“Daddy? There are monsters under my bed.”
My shaking finger points towards the black shapes in the shadows, my other hand clutched tight to my father’s arm. My dark-brown eyes are wide with fear.
He smiles at me gently and then walks to the crime scene, pulling me along.
Ignoring my silent protest, he crouches near the bed, putting his hand around my shoulder as he shines a light into the darkness.
“See, sweetheart? No monsters. It’s all in your head.”
He taps the flashlight on the side of my head gently as he gets up, chuckling. I nod, my eyes still wide.
“Good night, sweetheart.”
I shuffle onto the mattress, pulling my blanket over me and smile tentatively as he sits down beside me, comforting me with his presence as he sings me to sleep.
I closed my eyes, trusting him to keep me safe.
Now, daddy, you’re not here. And the monsters are back.
Sometimes, I think they never really went away. Only slunk into the darkness, ready to pounce while my eyes were closed.
The monsters under my bed were powerless.
Easy to destroy.
Easy to hate.
They kept to the shadows and fed on my fear. With you beside me, they had nothing to feed on.
The monsters in my head: they are you, they are me, they are the people I loved and trusted the most.
I couldn’t hate them any more than I hate you and that’s what they prey on.
The pound in my head, demanding to be let out; to let their darkness cruise through my veins and find its expression in my life.
I’m merely a puppet waiting for their signal, and they hold all the strings.
But without them, I fear I’ll become as lifeless as the ragdoll slumped against the wooden backdrop.
I am weak.
I let them in and they feed on my shame.
I let them, because I am too weak to tell them to leave. I am too weak to fight back.
At least that’s what I’ve convinced myself of. But the truth isn’t as forgiving.
In truth, I crave the pain, the agony of their fiery tongues landing like whiplashes on my broken mind.
In truth, I don’t want to be saved this time. I don’t want them to leave.
They are a part of me and they can no more be chased away than I can be wrenched apart from myself.
And in the oddest way, their voices are the only ones I will ever trust.
I’m tired. Oh, so tired.
Of this façade of control, of the futile resistance I try to put up, of every act of defiance.
I want to give in, I crave the rush of surrender.
I can’t seem to think, I don’t want to think.
Maybe I’ll just close my eyes. Just for a second.
The rag doll lives the easy life, doesn’t it?