It was so dark outside she would not dare to leave the room. There were monsters in the dark, they said. She cuddled her teddy, drew her knees towards her chest and tried not to rock back and forth. She was not a little girl anymore. If she repeated that over and over, would it finally sink in? Maybe. Maybe not. And it was dark. So dark.

She closed her eyes. Her breath was short, her heart was heavy. She started trembling, but it was so silly. It was all so silly. Was her bed shaking or was it just her body? Her mind was spiralling out of control. There was a noise outside the door. She tensed. Footsteps came closer and then walked away. She sighed, conflicted. Should she call out for them? Wasn’t that what they told her once?

They lied, though. Calling out meant recrimination. Be strong. Be tough. Get happy. Dream. Go out. Live. And yet the only message that was always bright and clear was BE ALERT and BE AFRAID. It was all so confusing. Such a contradiction.

The footsteps were long gone. She felt relieved but also afraid. She wanted to call them back. She opened her lips then closed them slowly. She would not. She should not. She could not. She must not.

Her eyelids were now lead. Little by little, she fell asleep still holding on to her teddy, still holding on to her life.

Just another night.

It was so dark outside.

It was so dark inside.




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