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the demons inside

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My head is spinning out of control. All my thoughts, fears, doubts, trying to drown me. Their icy tentacles wrap around me like a python chokes its prey, dragging me down into the dark abyss of depression and desolation. I wildly attempt to grasp onto anything, anyone who will cease their evil intentions. I can't go back. I'm terrified of the loneliness. Won't anyone save me? Is there no escape?

"No," comes an eerie hiss. "There is no one. You're alone, unwanted. Why would anybody care about you? You're worthless. Pathetic."

I scream out for the voice to stop. Instead, it multiplies. A thousand whispers join in, all echoing the same thing.

"Hopeless. Pitiful. Not good enough. Wretched. Unloved."

Desperately, I try to recall memories of times where those words were proven wrong. When I did feel loved and wanted. But the voices just become louder, shrieking with glee as they continue to suffocate me. They're overwhelming. Worst of all, they're right. There is no escape. There is only blackness.

My memories are more and more hazy as the seconds drag on. Brief flashes of me laughing are quickly snuffed with villainous cackling and continued words of destruction.

I can't take it anymore. I submit to the voices. I allow myself to be pulled into the lies, the darkness. It's easier, less painful to give in than to continue to fight. What's the point in fighting anyway?

If I did fight, and by chance win, what would that accomplish? Happiness for a millisecond? It's all a ticking time bomb until it goes off and the happiness is over. It always ends. Maybe not right away. Maybe not until you actually start believing it might be for real this time. Then it ends. Either you lose something, or someone leaves, and then you're right back where you began. Just you with your demons. It's pointless, a never ending loop. A crazy amusement park ride I can't get off. So I simply give in.

Just as I'm about to crash into the raging depths, and the demons surround me with their laughter, the blackness fades into gray. I try to turn around and see what is causing this light, this foreign concept, but the freezing fingers grip me tighter, start pulling me faster. They have a new urgency. Something is coming. Someone.

A scream tries to choke itself out of my mouth, but the tentacles are so constricting all that is heard is a squeaky "help". It's all I have left.



Light explodes everywhere. Pure, white light reaches into every corner. The demons howl in pain, hissing with their disgust. Many vanish. The ones holding me captive release their grip. I collapse, breathing in deep breaths of the sweet air, warmth flooding back into me. I lift my gaze for the source of the light.

A white horse stands before me. It has a shiny silver saddle, decorated with precious gems. Rubies, emeralds, diamonds, sapphires. Seated upon its back, a knight. His suit of armor glistened, his sword gilded with gold. The light was coming from him.

I am shaking with awe at this mysterious hero. I crawl towards him, maybe he can get me out of this horrific place.

I'm almost within reach. I'm so close--

Excruciating pain shoots through my body. Something digs deep into my back, then is thrust out. I feel blood ooze over my skin. I can't move. I cry out, but nothing can be done. This truly is the end.

One of the demons steps forward into my range of sight, a long knife clutched in its hand, blood trickling down its razor-sharp edge. It glances at me and snickers. Its mirth increases as the knight jumps off his horse and runs to my side. It's too late. He can't save me now.

"Take me, instead." He tells the demon. Is he insane? Why would he trade his life for mine? I'm worthless. Not good enough. Just let me die..

The demon seems to be considering his offer, though. "Deal." it responds.

My pain is instantly erased. I'm on my feet, alive as ever. But on the ground, lays a dead knight. Blood pools around him, his hands and feet particularly. Holes are pierced in his skin, as well as a huge gash in his side. His armor disappears, replaced by a loincloth and crown of thorns. I don't understand...

The light is fading away now. The demons who were scared off have returned, all celebrating the death of the knight. Cackling and jeering fill the dark. The very smell of wickedness is overpowering. Why did he do this?

"For you."

The evil laughter immediately ceases. I gasp, running to the knight's side. He is standing up, completely clothed in white. His wounds are healed. Light returns. How can this be? He's alive? Tears slowly tumble down my cheeks.

The demons shriek their protest, their anger. Their fear. They evaporate, seeking darkness wherever they can.

The knight walks calmly towards me, while I'm still standing in shock.

"Why did you let them do that? Why did you take my place?"

He smiles softly at me. Stretching his scarred hand out toward me, he says, "You're enough for me. I love you, daughter."



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