This story is by Rhiannon Bird and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
There’s a monster deep inside me, of which has no name. It holds me in the darkness and gently whispers in my ear. I used to struggle and to fight it but it has pulled me too deep in. It has pulled and pushed until I could no longer deny it. I want to keep it locked away, far from other people. The thought it might escape scares me to the bone. The thought that scares me even more, is I’m not sure I would mind.
I have everything that others do, a Mother, a Father and a brother. What the other kids don’t have is a voice inside their head. I’m not a normal teenage girl because it speaks inside my head. It whispers all the time, it takes amusement from my conflictions. I now avoid all people because it likes to see their weaknesses. It sulks because of this, in the quiet depths of my mind. I worry when it talks to me, but I am terrified when it does not. I suddenly find out that I have a quiet empty mind. It feels so natural for it to be right there, I know that it shouldn’t, I know that I should wish it gone. Yet I can’t bring myself to think that way.
It doesn’t seem to like my little brother. But I love my little Mike, more than anything. He is fire in the darkness, the innocence that I lack. It hates him because of all that rightness he wears upon his shoulders. This ten-year-old knows what’s right and wrong, there is a definite distinction. I find for me the line gets blurred and pushed around.
One day I took Mike to the park. All the while it whispered nasty things to me that I tried to ignore. We walked around the park and he played on the swings. Two girls from school walked past and sniggered as they did.
“Julie, do you know them?” asked Mike curiously. I nodded slowly, for it was talking again. What it said made so much sense, but I couldn’t listen. Usually it would say the wrong thing. That’s what I’ve learnt from many trips to the principle.
“Hey Mikey, what should you do if someone bullies you?” I asked him. He would know, he would tell me the right thing to do.
“Stand up for yourself.” He said and flexed his arms for show. I laughed and tousled his hair.
“Wait here I’ll be back in a sec.” How unusual; it was right. I followed the girls around the bend until there was no one in sight. It was very eager deep inside my head.
“Oh, it’s the loner. Look we don’t want to associate with you and your weirdness.” She and her friend stuck up their noses. Anger built inside me that had been building up for years. Now was the time to finally let it out! I raise my hand and brought it down hard. The slap was loud, a beautiful sound in my ear and my hand tingled with the sting. I meant to turn and walk away. I really did. It seemed to grab a hold of me and suddenly I wasn’t in control. It pushed the two girls over and they scrambled to get away. It marvelled in their fear, drunk in the fear that radiated out of them. To see them cowering on the ground sent something enticing running up my spine. They both jumped up and started to run as far away as they could. It let out a laugh and so did I. A feeling of freedom settled onto my shoulders. Adrenaline rushed through me, a sense of euphoric power overcame me. The feeling of finally being in control flowed through me like a drug.
I jogged back to Mike who still sat on the swing. “Time to go home little buddy.” He grabbed my hand and happily told me about his teacher. His hand was so small in mine and I held it tightly. It was back to whispering again, pointing out how easily his hand could break from the pressure of my own. How good it would feel for bones to break upon my decision. The power that I would hold. I dropped Mikes’ hand and jumped back, breathing hard. How could I even think that.
“What’s wrong?” he asked but I just hurried us back home.
I lay awake in bed that night, I couldn’t fall asleep. It had taken over me today which I hadn’t really minded. What scared me now was if it could do that again? It hated Mike so much and I didn’t want anything to happen to him. Or at least I thought I didn’t. I wanted to tune out its voice in my head. But I hated the crushing silence, so I listened to what it said. I listened and at first what it said was absurd. Then what it said slowly started to make sense. Why was Mike so perfect? Why did my parents love him more? I’m their daughter too so what made him better than me? I thought parents loved unconditionally, I guess I was misinformed. Why didn’t they love me like they should? By the time the sun rose I hadn’t slept a wink and it danced around my head with glee.
I had always hated the world and it never liked me back. This place was never somewhere I belonged. That night I realized that I didn’t quite belong anywhere, not even in the family I had. Maybe there was a mistake or maybe there was a curse on me. Either way, it was just me, myself and it.
I spent the morning glowering at Mom, Dad and Mike. They all seemed so happy and upbeat, they didn’t even notice when I left the room. None of them asked me how I was, what I thought or even how I slept. I sat on my bed and stared up at the ceiling, alone inside my room. Lunchtime rolled around and there wasn’t even a whisper from any of them. It was the only thing that stayed with me. Dinner finally came and despite my grumbling stomach, I didn’t move an inch. No one came to get me or check on how I was; almost as if I hadn’t been there at all.
It talked to me a lot that night, I agreed with it a lot too. If my family didn’t care about me then why was I even here. I decided to leave this place behind, to try to find somewhere more suited for me. I packed everything I could fit in my bag and was ready by dawn. They were already awake and didn’t say a thing to me when I walked to the front door. I turned to look back at them and they didn’t even see me.
Something coiled inside me that I couldn’t quite decipher. It was cold and gripped me tightly. This something made want to just fall into pieces and leave everything behind. Then a white, hot, intense rage filled me replaced the blue feeling inside. It seeped out of every pour oozing to the floor. I pulled the door with a jarring slam and locked it for good measure. It whispered, excited, but it didn’t have to tell me what to do, that decision was already made. How dare they do that to me, their one and only daughter I flicked the lighter in my hand and flicked my fingers through the flame relishing the feeling of the heat upon my skin.
I walked around the back of the house to where we kept the firewood. There I added kindling and I set it all ablaze. It burned bright and hot and beautiful. The flames licked there way toward the house with harsh and steady breaths. I could hear the hysterics from inside the house as they saw the smoke, they screamed and ran outside, spilling onto the street. I just stood there and watched. It was so captivating. Fire started to consume everything without any thought or consequence. It didn’t have to worry about right and wrong. That fire seemed to ignite my bones and I truly felt alive. Everything in that moment was exactly how it should be. I felt power surge through my veins addictingly.
I turned and walked away from the blazing house. Where I was going I still had no idea but that feeling from the fire and with those school girls was exactly what I needed. I had finally found where I belonged, with power in my hands, with no rules or people to hold me back from what I truly was. It was time to face the cold, hard truth. That the monster is just me. It is me and I am it. That is how it’s meant to be. That I cannot change and I wouldn’t dare even if I could.