The Creature Inside Me

Sometimes he’s lonely, the creature inside me, and lures me aside. Send everyone away. He wants to be alone so he can whisper dark stories about a useless, bent, and broken girl who keeps company with the creature inside her.

Sometimes he’s cold, the creature inside me, and builds a fire for warmth.
The smoke and heat burn my insides until hate pours from my eyes and mouth, splashing the innocents near me. It’s loathsome, but he must eat and I cannot face him, this creature inside me.

Sometimes he’s thirsty, the creature inside me, and milks my memories for water.
He digs and squeezes until I crack and drip salt and water and blood. It’s exhausting, but he must drink and I cannot rise to confront him, this creature inside me.

It’s crowded here, says the creature inside me, and bids me vacate me.
We argue that I must stay on and it is he who must leave, but the fight never ends. And the more he drinks and burns and hisses his stories, the more I forget whose house this is. It’s endless. But if you sleep we’ll both be free, whispers the creature inside me.

Now and again, when I’m still and rested, I forget he lies there waiting. I tear up the scripts he’s rehearsed before me and rewrite his words with dreams. I use them to build new worlds and vanquish lies.

He shrinks away to the closet. I jam it shut with the blade of my pen. Day floods in. And the me I sometimes only see in snapshots, spreads wild her arms in the wide sunlight.

Leaving the creature inside me, that trespasser/squatter, to grow lonely and hungry and thirsty and shrivel and wither and fade.

© Rachel Svendsen 2015

Author: Rachel Svendsen

Rachel is a poet and writer from Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and children. Her short story "Filling the Silence" received an honorable mention in the 2019 Story Embers short story competition.

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