Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
They say you are never alone. They say you are always watched. They say the darkest corners are inhabited by your worst fears. My parents were always drunk, abusive, and just terrible in general. Around the time of my 6th birthday, my father had been arrested for attempted manslaughter. Around the time of my 9th birthday, my mother had gone insane from all the drugs and alcohol she had consumed in her day to day life. I was forced to retreat into my own world following those events. I had no one. I was home schooled, meaning I got no real education because of my parents. I had no older siblings to help teach me. Only a 3 month old baby sister who had been fathered by a crack addict and mothered by one in the same. My father is still in jail to this day. He had murdered 3 guards while being taken to Administrative Segregation. He is now on trial and will most likely be facing life behind bars. After the news had came, that’s when they also came. The Monsters. The ones you only see out of the corner of your eye. In the darkest corners. I always felt cold when they were around. Lonely. Sometimes filled with anger and hate. They had control over me like no other.
Once I had reached the age of 13, everything had all but smoothed out with my family. The choice was made to move me into foster care after the car crash that involved not only my mother, but a family of 5 in a mini-van. I had lost my mother that day, and so did the other family. I had moved with my sister – who was now at the age of 4 – into a foster home with a nice old couple. James, who was 65, and Meredith, who was 70. They had a nice home in a nice area. But once you stepped inside, the atmosphere changed. You went from a warm and subtle state to one of depression and chilling cold. Everything was dark inside the home, from paint to furniture. No pets. Not even a television. Just basic essentials.
By the time we had settled in, the monsters were ever present. Every corner, every dim room, even outside during the night. They had never stopped. At this point I had accepted them and tried ignoring them. It worked, but only for a few weeks. I think they had realized that I was ignoring their presence. That’s when the first physical encounters started. The odd knocking over of books or lamps. Random knick-knacks going missing from shelves or cupboards. They almost always turned up within the day at first, then the week, then the month, and so on.
When I was 15, I finally got a television for my room. The only one in the house. So naturally my little sister would stay in my room all day watching cartoons with me. The physical encounters had gotten worse. They escalated to small injuries on not only me but my little sister as well. A minor scratch or cut here and a small bruise there. Nothing I couldn’t explain away to Mery who was always worried about injuries. I learned fast never to go to James for my injuries, no matter how bad. He always scoffed them off and made them look like nothing, heartless bastard. James had been cold to my sister and me for a few months now. After I tried to mention the monsters to him.
He simply laughed in my face and when I tried to finally convince him of the monsters, that’s when the injuries started to come in. He thought that I had been hurting myself just for his attention. He did the same with my sister. Mery was the only one who believed us when we said the monsters had caused them. The dumb broad bought us a nightlight and got brighter light bulbs for our rooms.
The lights only seemed to make the monsters more hostile. Larger cuts would appear on my back in the mornings and burns would cover the bottoms of my feet, disabling me until they healed. My sister’s injuries had stopped. It seemed they had all transferred to me once the monsters figured it out that she wasn’t scared of them like I was.
At the age of 16, Mery finally passed away. They said it was from old age. The days leading up to her death were just your normal everyday ordeal. She never once seemed sick and never even did something as simple as sneeze. From pure recollection she never even got sick in the few years we had known each other. There was one abnormality that had gone overlooked by everybody except me. At her funeral, I noticed a long burn on her neck. Out of the corner of my eye, one of the monsters in the corner. Another on the ceiling, dangling by its talons. James was torn apart by her death. He retreated into his room for days on end, only leaving to use the bathroom or get some food. Even that was rare. The mail piled up, and so did the bills. Two months went past and our power and water were finally cut.
Me nearing the age of 17 meant I could get a job. Consequently my sister would have to stay at home with a man she barely ever sees. I couldn’t possibly do that. Knowing what my parents had done to me at that age made it impossible to leave her. I was basically a father to her. I guarded her with my life and taught her all she knew. Even though it wasn’t much, it was still something. More than enough to make her a happy child. I kept her sheltered for most of her life, I restricted her viewing habits to only be family friendly shows. I would always be in the room if she wanted to watch something too old for her. It was the only time the monsters weren’t there.
I had started to see more and more of them. One in each corner, multiple huddled in a circle in a dim room, and groups of them running in circles around the house outside during the nights. Because of them, I lost sleep, started losing my sanity, and started to lose my connections with those around me. Aside from the cuts and burns I got from them, I started to self harm. Deep gashes on my arms and legs. I always had an open wound. They drove me into depression. For years I had never gotten a good look at them, soon that would all change.
One sleepless night. I was sat in my room. I had a table in the middle of my room full of candles I would stare at all night, burning the image of the flames into my head. Whenever I would try and look at the monsters, they would disappear. But this night, it was different. I worked up the courage to lift my head up and look to the corner closest to the door. The figure stood almost 6 feet tall. Long lengthy limbs with a small torso. In the light it looked to be a dark white in color. It had its arms crossed over its chest, making an “x”. Its talons rested in the crease of each arm. It had no feet, only sharp spikes at the ends of its legs. The face was one of nightmarish proportions. The jaw was hanging by threads, exposing teeth that looked to be sharp as knives. It had long stringy black hair that went behind its shoulders. Its eyes were pure black. As i stared into them, I felt the blood rush from my face and seep past my feet. The eyes were secreting a dark substance that looked like black ink. There were deep cuts all over its body. I immediately blacked out.
I awoke with a searing pain in my back and a near crippling headache. My vision was so blurry I didn’t even attempt to get out of bed. Every time I close my eyes I see it, the monster. The image is engraved into my mind. The wretched stench, ghastly appearance. I can feel the flames of hell tickling my legs. The chains that once held the monster, grappling my neck. When I want to pull them off I feel only my neck. When I want to extinguish my legs of the inferno, I feel only hair and skin. I hear a faint sound, screaming. The screams of the damned fill my head, tearing at my soul. That’s when it started. I saw smoke rising from beneath me. My mattress was turning into a flaming death bed. I felt the flames wrap themselves around my torso. Instead of heat, I felt cold. Instead of pain, I felt comfort. A wave of warmth engulfed me, a blanket of drowsiness laid itself over me.
When I awoke, all I could see was flames. All I could see was bodies. Burning. The screams and psychotic laughter of the damned resonated from the depths of hell itself. This was hell. I studied my surroundings. I was hanging from chains wrapped around my neck and wrists. Flames were burning my legs. My body was changing. My hair was becoming singed from the flames, my limbs grew to grotesque lengths, my feet turned to spikes, my vision turned to black and white. My fingers stretched and thinned. The power, oh the power. My veins turned black. An immense pain came from my torso, as it shrank. As I hung, writhing in pain, I saw a light. It was almost as small as the head of a needle, but I knew what I saw. A way out. I used all my strength and pulled the chains out of the rock. I thought I was going to fall but the spikes on my feet had driven into the stone, securing me. All I had to do was reach that light.
I immediately regretted that decision. One of the demonic guards had launched themselves onto me. It almost missed but it got a hold of my jaw, tearing it as it fell into the hellfire. I could see my jaw hanging out of the bottom of my sight-line. The fight for freedom had started. I began to lunge myself up the wall. Jagged pieces of stone lodged themselves into my body, I had no time to remove them. The top was in sight, so close. Another demon shoved their spear through my shoulder. I don’t know what was inside me but I took a hold of his weapon and flung him to his demise. The fire inside me was ignited, never to be extinguished. An unending army of the undead and minions to the devil met me once I reached the top. I slashed my way through them. An unrelenting force meeting an inferior nuisance. Nothing could stop me from escaping.
After the skirmish, almost a thousand of the devil’s servants lay dead. I, however, stood there with gashes covering me. Chunks of flesh missing from my body. Black ooze seeped from the wounds. I readjusted my gaze to meet my destination. The light. Nothing could stop me. Nothing could kill me. The thought of immortality sank in. The confidence went through my body.
As I neared the hole, the stone turned to soil. The heat turned to cold. I heard voices. Those of a young man and woman. I looked through the hole and saw a blue sky, slowly fading to a dark night. The voices faded with the light. It was still dusk when I decided to emerge. Immediately my skin started to burn. After I retreated into the hole, the realization hit me. I am that thing, the monster. That thing that had haunted me for years. If it had traded places with me, I can trade places with another. Once the moon shown through the night sky, I emerged from my hole.
Once my spikes pierced the soil, I looked at the moon. I never thought I would love the sight of an everyday occurrence so much. The sights and smells of a summer night filled me. Nevertheless, I had a mission. Get back a normal life. I was in a heavily wooded area, but directly ahead was a clearing with a cabin. I swiftly snaked my way through the trees and stood at the edge of the clearing, staring at my target.
Laughter came from the cabin as I came closer. Sounded like an entire family. Perfect. I peered through the window, observing what I was to become. A mother and a father sat in front of a crackling fire with their daughter. She looked to be around 10 years old. A chance to see my true potential.
With incredible strength, the wooden door exploded as I smashed my fist into it. The splinters of the door drove themselves into the walls. The family is completely frozen from terror and shock. The father got up to defend his family. As he approached I smiled, exposing my teeth. I shoved my fingers into his stomach. I lifted him up above me and pulled him close to meet my gaze. “Witness the suffering I have felt”. His face drained of all color as I slammed him into the wall. I crouched next to him and turned his head to see his cowering family. The wife tried to cover the screaming child. Pitiful. I picked her up by her brown hair and looked into her eyes. Absolutely terrified, she knows she is dying tonight. With a swift motion, I sliced open her mid-section. Leaving her intestines to spill out of her body. I then started pulling them out, making her hollow. Once her screams ceased and her body fell limp, I pulled her head off and threw it at the husband.
While approaching the husband, he could not look away from his wife’s head. I drove my finger through the back of her head and pinned his head against the wall. As I stood, they both fell to the floor. The room was a bloody mess, with one survivor. I examined the room and on the floor, in a broken frame lay a picture. It had the girl standing next to someone, I recognized the background. As I wiped the blood covering the figure, my black soul cried out in agony. I recognized who was in the picture. It was my sister, standing next to me.
My gaze went from the picture to the weeping girl in the corner. As I came closer, the more I recognized about her. The hair, skin tone, even the clothing choice. I extended one of my talons and caressed her chin and made her stare into my eyes. “Oh sweet sister, I always dreamt you would feel my pain.”
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