Please note that Mr. Linky hates me. Once again, he has substituted my link to a Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s prompt with this one. Why he picked There Be Monsters, I don’t know.
This is also where Mr. Linky will send you for Mindlovemisery’s Sunday Prompt 48: Escalating Humiliation. Escalade Humiliation will take you to my humiliating story.
~ * ~ * ~ *~
There Be Monsters
She sat in the middle of the empty room; mismatched lights and lamps chasing all shadow out. The monsters could not find her there.
Monsters swam in pools of darkness; hid under beds and in closets. They could squeeze themselves into tiny cracks of dark just beyond the beams of light.
Night was their playground. They knew how to play all the games, but never let anyone else know the rules.
They weren’t fuzzy, cuddly, misunderstood, benign. She wouldn’t be lulled into such thinking. She knew; those images were false, created to give children dreams that weren’t nightmares. Those movie monsters weren’t real. Hers were.
They had been with her since childhood; finding her small, alone and in the darkness. They lived under her bed, in the closet, behind the curtains. When she moved, they followed taking up residence in dark corners and shadowy spaces.
She learned to make herself as monster-proof as possible. They could slink along behind her on a winter’s evening; be lurking in the shadows cast by trees or tall buildings. She planned her routes, memorizing every place where a monster could hide. Out in the open, she could still breath; dash towards a street light, a brightly lit store, a neon sign. Or, rush into a crowd – monsters liked one on one confrontations – and hide herself among the shifting mass of bodies, sliding out when she found another safe haven.
Home was the hardest; there was always darkness somewhere. She kept moving from space to space, trying to find relief from the nighttime, from the darkness, from the monsters. She worked at night; lights burning. Sleep only came with the sunrise.
But even with the light, came shadows. She began to fear sleep; she had to be vigilant always. She trained herself to stay awake for days at a time, allowing sleep only when she could no longer function. She developed a series of rituals; rites to create a safe space around her. Talismen to protect her.
Monsters consumed her; they entered the dark spaces in her head, whispering terrors. Then she found the rooms with a turret. A round room, no corners. So, there she sat, her face bathed in artificial light. In this room, she was safe. In this room, she could breath. In this room, she could live.
But, there was the dark square of the door-frame. She heard them snuffling, shuffling, snorting beyond the circle of light. She was tired. Tired of running. She moved with a steadiness and sureness she didn’t know she possessed.
She stepped across the threshold between light and dark, willingly entering their shadow world. She felt their breath on her face; felt them brush against her neck. They surrounded her. She swung the baseball bat she found in her hands.
Sounds of smashing, gasping, gnashing. The darkness was split open. Shrieks, screams – human or inhuman? Then there was silence; a stillness; the smell of blood and death.
“Who is the monster now?”, a voice whispered in her ear. “Who is the monster now?”