The Catalysts of a Monster
I grip tighter onto the handle, my hand pops in the center bones from the pressure. TRIGGER came to me in a fever dream a few months ago. A few months ago where I could barely step into my front yard without feeling like the sky was going to collapse onto me. Shadows were vibrating shapes of smoking burnt orange and deep red and some of them poked out from behind their people to stare at me. They kept staring. I had to hide from it. I am not entirely sure how it all started, but it was building up and up and up on top of things all at once. I never suffered from night terrors before when it came to my anxiety, that is, until parents weekend this past semester at school.
I don’t know why, after three years before that, that this particular parents weekend got to me. Maybe it’s because I was recently contacted by my estranged father and then from my rather flighty mother who wanted to pull me into their wars again. I don’t know, like I just said, I really don’t know. It’s complicated, everything is so complicated when it doesn’t need to be because all I have to do is not do anything and they’ll sort themselves out. The shadows grew darker and TRIGGER started frequenting my days and nights and wormed its way under my skin.
You’d think my biological parents would know by now that they shouldn’t get me involved in their affairs, but they haven’t. Whatever you think about children of divorce, think of things internalized so hard with so much pressure that it compresses the coals into blood diamonds that even the most bloodthirsty hunter wouldn’t touch.
“Guys all this yelling isn’t helping.”
“WOW, THANKS FOR THE INPUT. GEE WILLIKERS I THINK I’M OVER BEING TOLD I’M A SHITTY DRIVER.”
“KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD, SHITTY DRIVER.”
I woke up in a cold sweat that night, after all my friends went out with their families and usually I could handle being around families but I couldn’t stand the smiles or the faces or anything. I found a way to mentally poke my anxiety with a cattle prod and it’ll screech and back off for a moment. But, it always comes back stronger. This time it’s like the cattle prod made it angrier. The shadows were stretching towards me as I made my way home. I found myself moving faster and faster and faster still, heart racing faster for the reason then just running. The monsters were breathing down my neck, TRIGGER’s voice whispering in my head. I could feel the shapes and the anxiety nipping at my heels, even as I slammed the front door behind me and ran upstairs to seclude myself in the safety of my four walls.
I avoided the phone, I avoided the phone because it keeps going off with alternating texts from my parents and uncle Lukas is knocking at the door asking what’s wrong but I just tell him I’m tired. I was so tired, bones deep tired. I sank into the place between sleep and consciousness that night, tossing and turning, so tired but eyes burning from being so impossibly awake. Something was stirring in my chest and I couldn’t breathe my lungs were constricted like there was something inside of me and I couldn’t cough it up or drink it down.
“Remind me to not let him drive home.”
“I can literally hear you right now, you are right behind me.”
“Jesus, Mabel, you can be such a bitch.”
Then sleep took hold of me. It held me close and didn’t want to give me up.
I was in a cold sweat, and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t move but I knew I needed to run because I was just jerked out of sleep because this creature of shadows and floating eyeballs was coming for me and I needed to run run run. Before this moment, I could only make out the outline of TRIGGER, of the monster hunting me down and feeding on my anxieties and fearsa nd energy. I never say its face until now, when everything that I bottled up was shaking with such a force that it needed to explode out, a release, a need to be free.
This monster was terrifying and not real but so real and I couldn’t move. I was bucking and I couldn’t move. Terror had me in a vice and I gurgled out a strangled cry as I’d look in my dark room and the monster I’d never seen before was there. It was there and it was hungry. It was hungry and feeding off of my energy. I could feel myself slipping away with each jerking movement but I couldn’t do anything but shake and sweat and choke on my own words.
Uncle Lukas, bless his goddamn soul, was there in an instant, grabbing me, bewildered, holding me as I regained control of my own body. The monster released me, and I was snapped back into myself. I sat there and instead of words all that came out of my uncle’s mouth was static as he asked me what happened. I was breathless, and terrified. I didn’t want to tell him, I just sat there and cried. I cried and felt like it tried to suck out my soul. I couldn’t speak. I didn’t want to speak the horrors in case they would come back to life. I hugged my knees to my chest, and he got up as I still shook and he got a pen and a notebook from my desk and gave them to me, telling me to let it out.
And I did.
I bled out onto that paper all through the night and got no sleep and wrote the monster and then the story of how it almost stole my soul. I stuck my finger down the throat of my poisoned mind and out onto the paper it went. Blood-letting, only with your mind. I felt the shadows stop vibrating in my lamp light. Uncle Lukas fell back asleep, and I hid the notebook in my backpack. The words on paper was the physical rendition of the monster, it was not a part of me but it’s there but it’s not in me. Connected but with less power. I didn’t want that feeling back, not inside me, ever again.
I don’t want it back still, ever again. And, yet, here I am. I wrote this damn thing and I’m now famous but all I can think of is: “it’s everywhere.” Which, it really is. Once it was on the internet I assumed it would’ve just sort of gotten lost in the code, it would be the worlds problem to deal with and not mine anymore. Now I gotta stare at it all the time, and fight so hard to not internalize it, because I felt like I would die if I did. The world would still turn but I’d be dead, if this thing came into contact with my spiritual and anxious soul again, that would be it.