Answers born from questions and questions born from answers tumble awkwardly over one another like dark suited gymnasts. I pull up from the dark depths wondering. What is that light there, penetrating the serenity of this once womb-like space? Eerie and blue, it calls me out of slumber and points to a startling terror; I have not been alone here.
There is a movement not far off, something that can see me, just as I can now see it and the age old questions arise; can it hurt me? Should I hurt it first? Who will eat who?
Play seems out of the question. After all, who comes creeping silently into your room to kneel beside your bed while you slumber as an invitation to play? This is too close.
A friend knocks at the door, a friend calls to you, announces their presence from some distance before coming so near.
Or are there other ways to play? Ways that belong to creatures far beyond fear of safety and borders of individuality? Does one thought in my mind announce itself to another before it takes over?
It’s all for the furtherance of some game perhaps, but not a game for human animals, not a game that this one that I have perceived myself as being can win. Hostility or hospitality weigh in on either hand, who shall be the victor?
Fear is such an insistent mistress, always calling for my attention, always making bold claims, such as this announcement that this is a matter of life and death. Leap up and attack! Run! Or tell yourself that it isn’t real. It was only your imagination, there was nothing there, and drift back to sleep.
I close my eyes. If I can’t see it, then it can’t see me…so goes the ostrich logic. Leave the boogies to feast over my reposed form. What do they do while I hide behind closed lids? What do they want?
This is the thing that they told me didn’t exist. The thing that was not in my closet, not under the bed, not at my window. Sleep they told me, go to sleep. So I did. Now that I have grown taller and have sent my own children into the darkness with promises of false safety, only now, sleeping in their room, am I startled awake by this presence, this “should not be here” that disturbs the peace like a spider falling from the ceiling onto your cheek.
Now I know that it has always been here. It was always in the closet, under the bed, and at my window, then just as now. I sent the lambs to the slaughter just as my parents did before me, off to be the center piece at the boogie feast.
Slowly I realize that this time it has not come for me. Here it is peeking into the bed of my youngest daughter, and this thing that should not be has suddenly taken notice of me noticing it. How surprised we both are. I would not usually be here, on the floor sleeping, would not usually perceive that strange glow, hear the rustling, feel my pulse quicken and my eyes snap open. What seemed at first like my own unwelcome visitor did not expect so close an encounter with me, it has come creeping with other quarry in mind.
I am here, an adult in the nursery, positioned on the floor beside the bed to prove the security of our sanctuary and I witness for myself the breach. They are hard to see once fully awake. It is only with lids partially veiled that I can perceive their glow, the shadows of their slinking movement.
They are unconcerned by their discovery of me, more importantly, by my discovery of them. Even while they see me watching through slit eyes, they continue their advance.
Why should they worry? I don’t believe that they exist. Reason should prevent me from rising to stop them. I have always closed my eyes tighter and gone back to sleep in the past, a habit formed in child hood, why now would I do any other thing?
Sleep they told me, go to sleep. So I did. That has always been the way. Tell yourself that it isn’t real. It is only your imagination, there is nothing here.
What do they do while I hide behind closed lids? What do they want?
Answers born from questions and questions born from answers tumble awkwardly over one another like dark suited gymnasts. I descend into the dark depth blotting them from my mind. Forget that light there disturbing the womb of darkness and retreat into slumber and the comforting illusion of solitude.