Did you know I used to be terrified of shadows? It's true. Even the thought of that blackness made my chest tighten and my breathing grow hard.
At night I used to huddle under my blankets, panic running through my veins like blood, and praying that the feeble light from the plastic stars taped to my ceiling would hold off the monsters.
Ah yes. That's right. There were monsters in my room. Not quite the ordinary, under the bed monsters. Mine were real. Mine were bigger. Mine were ancient.
It seemed I was the only one who could see them. Who could hear the words they spoke in their old, beautiful language that no human could ever hope to comprehend.
At night I was alone in a room full of long, long necks and raven beaks and lightning. I was alone and I was human.
I was sent to the mental hospital for a few years, you know. They told me I was crazy, they poured drugs down my throat and soon the world was so distant and faded I couldn't see anything at all.
They sent me home. They called me cured. I lay in my bed all alone in my room. All alone, lights off, staring into the darkness of nothing.
I think I cried. I think I couldn't handle life so far up, the rope of medicine wrapped around my throat and choking me. I think I took a knife to my veins to try to bleed out this poison.
I was afraid of the monsters. I am even more terrified of being alone. I stopped taking the drugs. I stopped going to therapy. I stopped going to work and talking to my friends and eating.
I hoped eventually I would stop breathing.
At 5 in the morning I sat on my bed. My hands wouldn't stop shaking. My body was eating me alive. I closed my eyes and exhaled.
I awoke to the sounds of ravens cawing. I awoke to the sounds of an old, beautiful language. My face was heavy with the beak of a raven. There was a child that looked like me on the bed.
The stars on the ceiling were glowing.