I massaged my arm, thinking about what he told me. These monsters that plagued me were figments of my imagination. Yet, the pain felt so real. To add to it, they didn't believe me, not even him. He walked out and I was alone with these pains. Both in my arm and in my heart. I thought these creatures had left me long ago, but now I know they never will.
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"Alice...Alice..." a voice droned. It was playful but sinister. "Oh, Alice, don't cry now...we have only just begun..."
"Last I recall, you weren't a 'we'," Alice murmured in reply. "Why now? You had so much going for you in my nightmares, but now you come back?"
"Oh, Alice, your fear is so much more in this world than in your head," the voice replied. "Much like the dreams you have are nothing compared to the happiness you had when you were awake."
Alice noticed the 'had' in that sentence and felt a small pain. That happiness was in the past now. The monster always knew where to hit her. It knew the right weak spot, even if she didn’t know it. After all, the monster was herself.
Alice looked towards the darkest corner of the bare room. A woman wearing her clothes, wearing her face, stepped from the shadows. Alice stared at the smiling woman, seeing so much pain in her face. The monster felt her sadness, but the smile showed how much it enjoyed the pain.
"What is wrong with you?" Alice asked. "Can't you leave well-enough alone? You keep picking at the simplest things and turn them into something...dangerous."
"That is how I work, Alice," the woman replied. "Now, if you don't mind, I came here to see you cry, so cry."
"Cry? Why should I cry?"
The monster cocked her head to the side and stared at Alice with narrow eyes. It understood what Alice was trying to do. To get the monster to fight itself, remove a problem with a problem. Alice was smarter now, stronger. Despite the monster doing so much damage in a short amount of time.
Alice saw that in the monster and sighed.
"My return...you knew it was going to happen," the monster continued. "How could you not? What do you plan to do now I am here? I haven't seen what you have been doing, but it doesn't seem to be enough. He left you, your friends left you. Even your brother and sister won't call you back. In only a few days you became their biggest problem and now they are gone."
The door opened and he stepped through.
"Alice? I'm sorry," Frank murmured.
"I'm sorry," I told him soon after, running over and embracing him. "I don't know what is wrong with me...I'm starting to think this is the way I am."
"No, no it isn't. You're...well, you're a strange one, but I understand. We all have these moments."
"I don't know if I am right in the head...it's like I am sabotaging myself."
"You sorta are, but the fact you realize that shows you aren't crazy. I'm here, okay?"
I hugged Frank tighter and looked over his shoulder. The monster stood there in the corner again, slipping back into the corner. It felt warmer in the room already, but it stopped, its dark eyes shining in the dark. It was still watching me, still so present in my heart. Yet, the good didn't end.
"Can we come in?"
I looked over towards the door and saw Reggie and Lyra. My brother and sister smiled their twin smiles and burst through the doorway. My siblings pulled me from Frank’s arms and into their tight grip. It was suffocating but in the best way. Even Lyra's itchy sweater didn't feel so bad against my skin.
"I thought you might need some weirdness and these two are chocked full of it," Frank told me. "I found these two arguing with each other outside their school and kidnapped them. Your father thought it weird, but only for a second."
"You're taking us out for pizza, right?" Reggie asked, his voice breaking.
That comical break seemed enough to melt all tension away. I smiled and everyone else did after. It felt so good, it was almost unexplainable. I hugged them back, once I got my arms free. No wonder these two wouldn't call me back. Neither one could lie to me, I knew them too well. Yet, to drive all this way with Frank to see me...that was awesome.
"Pizza sounds good right now," I told Reggie and the others. "I need a moment to prepare. Gimme a second?"
"Sure, take your time," Frank told me.
After prying myself from my brother and sister, I walked off to the bathroom. I danced over discarded clothing and entered my bedroom. It looked like an absolute wreck, but it wasn't so bad. Once I looked in the mirror, I realized the same of myself. I immediately began to fix myself up.
"Alice...Alice..." the monster whispered from inside my wardrobe beside me. "Why do you think things will always be like this? You know they won't."
"I made better friends since you left," I told the monster, wiping away bad make-up. "Ones who actually care about me. I even ended old feuds with my brother and sister, as you saw."
"Hmm, I thought I did well with that fight," the monster murmured. "Still, you will reach the point of snapping again. You can feel it inside of you."
"The people around me aren't the only ones who changed. You should start realising that as well. You still worry me, but not as much as you used to."
The woman reached out and grabbed my arm.
"I will never leave you," the monster hissed.
"Was that whispering?" I asked her. "Or are you getting quieter?"
The hand let me go and the monster slunk away into the darkness.
"You are no more than the annoying voice at the back of my mind. Soon, you won't even have a place in my nightmares. I am doing too well to pay you any attention."
I started to brush my hair, then open the wardrobe further. There was no monster now, only a clean shirt and jeans. Donning my clothing, I joined the others and we left for the closest pizza place.