The darkness has hands, but no eyes. It feels for me blindly, stretching shadows on walls, burning my hands. This corner, my only safe place, has failed me this time. The blind shadows have seen me, felt me breathing. They make a sound as they hunt me, the sound of my mothers nails on wooden tables. House breaths, plastic pulling where glass should be. Prayers, held breath, closed eyes, a six year olds only defense. But this is only the wait. I would live in the shadows, burning forever, if only to stop what comes next. What always came next. Creaking front door,and I know the wait is over. The other half of the monster is home, cheeks red from the wind and alcohol. Curl tighter as he stumbles past. The clicking stopped. The shadows found what they were hunting for. The only chink in my armor, much to thick for one so young. I squeeze shut my eyes, hold my breath. It starts, the monster merging, awakening. My monster, for I know it was brought from the depths of Hades just for me. The monster roars in the voices of my parents, and smashes glasses and plates. I know in the morning my feet will bleed again,because monsters always leave pain behind. Breath locked up in my chest, I silently run to my protector, given to fight the monster. Bedroom door creeks, but screams drown it, like the're drowning me. She sits on her bed, waiting for me. Arms held out, and I run into their safety, tears streaking my cheeks. She presses my head to her chest and covers my ears, and the only sound that is louder than the beast washes over me; her heartbeat. I know as long as it beats, she will always hold back the darkness, kiss away the shadow burns, and chain the beast away. And though I've long outgrown them, her arms still encase me, her heart still the most beautiful sound in the world. As long as it beats, she promised. Though not said, we both know. Even after it's rhythmic sounds have stopped, she will always protect me.