The Monsters Within

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Chapter 3

Checking into the hotel was simple enough, as was gaining access to and then setting up the WI-FI. Showering was a blessing, and the food, once it arrived from the delivery service, was filling. I sat cross-legged with a blanket wrapped around my dew-covered shoulders as I scrolled through my social media on my smartphone, only to find a longing for something familiar in my life.

For so long I had become accustomed to violence. Now that I was no longer entrenched in it, it seemed wrong, almost. Like I was missing something.

The danger quotient was no longer there, the need to remain composed all but gone. The tension—however—had not left my shoulder blades; and like an ache that could not be shaken, it remained. I wouldn’t realize until much later that it wouldn’t leave for quite some time, if ever.

Still—sitting there, on that bed, half-naked, full and content, I was at far more peace than I had ever experienced before.

You’re safe, I’d thought, and hundreds of miles away from your parents.

They can’t bother you. Trap you. Control you.

“Not anymore,” I whispered.

I allowed myself to bathe in this knowledge for quite some time before finally spreading out along the mattress and closing my eyes.

I didn’t bother to turn the bedside lamp off the whole night.

No.

I’d left it on to chase my thoughts away.

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