This is not one of those millennial think-pieces that talk you up, that tell you how special you are and that your heart is strong and that you’ll make it. I wish it was but it’s not. This is something more important than that.
This is how you will survive.
They are everywhere, you know. Lurking behind faces that you’d never expect. Shifting their forms from one person to another, lying in the darkness until the time comes to strike. And strike they will. Strike they do. It is how they survive, hiding in plain sight, but that’s not what this is about, their survival. This is about how you will survive.
Their attacks will be covered up whenever possible. When not possible, they will be labeled as something else. Tragedy. Mental illness. “God’s plan.” Anything to try to keep you from seeing the truth: there are monsters that walk among us.
I am not here to tell you what they look like behind the masks they wear. Your imagination can take care of that, and besides — whatever your little brain comes up with, you must know that they are far, far worse than that.
Now that you know, now that I have told you about them and you have started down this path, you must be wondering where to go from here. Now that you know there are monsters. And when I use this word, ‘monsters,’ it is important to realize that I am not being coy. I am not going to reveal at the end that the true monsters are the imperfect souls of humanity. I already told you, this is not a think-piece. This is a set of instructions. Pay close attention.
You will no longer feel safe in a crowd, knowing that anyone brushing up against you could be one of them. Any accidental contact may not be accidental after all. That man, the one in the grocery store who stared at you for a little too long — could he have been one of them? The woman who delivers your mail? Your own father? Of course they could be, any of them, all of them. And so you will find yourself exercising far more caution, as you should.
With this knowledge, this new sense of self-preservation, comes a natural reaction to protect yourself. But how can you protect yourself when these monsters lie in secrecy? There’s no way to tell who they are, not really, not until it’s too late. I wish I could tell you who to trust but I can’t and so the only sound advice I can give is to trust no one.
If there’s no one to trust and no true way to tell where the danger is, how can you expect to keep living the way you do now? Because the monsters, they can smell it on you, they can smell the fear and the suspicion and the knowing. You’re not safe, not anymore — not that you ever have been, I suppose — and now you’ve got to hide.
Close your doors, seal your windows. Let no one in (or out, for that matter.) Steel yourself and your fortress against the things. Against the monsters. The monsters that pluck children off the street, murder their loved ones, sabotage governments, start wars. Now that you think about it the world has always been monstrous and this is really the only thing that makes sense. Barricade yourself away from it, from all of it.
You will lose because this is not the world that the sunny think-pieces want you to think it is, a world in which the heroes prevail and the monsters do not. You should know by now that the monsters have always and will always win.
They like it when you’re alone. Did you know that? You’re not safe in a crowd, not by far, but they like it so much better when you’re alone.
This is a set of instructions where I have set you up for failure and yet all I have told you is true. You cannot change your fate because in the end the monsters are stronger than you. You’ve never seen their real face but they’ve seen yours, oh yes, they’ve seen your face and they know it deep within their bones and they will use it to destroy you.
And so when you’re alone, when you’ve done all you can to protect yourself from the monsters, that is when they will strike and you cannot escape them.
This is how you will survive.
You will not survive for long.