This Is Why I Need To Sleep With All The Lights On


It was just like how a horror movie would start.

I was sleeping alone, after a decade had passed. On my left side of the bed, lights off, all windows and doors locked. I knew it even before I felt it. That heavy breath at the back of my neck. Familiar and unwanted. I remember the stench of breath, that nicotine smile. The stained lips that hid tombstone teeth and dirty lies.

My mind is a museum of forgotten memories and he was one of the pieces in a glass box, perched on his own pedestal, with security alarms that went off with the slightest touch.

I felt the hand beneath the blankets. Snaking through the mattress, scratching on the bedsheet. Calloused hands staking claims on legs, inner thighs, breast. The same hands that tattooed my skin with fear and helplessness.

He was the constant itch at the back of my neck that I desperately tried to forget, yet my hands couldn’t help but scratch until the scars bled.

And also the sound. Fuck, how can I forget the sound? The same creaks and groans of the damned chair, its old wheels wobbling. I used to push the chair for the monster. Used it to bring him anywhere. Used it last to bring him home. It lured me to coming to him.

Sirens blare behind my ear. Red and blue lights blink inside my head. I was warned not to get too close. All the signs were screaming. But sure he wouldn’t do it. He can’t do it. I can’t breath. He wouldn’t, right? Fuck. He did. Please let me breathe.

I was young. He was five times older than I was. He was my mentor. And sure he taught me. Taught me that monsters aren’t afraid of the sun. They show up in daylight, disguised with soft words and kind smiles. He made me believe that I was someone special, looked at me like I was magic.

He’s always made sure that I knew. That I never forget. It was a film negative ingrained in the back of my head. This is when I knew. His ghost was back. I have to run.

For the first time in years, I need to sleep with all the lights on.