Children fear darkness, they fear being alone - when no one's looking over that's when their nightmares spring to life. They believe ghosts and monsters are hiding underneath their beds or hanging just outside the window. Some are even terrified of clowns - I mean, after Pennywise who wouldn't. And then there are fairies, godmothers, witches and warlocks, princes and princesses from a faraway land. The joy and the horror - if a monster is turning your dreams into nightmares, you battle to the death and in your dreams, in your dreams, you always win.
My childhood was not so eventful in that regard. No fairy tales, no monsters or ghosts lurking in the bushes, no dragons or trolls to fight nor no evil witch or warlock to vanquish, and sadly there's no fat old man in white beard and red suit who delivers gifts. Yea, life is fairly realistic, no gap for miracles to slide in - as a matter of fact, if something such as that came to this way, it'll be ridiculed to no end. So, I got over all that charms at a very young age, but that has never bothered me.
Although, while I was a child, I would feel a tinge of envy once or twice a year, of what I'd hear from other kids, the stories their parents or other family members would tell them, or the myths with no basis - I gobbled up. Now, that was a dangerous terrain that I was warned not to venture into, but at that precise moment, the rebel inside me started to peer out, very slowly. And thereafter, I started borrowing books from my mates to occupy my mind and I'd read them in covertly - I was consumed. Being among realists the majority of the time, I craved the irrationality that these legends and myths provided. I was completely aware that these are meaningless tales, and yet I took every opportunity to bury my nose in scrolls and books whenever I could.
So, I have taken refuge in the library most of the time, going from shelf to shelf, reading everything I could. Everything was fine until I got caught - yes, caught like a criminal trying to erase evidence of his crime. My realistic parents condemned and mocked my nuances, shunned me away, but my nuances had gotten very close to my heart. I can barely afford three square meals a day but my soul is content, so much so that I have started living and sleeping here.
My reality is frenzied.
In the wee hours of the night, in the dimly lit corridors of the library, I'd often hear sounds - scamper in the distance or whispers. I'd often ask myself - are there spirits or unworldly entities creeping around in the deserted place - you may think I have gone crazy. The realist in me says "It's probably rats and I'm overthinking" and the dreamer me says "It's the leprechauns or faes", completely overlooking the paranoid me that says "could be a criminal". So many possibilities yet which one is correct, it's still unsure. I sighed, it's time I go home.
Something swift caught the corner of my eye as I was clearing out the tables. I ignored it for a moment - then I heard it again; the scuffling. I wonder where the sound came from. So, quietly I move about taking a step at a time. There was a swoosh and I saw a silhouette pass by fast near the tall windows. Calling out to what that thing was probably wasn't the best decision and yet I did that. One step at a time I tried to reach towards the far end of the hall near the window. There was a presence behind me or so I thought, there was no noise nor any whispers. The looming ominous presence behind me was apparent. The chill in my spine and the goosebumps made me realize that I was slightly terrified of looking back.
And I looked back.
Not the best decision, I concur. I didn't do it instantly, I halted and turned my head to the side slightly. Slowly and eventually I turned around and I saw It - a dark hooded figure floating just above the ground - I could only see the figure, nothing else; no feature, no structure, absolutely nothing.
Has my switch finally flipped?