians. Pieces of faces move and jostle on the shining surface. They are all her but yet none can agree with another on where it should sit, who it should smile at or glance playfully towards. Expressions melt into each other, struggling to re-form and create a meaning in their moods, becoming grotesque.
So good to be among people again. She can feel the strength of their company, their lives, flowing into her as she moves into the press of the crowd. A feeling very like her memory of happiness begins to invade her marred soul. The crowd is a comfort, a support, a touchstone of normality. A way back to who she was. A way to be who she is.
A familiar face appears, bobbing among the crowd's myriad mouths, eyes and noses. Dora. She was one of the very few who visited her in hospital. One of the very few that had stayed a friend to her. Think how this true friend would delight at seeing her whole again, able to smile like everybody else. She presses further into the crowd, shouting to her. Head turned away, Dora doesn't hear but rushes on, intent on her mundane errand.
She must speak to her. This would mean so much to both of them, another bond of lasting friendship and another entrance to the world she had thought gone forever.
There just ahead, Dora crosses the road, waving to someone on the other side. She shouts again, following her. Surely Dora is close enough to hear now. But her voice is drowned by the screeching of a car's tyres as it pulls up sharply.
The heavy machine barely touches her, merely knocking her leg. The man's voice, ugly and harsh, is more of a shock as she lurches slightly to one side.
The mask, jolted by her unsteadiness, slips from her face. She attempts to halt its descent but its weight makes it too fast to catch. Striking the floor, the marvel she had moulded shatters into smithereens, the tiny fragments lost forever as they slide swiftly across the hard paving.
Screams pour from her endlessly as she stumbles forward. On her knees, she sifts through the shattered shards of her face; a face she will never be able to rebuild. From one silver sliver an eye, a bright blue perfect eye, returns her gaze, unaware of its fate.
Her sobs choke her, lungs heaving painfully for a breath that will not come. Her friend hears at last and turns to see her as she wants no-one to see her ever again.
She lifts her head and looks to the sky, the last light of the day fading swiftly from it. She wishes more than anything that she could escape up into the air, be lifted far above the winding pathways of her hell.
The phantoms called people, those who had plagued her all her life, boil at the edge of her vision as her face and mind evaporate up into the high skies.