Everyone has monsters that plague them. Some even call them demons. At times, these monsters take on theorectical forms. Other times, physical forms. Sometimes, both. Usually, they’re manifestations of fear, doubt, hate, etc. And, at times, it can be difficult to escape them. It can be even more difficult to conquer them. Whether they plague us for a few days, a couple months, or even all our lives.
I’ve had a monster haunt me since I was fairly young. It had a physical form. I’ve written about it a few times. Its haunches peaked at around ten feet, back sloping to a mechanical tail ending in a sharp spike. The body covered in a gross mixture of robotics, bones, decaying flesh and muscles. Green-tinted blood and black oil oozed from it. Chunks of flesh filled with maggots constantly fell from it. The mechanical spine always ground and moved with black smoke pouring out. Serrated talons ended large, metal paws. The skull of this monster has been hard for me to describe. Other than it being a strange mutation of a feline, canine, and dragon skull. And, of course, it had glowing red eyes. Sound familiar to anyone?
The first vivid memory I have of it was when I was little. Though, I cannot recall if this was an actual memory or a potent nightmare. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep. So I did what any young child does. I went to my parents’ room. But the door was locked. Somehow, I ended up on the floor, trying to get their attention. Then I looked down the hall. All I saw was the monster coming for me. The last thing I remember is me crying while being utterly petrified.
I speak of the beast in past tense because I like to think my dealings with it are over. There was a time when I worked until midnight at my job. I would come home half asleep. Since my first encounter with the monster, it had occassionally plagued my dreams. Liking to rear its head when I was particularly anxious. But when I came home from work one night, I felt like I was being followed up the stairs. I saw it there, waiting for me. Making sounds akin to a demonized velociraptor. It was after midnight, and I was exhausted. I rolled my eyes at it. Turned my back on it, demanding it go away. That night, I had a dream I defeated it. And the monster I was so afraid of dissolved away, revealing a baby dragon. Funny how brains work that way.
For a long time, I never had a problem with it. Never even thought about it. Not until after I married two years ago. I knew it would be a life-changing experience, but I didn’t quite expect everything that went into getting married, moving out of my parents’ house, and basically starting a new life. Guess what came back. Yep. My childhood monster had returned. It actually dominated my daydreams for awhile. Then it became a nightmare again.
One thing had changed, however. It didn’t chase me this time. It went after my husband. That was the final straw for me. And not only did I kill it, again, so did my husband. We tag-teamed that sucker and defeated it action movie style. You know. Like bosses.
I cannot say it’s gone for good. I still think about it. I’ve included it in a couple of stories. However, I haven’t had nightmares about it. And when I start to see it again, I challenge it, dare it. Go ahead; try to take down a duo of awesome. I’m much more confident in my head than in real life. But one thing I’ve found is having someone to talk about monsters/demons with really helps. Just having a reminder that you’re not alone.
My monster was definitely a physical manifestation of my severe anxiety. That was something I had to learn. At first, I didn’t know where it came from or why it bothered me. Once I pinpointed its reason, I was able to deal with it better. I had discovered its purpose. I knew why it was there. I could react accordingly.
The thing I take most from my experience is that I could, indeed, control it. I told it to go away, and it did. Every time it tries to resurface, I make it disappear. It’s not always easy. Monsters have the ability to fight back. Until you regain control over your own mind. It doesn’t matter if your monster stems from anxiety, fear, low self-worth, whatever it extends from. What matters is identifying the root, the soul of said monster. Working on the real issue. Not until you are able to control your mind are you able to make them go away.
A monster’s sole purpose is to distract. Keep your mind off the real issue. Your monsters, your demons don’t want you to get better. They want you to wallow in suffering. That’s how they thrive. But when we take back our own life, that’s when they die. For however long depends on how long we keep fighting. Don’t get me wrong. We’re not perfect. We fall. We stumble. We get tired. And that’s when they love to strike harder than the last time. What matters, though, is if we pick ourselves back up. If we unsheath our swords. If we unleash our power. What matters is staring your beast in the face, yelling at it to come get some, and attacking it before it can attack you.
I’ve never had a problem sleeping at nights. Not until recently. For the past week, I swear I’ve heard this scratching sound. But I passed it off as raccoons or such. Too bad I didn’t have a pellet gun.
One particular night was my same routine. Got home from work. Ate dinner. Watched TV. Went to bed. I yawned as I checked my phone. Close to midnight. That was late for me. I paused. Remember when I used to pull all-nighters just to play a video game? That was the price of adulthood, I supposed.
I entered my bedroom and turned off the light. My legs prickled for some reason, and I all but jumped into my bed. Knocking a pillow off the other side. I sighed. Rolled onto my stomach and slid my arm between the mattress and the wall. Something scaly grabbed my arm and pulled. Yelping, I yanked my arm free. Sat in the middle of my bed. What the–? The pillow could stay down there for tonight.
The covers were more inviting anyway. I crawled under them, leaving my shoulders and head exposed as always. The feeling of my arm being touched finally went away. I drifted to sleep. Something tapped my shoulder twice. My eyes flew open. Two more taps. I rolled over. Nothing was there. Except for my fallen pillow. My heart raced. No, there was nothing or nobody there. My pillow must’ve never fallen. That was possible. And I had rubbed my arm against the wall. No big deal. I situated myself again.
After some time, I grew hot. Having the covers off proved too cold, so I resorted to only having one leg out of the covers. Satisfied, I fell asleep. Dreamed of wading through a pleasant beach. Though my dream was sadly interrupted. Stretching, I rolled over. Closed my eyes. Snapped them open again. Was something…licking my foot? Crying out, I kicked hard. Sat up. There was nothing at the end of my bed. I touched my sock-less foot. It was covered in sticky slobber. I didn’t own a dog. Or any pet for that matter. I couldn’t reason this incident in my head.
I was too scared to get out of bed and turn on the lights. Was this some sort of prank? By who? I lived alone. I had no friends. My breathing quickened. No. No, this had to be my imagination. It was too many hours after my bedtime. I had been sleeping lightly. My brain was tired. That was all. After a peptalk, I curled back under the covers. Closed my eyes. But sleep never came. Even though nothing else happened. I sighed. This was old already.
Seeing how I was awake, I opened my eyes. Froze. Two white, glowing orbs peered at me from a corner of darkness. A pair of eyes? My gaze remained transfixed. Until the orbs moved and crept closer. I squeezed my eyes shut. Remained huddled beneath the blankets. A presence hovered at the edge of my bed. I prayed it would be day soon.
I have hardly slept since.