I grew this shell for protection. I burn inside and then I cannot get out because of the very shell that I grew. He called it shelter and placed it into a wood with trees that would not burn. This wood had no time but a beautiful couple with fire. He borrowed from their heat - as if it could ever be anyone’s - and set the house on fire. Ladders grew from window frames. They grew and ended up nowhere. I wanted to climb them but I could not. Everything was locked. He told me this joke of ping pong balls making fume while flinging from walls and I imagined. A hundred thousand ping pong balls trying to enter my body. Through nostrils, ears, the little space between eyeballs and skin. I was speechless, breathless, when I opened my mouth the balls started crawling in. The fire came closer. Heat began tingling my skin. I was still locked into the shelter. So this would be my fate, I thought, burn or be conquered by a hundred thousand ping pong balls. Isn't it funny. But I couldn't laugh. Sensation set in. It started with the cheeks and the right shoulder. My hair, I recognised this distinctive smell, soon, all over my body, all of it would be gone. And I opened my mouth, and widened my ears and my nostrils and eyes even wider.