Hall of Enemies, a flash fiction by Alex Reiner at Spillwords.com
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Hall of Enemies

Hall of Enemies

written by: Alex Reiner


Welcome to the hall of fame of enemies of creative self-worth. Please come closer and take a look at this creature. Isn’t it atrocious? The evil little eyes. The small, thin lips. The joyless face. The high-pitched, whiny voice. The mismatching scarf around the neck. Let me introduce you to my Middle School teacher. She doesn’t like children that much. So don’t get too close, little one. She starts to scream, yell, and curse at you. When she feels threatened, she will stare at you and then humiliate you in front of the whole class. It becomes even worse when she feels challenged as an authority figure. Never use synonyms in her vocabulary test. You will hate every day when you have English. You will start to hate school because she gives you bad grades, seemingly out of spite. She will break your spirit. She will break your self-worth. She will break you as a person. You will believe that you are not good enough. That you are stupid. That you can’t speak or write in English. You will stop writing stories. You will stop being happy. You will stop liking yourself. So don’t get too close, little one.

Come, come! Here is the next monster. The person you should trust from the beginning. The person who should support you. The person you should be close to. Sometimes, this person becomes a creature of great violence and aggression. The beast does not support you. There is no way to get close to the creature emotionally. You can’t trust it. It will trick you into believing that it is all your fault. You can’t choose who gave you life. You can choose who is allowed to be close to you, though. She will try to undermine your intelligence. She will not believe in you. She will not support your desire to expand your creativity because she has no time or nerve. Always busy. Always tense. Always angry at something or someone. You won’t be able to speak freely. You won’t be able to express your feelings. You won’t believe in your worth or your abilities. You will cry until you have no tears left. You will be in pain until it is easier to be cold and emotionless. It will be easier to distance yourself from everyone. You will believe that you can’t trust anyone. You will constantly fear getting hurt or abandoned. You won’t have it easy. But never believe anything it says! It is never your fault. It never was your fault. You are just a little one.

This is the last monster for today. Look how it sits in the dark corner. Small and curled up. Knees beneath the chin. A dark silhouette. It looks harmless, but it will destroy anything in its way. Please sit down. I have a little story about this one. It wasn’t always a monster, you know. It was just like us. But then the darkness came and ate every piece of light. Slowly, the darkness grew and grew over the years until it consumed every light, and nothing was left but darkness. Occasionally, it seems as if there is a spark of light, but it immediately gets swallowed up. Dark figures surround it. Constantly whispering. The day that changed it all was when no one protected the little one, and it stopped fighting against the darkness. It gave in and became the monster. On that day, hands grabbed the little one by the neck and pushed it against a door, up in the air. No one helped. Just looks and cries. But no help. The little one got out and ran away to a friend. Dark marks around the neck hurt with every move. But it couldn’t stay there. The supposed caregiver came and got the little one. Forcing it to walk back to the place of fear and threats, having to look into the monster’s eyes daily, the monster that left marks on the little soul for all time. It was this day when the little one learned that no one protects you. You can’t trust anyone. It was this day when the little one became a shadow of itself. Became the creature that will sabotage the little one’s attempts to return. The creature you see now. Filled with pain and no way to escape. Filled with doubt and self-hatred. Believing that it is all its fault. That it deserves everything that happened. The creature will make you think you are not good enough to write, paint, or do anything you enjoy. You will feel emptier every day until you don’t find any joy in things you once loved. It will become the ultimate weapon of self-destruction. Thus, don’t get any closer. Don’t let the darkness caress your senses and draw you in, even if it sometimes seems the only way. Not one of these monsters can hurt you. You are stronger than you think. You will experience true unconditional love. You will love yourself. You will come back from the shadows and destroy the darkness surrounding you. You will become the person you were meant to be. You will be the person you want to be.

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