Dark and desperate.My chest heaves with lonesome anticipation. I know what awaits for me there, I’ve been there before.

Yet, I go there still.

Perhaps it’s the way the torment seems so like routine, how I know the imprint of my loneliness like a fingerprint I’ve studied all my life. I can take an odd comfort from the way it feels like a second skin, a thick film atop my own.

I know it better than I know myself, and it knows me.

How could it not know its victim? I’ve been a victim to it for so long now.

An eternity cleverly masked by a mortal lifetime.

Yet it still aches.

I still clutch at my chest and tell myself I’ve grown too old for tears. Grown too old to feel so small and helpless under this weight of dark loneliness that devours me like the monsters that used to live beneath my bed so often threatened to do.

Can they not see there is no age that pulls you across the line and into safety? There is no knowledge that saves you, no logic that explains it all so well you can no longer be pulled into its clutched, it’s talons ripping at flesh already raw.

I battle against it, as I battle against myself.

Freedom seems like such a clever joke. A fairytale concocted to make me believe there can be a release from all of this, greener pastures.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t dreamt of them, hadn’t hoped for them as I hummed loudly over the growling of the beasts too close to drown out.

I’m surrounded, always surrounded.

Aren’t we all? I wonder.

How then, can they seem so much calmer than I, as I stand surrounded.

Do I look that calm to them?

Is there a masked smile painted on my face, a nonchalant look of boredom with it all.

How can I know?

The creaking steps come closer still. Like the daunting steps of something malevolent coming to grab hold of me.

Routine, I remind myself as my heart leaps into my chest, as a tightness grows in my throat that I can’t quite swallow.

This is routine.

I repeat the words as I am devoured. Wrapped up in silky black fabrics covered in the sharpest thorns that pierce so deeply into my skin they hold my very should captive in my body’s torture.

Wonderfully awful, and familiar.

I let the loneliness take me as it did the night before, as it will the night after.

As it will always.


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