The Monsters Within

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Chapter 5

It didn’t take long for the realization that I was completely and utterly alone to sink in.

I didn’t mind, though. Contrary to what most people would’ve thought, a person could exist perfectly fine in isolation, especially when they’d become used to treading lightly over the landmines of their war-torn world. For someone like me—who’d lived and breathed in that sort of environment for nearly eleven years of my life—the worst I’d felt was an eerie sense of calm.

A calm, I would’ve normally thought, before the storm.

Only there’d been no lightning, no thunder, no rain, no chaos seed planted within my brain. There was simply silence—which, in hindsight, was possibly the most terrifying thing of all.

As I sat there, in that hotel room, on the last day before I was meant to move into my dorm, living and breathing and dreaming of all the things that were supposed to come, I’d taken a moment to consider everything that could happen—and, as a result, dreamed about what the future might hold.

A fine career.

A loving home.

A man who’d—

I’d blinked, stunned.

I’m still not exactly sure why my thoughts were interrupted. Maybe it was because it was strange to be able to think so freely, or even daydream without persecution. For in a house that was not a home, in a world that was not my own, dreams were meant to be broken—shattered like an hourglass counting down the moments to my future. For that reason, the tickle of anxiety that had pulled at my chest seemed erroneous, especially considering that no one, and no thing, could hurt me.

“They’re gone,” I whispered. “You’re gone.”

Alone but afraid of what the future could hold.

Still—a person, I realized, could dream; and for that reason, I thought anew.

A fine career.

A loving home.

A life to cherish.

And a man, I realized, to love.

Together forever through the test of time.

I’d smiled as I considered this mystery of life, this undeniable aspect that could eventually be my reality, and found a warmth spreading throughout me.

Was that, I wonder, what it was like to be free?

At that moment, I realized that only time would tell.

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