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I stepped inside gingerly, nudging the door open just a crack with the tip of my foot.
I peeped inside with one eye, afraid of what my eyes would behold.
I let a ray of light in; I shielded my eyes with my arm from the blinding light.
“Hello?” I whispered, testing the boundaries.
In the back of my mind I knew that I knew I was just reassuring myself.
If there was even a microscopic chance someone might have answered back,
I wouldn’t have been able to dance around the flames.
The coward that I was.
I inched the door open a bit more, just barely wide enough for me to allow myself in.
They were looming over me now, the shadows.
They were dark, like smoke and ash, like a nighttime winter forest.
The skeletons of false accusations; things I didn’t deserve.
They were the things, the monsters, always at the back of my mind.
Haunting me. Teasing me. Threatening to come out.
One creeped toward the small opening near the door. I quickly pushed it away.
Another monster put a foot toward the doorway, and I pushed it away again,
Never truly forgetting how it reared its grotesque face in my sight.
Within the walls of my mind, there could be anything.
Anything could lurk behind the doors I kept locked from the outside.
As I looked paranoia in its revolting face, I did not feel the way I imagined I would.
I was still trembling, as I would forever more.
And I would try my very best to hide every shiver.