The Hidden Palace.

She constructs walls around herself - built with the sparingly collected bricks of other people, as they fell around the jaded soles of her feet. The cement which binds them together is mixed from moulds of emotional refrain and philosophical contradiction. The woodwork arrives as planks of experience, and its roofing from rustic remnants of attempted attrition. It is a haphazard kind of residence, but the house created from these elements is solid, peaceful, keeps her warm on cold winters nights, and while the outside appears stoic and uninviting, the décor is an enriching shade of light brown - awash in a liberal, easy going glow.

And yet, in spite of the beauty of her home, she allows very few visitors to abound in its rich glory; afraid of a destruction she doesn’t fully understand. Every day, wandering souls from all walks of the world knock upon her door; carrying a naïve hope they may be the one she opens up to - for even the smallest of glimpses of what mystery lies beyond. But the echoes of tapped wood simply reverberate into empty air. On occasion, an eye peers from the shady curtains of a high window, along with a half-smile - If they seem welcoming. But the majority of each attempt, there is silence; beautiful, painful, endless, silence.

It wasn’t always this way. She once resided in a much different house; built by the sunshine and positive reinforcement, only a child can appreciate to its full capacity. She would allow every last stranger inside; to laugh, drink, and share the world together for the indefinite future. But when she invited every element of humanity inside, she not only received the wonderful, but also entertained the hateful, the bitter, and those who could only curse under their breath as others shined – due to their own failure of desire, and protective delusion to keep their own houses upright.

And this is what happened; call them Negatrons, Dementours, or just pillars of hate, their dominant darkness invaded her glowing sunshine. The energies slowly corrupted her innocence, distorted her empathy, and drained the colours of her heart – neither knowing nor caring how the effect would tarnish the purity of her spirit for an eternity, perhaps lost in forever. She never fully gave in, but every time she handed her spare key to that one special person she felt could share this wonderful place, they used it to their advantage – her faith failing both her design of security, and nature's design of humanity. Innocence proved to be her enemy, as the Negatron's teachings of disdain were more insidious then the eye could recognise – and had convinced her that hate was a form of love; when it has only ever been a natural enemy of positive reinforcement.

Her house still stands - proudly for all to see, and stronger than the majority around. But her home hides deep beneath the view of the naked eye. For those who have basked in its glory, and every non-human member of the animal kingdom she embraces with every beat of her heart, the hidden palace remains a place of wondrous beauty. For everyone else, it remains a decadent, exotic mystery; profoundly warm and caring, yet perpetually misunderstood. All she needs to do is open the guard of her doors for those who will shine as she can - for this is the risk we must all take; live in the protective shell of comfort, or stay inside, safe, but hiding an item of genuine value from humanity. And whether we admit it or not... all diamonds are meant to shine!


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