Someone once said of me: ‘this is writing from which I stand back in admiration’. Now it’s time for me to pass on the compliment:
‘It came in the night. We were all sleeping in the creaky house and I woke to it lifting my sheets; it made my nightgown bleed. My doll saw it all so I ripped out her eyes the next morning before breakfast. Then it started coming in my dreams, and I thought a monster was asleep beneath my bed, gathering my things. On the scratchy carpet where the sun comes in, it branded my skin with its tongue, so I gave it my voice. Mother and father swallowed it up.
They found me in corners and closets and they didn’t hear their words running from my mouth. I didn’t know so I swallowed the words whole; they fed me spoonfuls of aches that echoed deep into my belly, burning my insides until it dulled.
I began to sweat them out my pores like a broken fever. I washed and raked my skin when I saw them in the mirror. They curdled and clotted the mainstreams of my heart as I took their pieces and ate them. I choked and spewed out a doll that didn’t have eyes. Her messy dress had burned away so they stitched her a new one and kept it inside, and I ran away, hungry.’
The Nothing Caper, by Amy Jo Sprague