Monsters in the Night

A piece by Lucia Zheng

Photo by Sofia Sears

I prefer to avoid cliches, but unfortunately, in this incident, it’s unavoidable.

I fear the Night.

Perhaps because I treat it too much like an actual, tangible character, when in reality, it’s simply a space, a state. But its emptiness claws at me, its spidery fingers come lunging at me. When the silence sets, when everything sleeps, I am left in a static place, of little movement, of little sound, of little action. And I am stuck with my thoughts, inescapable. In an asylum of my own creation. I pound at the walls, but they close in further.

The dam breaks and the chaos of my thoughts comes flooding to the front of my mind. Things I push away to the deep corners, things I shove into little crevices, things I sweep under the rug of the brain pathways, things I had hoped to have forgotten. But this is all in vain, for the thoughts come rushing anyways. And it is all I can comprehend at the moment. I am launched into another world, one that concerns only my greatest anxieties, worries, sadnesses, wrapped up in memories of a time twice existent, that spin through my mind on a never ending reel with a sense of immediacy. Sometimes I’m not exactly sure whether it happened a day ago, or a week ago, or years ago. It seems like the replay happens almost in time with the event. They’re inescapable frames of yesterday. On the wall, a collection you never wanted, never intended for. And it causes nothing more than a maze, an intricate weaving of voices in your head, that scream, louder and louder into the abysmal depth of the night.

To think back gives me fear. To have to dissect my movements, my speech. To have room for regret and for pride. It requires too much consideration. Too much backtracking.

I look up into the darkness of the sky. I find it hard to imagine that just a couple hours ago, it was filled with life. Now, it seems like a lead to nowhere. I’m bothered by its blackness. Its nothingness makes me reflect, its nothingness makes me look back, more than I ever want to.

During the day, I can busy myself with the overexposure of life. The sounds that fill my head are not my own. They are those of the people and the places around me. The sights do not belong to me. I am simply a passerby, intent on observing. But in the night, those are my own. I cannot distract myself with the hurrying pedestrians who pass me on the street, the smile of a stranger, the familiarity of a good friend. I am locked with myself, swallowed. With only the rain and the darkness to keep me company.

The silence hurts my head almost as much as the sound that coexists there. It pierces the air. It suffocates my lungs. It provides a medium for the white noise to blast. So the static exists in a brilliant interplay. As the substantive thoughts in my mind bounces through the emptiness.

And the razor edge of the contemplative hours, become the monsters of the night.

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