He was everything I hated and everything I loved. I don’t really understand how it happened. First he was there, then it was all I could do not to run to him at every moment. Without him, every moment was characterized by heart-wrenching pain. With him, every moment brought happiness and joy I didn’t know existed.

I hated him for leaving me, leaving me to the loneliness of his absence and the lack of his warmth. Yet I loved him just as strongly for the sparks he brought with him, the blinding lights of color that made everything seem so bright and dazzling. The life of the world seemed so much more extravagant by his side. The sky seemed higher, the food seemed richer, and the dark water seemed that much more inviting. However, just as the sun must leave the earth in darkness each day, my sun would drop me into bleak shadows and terrifying blackness when he was gone. Shaking and worrying the edges of my fingernails, I mentally begged for him back. Come back, I would plead. Come back and don’t leave me to my demons and my nightmares and my fears oh god please come back. And he would, every day, and my world filled with colors again.

It never occurred to me that he was an addiction, and myself an addict that was helpless without his presence.

He was addicting, to say the least. If an addiction is what the dictionary defines it to be- causing someone to be physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects- then I was head-over-heels addicted. Physically, my heart and soul yearned for him by my side. Even the pat on my head, his arm around my shoulders, the flick on my forehead, I needed. Mentally, I was scattered without him. I couldn’t recall the simplest of things; how could I, when all I could think about was him?

I remember once, we were walking down the street. Hands clasped together, I looked up at his smile and he smiled down at me and my heart swelled so much it was a wonder I didn’t collapse right there. I mentioned it to him- that I would die without him- but he just laughed and said he would never leave my side. Except he did. He told me he was done. That I wasn’t good enough, that she was better than me in every way. I couldn’t bring him back. I didn’t have what it took to bring his sunlight back into my life again.

The only ways an addiction is broken is if the addict gives up the drug, or if she can no longer afford it. Evidently he was just too expensive for me.

So now, I have to make my own light. I have to pull myself out of my tear-stained corner and draw together what little bits of light he left me so I can light my path. I cannot see nearly as well; I trip more than I walk steadily; like an old worn-out car, I break down more often than not.

Yet, I saw a spark in the distance. It was faint, nothing like I saw in him, but it was there. It called to me, whispering that it would help me brighten my way and fill the monochrome world with color again. So I latched onto the light. I held it in my hands and wouldn’t let it go. I had already lost one, why should I give another up? Strangely though, this light did not become brighter. I gave it all the attention it wanted, all the kindness and love I was capable of. But it only grew fainter. I tightened my hands around it. This one was mine. I would not let it leave me like the sun did. I didn’t want to be plunged into darkness again.

As my fingers closed around it for last time, the light went out. Nowadays, I’m more familiar with the dark than the light.

So there’s only one solution.

I need to find a light again.


Monsters and Beasts

Everything comes from something. A sprawling, enormous oak started from a tiny acorn. Giant monoliths began from an idea. Even the most intelligent human came from a singular cell.

And so a group of madmen originated from a small collection of normal farmers.

Legends and myths flow through society, but one particular truth tells of the men who found a bit of power, who got theirs hands on something extraordinary, and who let it get to their heads.

They began as modest farmers. A small farm with a hut inset into a hill. Protected from the mobs, full bellies, and each other for company. Yet they still were not satisfied. Rumors reached their ears of an ancient race of creatures, so large they blotted out the sun. How one turn of its mighty head toppled trees and dislodged earth. How men could subjugate the beast to their own will.

Suddenly everything changed. Instead of axes and hoes, pickaxes and swords flew from the blacksmith. The leader gave the order, and the ground shrieked as it was ripped apart. Holes gave way to tunnels. Tunnels gave way to caves. And caves brought to life the greedy desires of the men.

At first they didn’t know what they were looking for. Bones were excavated from some rocks, but they were immediately discarded. (The fool even found an ancient sword, but not knowing its worth, laughed it off as a ruined piece of junk.) It wasn’t until the vagabond found the first fossil did they realize that the rumors were true. Quickly the fossil was fed to a machine and produce a small orange embryo.

This was the beginning.

No one knew what creature the embryo was, but their greed forced them to shove it into an incubator. First came alarm. The machine did nothing; the embryo simply sat there. Fearing that all their hard work would be in vain, the leader placed in egg into the machine. He reasoned that if the incubator produced an egg, then it would require eggs to power it. (A rather morbid thought, isn’t it? That to make the egg of a monster, it needed the eggs of the innocent) And it worked.

They gathered in awe as the machine breathed life, the sides breathing along with the growing embryo.

It was time, and the machine spat forth a egg. Fully green, with lighter shades reaching the top, this innocent egg did not know the havoc it would wreak. The men panicked as soon as the egg emerged from the machine. As the vagabond picked up the frail egg, he advised to wait until it was daylight outside. He then immediately dropped it.

Hysterics ensued, until a moat was dug outside and the egg breathed a sigh of relief as it lay in the water. For a bit, the egg merely sat there as the men cooed at it.

The warrior and the leader were expanding their dear monster’s habitat when the shell cracked. There was no ‘beauty of life’ moment; there was an egg, then the warrior and the leader ran screaming for their lives. Both very narrowly escaped the beast, panting as their precious child snapped at their heels.

That is when the seed was planted. When the men saw the viciousness of the creature, a malicious idea implanted itself within them. But that was still when they were good men.

Pickaxes tore through earth’s skin once more, and she mourned as her secrets were brought to the surface. Fossil after fossil made its way through the machines, and their farm grew.

It wasn’t soon before they found the one of legend. The one the rumor said was most dangerous. Something called a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Poking at the tan and white egg, the fool laughed that it looked like a cinnabun. A silly name that would be echoed in terror as it razed villages and terrorized the land.

Cinnabun was one of the few enclosed with walls on the farm. Some were simply trapped in pits, others left to roam. The first monster’s moat grew into a castle-like moat, with the monster able to snap up unsuspecting creatures.

Along the way one of the more vicious beasts traveled beyond the boundaries of the farm. The men laughed it would come back and kill them all.

Maybe not them, but it definitely was sent to kill.

Though the men didn’t take the best care of their beasts (one of the smallest creatures died of starvation after the men tried to make it grow), they never ventured out of their little nook bordering the deep forests.

The change occurred sometime around the death of the vagabond’s pet. A ridiculous pairing, the already-insane vagabond had the gentlest herbivore imprint on him. While he could’ve ignored the friendly creature and hatched a deadly carnivore, the vagabond poured his heart into his little creature. (unimaginatively) deemed ‘Pointy’, the little green creature was the vagabond’s shadow, day in and day out.

This was at odds with the warrior. A warrior to the core, the warrior’s personal pet was a stocky, strong creature. Though the beast was still small, it dared to headbutt Cinnabun. (the tyrannosaurus rex was quickly outgrowing its habitat, leading the blacksmith and leader to try and expand it. all it did was antagonize the beast)  Meanwhile the vagabond and warrior had stuck a dare. A jest of sorts between Pointy and the warrior’s Pachy. When nothing spectacular occurred, the warrior thought it fitting to strike Pointy. Angered, Pointy moved to return to favor. While the warrior laughed off the weak hit, the minute injury on the warrior brought to the surface a monster’s strongest trait. Its undying loyalty. Pachy moved in on Pointy, and soon the gentlest of them all was strewn on the floor. Shocked to the core, the vagabond cried for his lost beast. The bond was gone, and the vagabond felt like a piece was ripped from his heart. He roared at the warrior, spitting curses and words unintelligible.

As the day darkened to night, the vagabond turned on his heel into the hills. Everyday he returned, but he was more distant, cold. The blacksmith uttered concern, but the fool snapped back (the fool also had great love for the deceased creature). Life continued, and grew and grew and grew again. Soon each man had an veritable army of monsters at their control. Yet they were not satisfied. Bringing back a dead species was not enough.

The lost vicious beast returned from beyond the boundaries, bloodlust evident in its eyes. Three years previous, and the monster would have been a problem. Now, the fool merely waved his skull stick, and a full grown Cinnabun burst from its confinements.

Standing thirty feet high and forty feet long, one roar forced the lost beast into submission as the fool danced forth and claimed it as his own. The fool might have been the most mad after the vagabond. Less of the precise and planned work of the vagabond, the fool cared nothing for survivors or collateral damage. In fact, he had voiced the fateful idea.

One day, a screech rang out over the farm. Over the hill, a giant green beast shrieked its cry. A yell soon followed, as a hand carrying a whip stuck high into the air above the beast’s back. The vagabond rode his beast into the farm, looking for the warrior. Even at fully grown, the warrior’s Pachy was a quarter of Pointy 2.0’s size. As the vagabond opened his mouth to challenge the warrior, the fool spoke up.

I bet you could take over a village with a creature that big, he said, head cocked in slyness. The leader followed in question. How the beast was so big before the usual number of days passed, how the vagabond rode the beast- it was merely the next step in their adventure with their beasts.

One lovely day (some might even call it top), a village awoke to the sound of screeches and roars. A child stepped out, bleary-eyed from sleep, and watched the sky. She screamed for her mommy as a giant purple beast with a armored man on its back swooped down into the village, whooping loudly. His diamond sword scored trenches into wood, into stone, into flesh. Villagers ran screaming as Cinnabun knocked over a tower with one turn, as Pachy sent a man flying only to land with a sickening crack.

Knee-high beasts swarmed around the livestock, the people, and devoured. When only a few villagers remained visible running from the village, the men stopped. The beasts paused and rested, and the men strolled around their new property.

And so the men became infamous throughout the plains and surrounding forest. Heartless men, so vicious they were unrecognizable from the beasts they controlled. Villages were left abandoned; the rakes in the buildings the only explanation.

Still the greed did not end. The men continued to search, to conquer, to find new species. They found great decrepit libraries stuffed with new fossils, new trinkets, new books with explanations and answers. Along with these books came secrets hidden from storytelling: a temple of water, a land of fire, an island of darkness.

The island of darkness intrigued the men the most. Telling of a great flying beast (like mine, interrupted the leader) that spit poison and ruled over countless subjects, the books instructed how to build the portal.

Plans were immediately made. Materials were gathered, bows were tuned and swords were sharpened. Three flying beasts and two tyrannosaurus rexes were to fall through the portal alongside their masters.

The portal led the men and their creatures to somewhere they never dreamed could exist. Strange long-legged black creatures stared down at the men, disappearing and reappearing. The fool almost stabbed one, but the main attraction caught their eyes.

Larger than Cinnabun, wider than Pointy, the dragon beast roared at the sudden intruders. Reminiscent of that first village attack, the dragon beast dove at the men, giving a deafening roar. While it would’ve scared off anyone else, the men merely smiled and the warrior motioned at his beast. The tyrannosaurus rexes snapped at the dragon beast and produced its own roar of dominance. Pulling up, confusion was evident in the dragon beast’s face. The warrior grinned and hopped on his beast. With an insane desire in his eyes, the leader shouted to go.

With beasts in the air tracking its every move, and beasts on the ground snapping whenever it flew low, the dragon beast tired and soon fell to the spongy ground. Ready to skin it or take back its head, the men all rushed towards the dragon beast only for it to fade.

What? cried the fool, and men felt their anger rise. They didn’t want memories of this great battle, memories were intangible and couldn’t be proven. The men wanted blood. They wanted flesh and scale and teeth.

Sensing the tension, the beasts roared into the nothingness.

Look what I found, smirked the vagabond. Motioning to his beast, the tyrannosaurus rex nudged a deep black egg into the vagabond’s arms.

The monsters roared again, but not because of anger. They could feel the excitement, the bloodlust, and the anticipation of the men. The beast inside the egg shuddered, like it already knew the fun to come.