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I have a monster inside me.
I saw it first when I was ten, and I’ve never forgotten:
Sneak up to my brother’s cradle, push him off the bed, watch him fall in his sleep, an angel. Drag him to the middle of the room, leave him swaying, like a ghost.
He wakes up, cries, falls to the cold tile floor. Wails, pushes me away.
I smile, tell him it’s alright, hold him to my chest, whisper sweet nothings into his ear.
I imagine squeezing him till his flesh oozes out in an hourglass.
What happened, why is he crying?
Oh, it’s nothing. I think he’s sleepwalking. I was trying to put him back to sleep but…
He didn’t like me very much after that. I bribed him with chocolate so he’d walk with me and hold my hand and we could be normal again.
. . .
There’s a cruelty inside me, I saw it first when I was ten, and it never left.
It’s in my bones, it’s in my blood, it sings its siren songs into my veins.
It coos of where you’re vulnerable, where you hurt. It shows me how to take love and trust and faith and chisel them into knives. It guides my aim to where you’re weak and it strikes.
Cruelty, I find, knows no reason.
So I taunt where you waver, I scorn where you love.
In those rare moments I play nice, I mock you in my mind and I marvel at how dense you are.
I let you fall when you stumble and I tear you down when you go too high.
When you finally come apart, I scavenge at the remains.
I grieve for you, of course, when the high has left me with cold, cold memories. Watching myself say things I’ve never thought, hurt like I never have before.
But those flickers of regret are never enough to blaze out the past.
. . .
I have a darkness within me, and like the shadows streaming from the light, it has tied itself to my soul. We are entwined together, this monster of mine, we are soulmates, in the purest sense of the word.
Don’t be fooled: some days, I might fake normal.
Scrub myself until I’m clean, scrape off my skin, drain my blood. I smile and charm and bluff, pretending my monster doesn’t exist. I say sweet things I don’t mean and let you play with your knives, shame, degrade.
A repentance, I tell myself, but we both know that isn’t true.
Inside, I hope your knives will go deep enough, cut off this chord that keeps me bound. I hope my monster will seep out of me with the salt that leaks from my eyes.
But my monster lies deep within, in the marrow of my bones. Mocking me, in the sound of my heart. Because it knows, like it has always known.
The monster is a second skin, rubbery and vile and mine.
This monster within me, this hatred, this cruelty, this darkness: it knows, and it has always known.
Cut this chord, and I am as lifeless as a puppet without strings.
Cut this chord, and I lose, I am lost.
The monster trails its tongue across my lip and smiles.
. . .