There are monsters all around us. Breathing our air, contaminating our lungs. Burning through our eyes, they soil the world with our remains after scorching through the gentle souls.
I had been in the woods when I was approached by a stranger. Twenty years old and far too independent, I was still a child. Fresh out of college, I had just been given a job testing the acid levels in soil around my community. I had been in the woods just north of the city when it happened. I thought he was just a hiker, he wore clean blue jeans and a dark jacket and he was young. Not as young as myself, but there was nothing out of the ordinary about him. So when he asked me for directions, I stood up with a smile and walked towards him forgetting what my mother had always told me. I grew up in Chicago's Northside, so I was not without the knowledge of the the cautions of dealing with strangers. All my life I had been taught to steer clear of strangers, but this man seemed like a good guy, like a jogger I would wave at on passing. He was large framed and Caucasian, dark blonde hair fell over his strong jawline and he had a kind smile.
"Do you know where this is?" he asked and pulled a map out, pointing to a hikers point along the trail. I moved towards the man, taking off my latex gloves as I looked over at his map.
"Yea, you're pretty much there." I said in a casual tone, the kind of tone you use with people you know. It was the wrong tone.
"It's just over the that hill." I said in the same soft tone and pointed up the trail. The man gazed down at me with his scruffy jaw ticking to the side. I peered up into his eyes with the smile still over my lips, but it soon faded when I saw what was under those eyes. A predator. Dark green eyes stared down at me with feral contortion. A wildness took over his features; a wildness that was not natural. I took a step away only to find a large hand closing around my wrist, crushing my slender bones with so much force that I cried out. The man plastered his other hand over my mouth as he dragged me away from the path. Away from hope.
And then he hurt me. He hurt me in ways that I cannot even describe, in ways that I would like to forget. But it is engraved upon my soul, his face always etched in my mind.
I have never been the same. My world is distorted and dark after looking into those monster eyes.