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When I was little, I was never afraid of people. I was very social and talkative; I knew no strangers. Once, when I was four or so, I was told I could go to church with my older siblings. I became too impatient and slipped out of sight, deciding I was going to walk there.
I don’t know how far I really got, but I remember the woman and her daughter. They pulled up beside me in their car, and the woman got out. She opened the rear door and urged me inside. I got in without putting up any kind of fuss. Thinking back on that, I realize how lucky I was.
The woman and daughter could have stolen me, murdered me, or even sold me into sex-trafficking if they had wanted- But they didn’t. They took me home, where I received the biggest ass-kicking of my early childhood.
I became confused. I was always told that I should ‘Trust adults, go to an adult when you’re in trouble or need help’. Then, I was being told that ‘You should never go to strangers they could do awful things to you’. I didn’t know what I was actually supposed to do.
Several times in my childhood I fell into the hands of many potential psychopaths and yet I always made it out okay, somehow. I began to believe what I was told so often- that I had a guardian angel watching out for me.
Behind our house, there was a pretty large patch of woods that spanned most of the neighborhood. I would venture a little ways into them and speak to my angel where no one could hear us. Despite my many questions, there was never a response.
Over time, my angel began to materialize. In the special spot I would always talk to it, I would catch glimpses of a shadow moving. Then the shadow came closer and let me see it for longer periods of time. Eventually, it became permanent. It wouldn’t disappear or hide from me, and it began following me. Everywhere I went, it was there, watching. Silent.
We moved to another state, in a rural area. My angel came with us. I was bullied in my new school for being a ‘weird outsider’. No matter how much I retaliated or spoke up for myself, the bullying didn’t stop. I hated going to school, I started to hate and fear people. What else would they come up with to hurt me?
Outside of school, I was reckless. I had full faith that my angel would protect me from harm. I played in traffic. I climbed to roofs of abandoned buildings in the area and made the leap of faith down. I would jump into deep water, knowing I couldn’t -and still can’t- swim. I was always okay.
I’ve only had two sets of broken bones in my entire life. The first was all the fingers on my right hand when I was very small. Those occurred when a priest slammed my fingers in the door of the church we had gone to. The second was when I was seven or so, a break in my left arm two inches below the shoulder.
I sustained this injury from a dirt-biking accident. I had crashed and the bike flipped over and landed on top of me. My mother said I got up and went off to play. That I didn’t cry or scream or even say anything about it. It was three days before it was discovered that my arm was broken.
I was told I was lucky I didn’t have severe burns, more broken bones, and that the break I did have wasn’t that bad. I just knew that my angel had kept me safe from more serious injury. I didn’t slow down any reckless behaviors, instead it seemed to reinforce it.
My angel began to touch me. It would take hold of my hands and arms and move them as if I were just a puppet and it was the puppeteer. I didn’t like the feeling at first. It was scary to not have control of myself. Once I got used to it, I felt strong. Like I could do anything as long as my angel was there to guide me.
I really could do things I thought I couldn’t, then. One of my major bullies at school was harassing me again. I’d had enough, I wanted nothing more than for him to stop, forever. My angel took hold of my hands and gently guided me forward. Before I really knew what was going on, my bully was sprawled on the ground with me on top of him. He was fighting desperately for me to get off and stop, scratching at my hands around his throat.
My angel's hands were pressed so firmly over mine, adding more and more pressure behind my hands. His friends and the very, very few friends I had were trying their hardest to pull me off. By the time they were able to, my bully was alive but no longer awake. He was such an odd color I didn’t know what to make of it. My angel seemed so displeased.
I was suspended, but that was fine. I didn’t get bullied so much after that. But soon, people just avoided me altogether. I had no friends but my angel. It was always there for me, listening, paying attention to me. I didn’t need anyone else. People were useless.
Much later, when my sister was barely old enough to live on her own, she met a man. He was on parole and drank too much. He used to make me go places with him. He was the first person to do truly horrid things to me. My angel just watched in utter silence.
I couldn’t trust it, I didn’t feel so safe anymore. Every time that man came into my room or made me go with him, my angel betrayed me. I was never safe. I feared strange men. I wouldn’t cross the road without looking both ways. I didn’t dare touch a ladder. The world scared me.
My life became a string of people hurting me. It seemed I would never escape the hell that I had stumbled into. People were nothing more than monsters, hiding behind the façades of real humans. I began to see past the masks of innocence. I could see their true faces- terrifying and ugly. Disfigured and maimed.
My angel was always there with me, watching me. Seemingly mocking me with it’s continued silence. I was certain that my angel had brought this upon me. I was always paranoid, watching it back and trying to figure out what it was thinking. What it was plotting next.
I couldn’t stand it. I wanted out. I swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. I was so ready to welcome death, to move on to the next world where humans still resembled humans and monsters were but a whisper of a nightmare long past.
I could feel it. The long fingers down my throat forcing me to wake up. I was gagging on its fingers, which felt like they were touching the very lining of stomach to force me to throw up. I was choking the pills back up for what seemed like hours.
Multiple times I tried to escape from the constant mockery of it. More pills, razorblades, hanging, poison…It wouldn’t let me go. So many times I was so close I could feel it, only to be pulled back. How many times I endured self-inflicted injuries, and for what? I gave up. I couldn’t beat the angel no matter how hard I tried.
Once I accepted that I would never escape, it spoke to me for the first time. Two simple, ordinary words, that were the most beautiful words I’d ever heard. Follow me. Out into the dark of night I followed it, holding its hand, contented beyond what I had ever deemed possible. I followed it for quite a distance, no longer afraid of the monster-people lurking in alleys and stalking the streets. At that moment, everything was beautiful to me.
My angel led me into a final alleyway, where I didn’t know I would realize my destiny. Everything leading up to this point, my entire life, had been for this. For the monster waiting there so patiently for me. Waiting…watching…ready.
My angel betrayed me one final time, leaving my side as the human-monster dragged me into the dark with him. I couldn’t scream for help, nor did I want to. My entire body shivered with anticipation of what was to come.
What a beautiful knife he had, so sharp it cut through flesh like it was nothing but butter. So spotless I had wondered whether it had ever been used before. I’d never before heard a cry that sounded orchestrated by heaven, and I cannot even describe it to you now…my ears still ache for that most beautiful sound that came from such an ugly beast.
The terror in his eyes…oh how he must have been so terrified to become the victim. To have his own weapon turned against him. To have felt his life slowly draining away while experiencing such agonizing pain…To see him become human again was so gratifying to me.
It was then I knew. The only way to be rid of the monsters was to make them human again. I could make them human again, all of them. Make them cry the songs of the heavens and become whole again. This is what I was born for. This was why my angel forced me to live. As I took my angel's hand and followed it back into the darkness, back to where monsters reside, I knew.
I have to free the humans inside of them.
Written by Chronobunny