The Real Monsters
I have always been afraid of monsters. Darkness petrified me for the fear of the things that it hid. As a child, I fervently prayed to god every night before I went to sleep that there be nothing under my bed. I checked and rechecked my closet so I wouldn’t encounter a ghost. I spent my life being afraid of things that only my imagination could concoct.
The fear didn’t get better as I grew up. I avoided anything that had the slightest chance of giving me a nightmare. I remember the time I watched a horror movie and I was awake for two weeks, thinking that the ghost from the movie stood outside my window, looking at me. At times, I was so afraid that I couldn’t separate my imagination from tangible reality. My friends and family mocked me, for they could not see the things that I did. The pale faced ghost that stared deep into my soul, the claws of the freakish monster that scraped on my door at night, the bloody, mutilated little girl who whispered songs of death from the darkest corners, the puppet that could walk by itself, hovering over my bed. Everywhere I looked, I could see the demons haunting me.
I saw people leaving behind their monsters in their closets as they moved on with life. Their demons resided in the dark corners which were blinded by the disbelief of adulthood. For a while, I stopped seeing them too, I became normal as I started shedding my fears. My fears were grounded in a conditioning offered to me over the years and I started seeing things as they truly were, empty, dark spaces. Until the day I found out who the real monsters were.
All my life had culminated to that moment when I discovered the truth of the real monster. Every dark corner I had imagined a ghost in, every unlit room I had heard weird noises from, every fear I had swallowed throughout the years, came rushing back to me in one huge ball of panic. It was tangible, and it was real, it was the work of a true monster. It was the day I came home to discover the corpses of my two year old and my beautiful wife, mutilated beyond recognition. I stood paralyzed as years of forgotten fears washed over me in waves. I stood there, unable to process what was happening as I looked at the bodies of my wife and child.
Those futile years of fear were meaningless now, because the only monster that ever existed was man itself. How could someone murder an innocent child? The police said it was a robbery gone wrong. I didn’t understand, I couldn’t understand. How could a person do this to another person? Monsters don’t have pale faces or long claws. Monsters look just like me, this guy in the mirror. They look normal and sound normal, and you can’t tell them apart from each other. They have smiles plastered over their faces and their voices reassure you into a numb thoughtlessness. They behave as you and I, but they do deeds that you couldn’t imagine, that you wouldn’t want to imagine.
“The monsters that killed you were never caught. But don’t you worry, because Papa is here to rock you to sleep and protect you from them.” They have locked me away in an asylum, and here, I am safe from them. Safe from the smiling, normal looking, sweet talking monsters. I am safe with my pale faced ghosts, long nailed demons and my mutilated two year old.