Oh, the things which chase me. Hound me. Gnash their teeth. 

Throw roses at them in gratitude, Neitzsche said.

All well and good if you are stood at the rim of the abyss staring down. But if you’re down there with them you aren’t much more than dinner with a posh salad.

Once upon a time my monsters, traumas if you will, were easy to understand. They were made of blood and screams, bruises and charred flesh, soft admissions and tears. You can compartmentalise these things easily enough because they are starkly recognisable as arising from the abnormal. By definition you are stood outside of the abyss, the dark definition of the rim visible against the world proper. Being a police officer, the distinction between the place monsters reside and the fields from where the roses could be picked, fed to them to keep them at bay, was as defined as could be.

Monsters run free.

Life without such definition, without such a clear divide, leaves you in the shadowy abyss itself. Because there is no separation. The two things interact daily. No boundaries. Monsters run free.

I’m coming to terms with the stark fact that, at any given time, one of these monsters can run into me. They aren’t interested in appeasement, they don’t listen to pleas, and they don’t care about flowers. Being outside a defined abyss, they have the same access to roses as everyone else. They have never been interested in flowers, they just can’t traverse the more finite barriers, only wait for you to slip and fall. Or throw yourself in.

You never really know yourself, your weaknesses and residual strengths until you reach this strange destination as I have. Things you always felt were under control are only too ready to destroy you at will, whereas your greatest weakness can prove to be a singular saving grace.

while the splintered glass of past experience showered me, I fell into an echo

I was caught unawares earlier by nothing more complicated than a one sentence memory, and the savage bites left me unable to speak. Staring emptily at a cupboard full of coffee cups while the splintered glass of past experience showered me, I fell into an echo. Falling to pieces as I did so. Crumbling.

It took hours to get over this ambush. A long time before the cold chill lifted its mist from my heart and the plummeting stone of hope began to ascend the well once more.

But monsters run free now, wild, and not all of them bite. Some of them whisper. Chide. Cajole. Sooth. And it’s often as you are recovering from the savage maulings these quieter beasts stalk you. Scenting weakness and taking sweet time as they set about their meal. Like any good predator.

Oh, the things which chase me. Hound me. Gnash their teeth.

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