They were always coming for you, ember eyes burning. You can feel their breathing in your chest, just as strong as your own. Maybe stronger. The sound of tooth on tooth is paralyzing. Your teeth begin to chatter, but there is no chattering from them. They sound like someone stropping one knife against another. They smell of terror, hot and rancid. No one else can see them, but you know they are there, waiting.
They have always been there.
When you were younger, the adults said you had an active imagination. They bought nightlights and expected them to be sentries. They left the door open. The hall light on. Finally, they left the overhead light on, but you still didn't sleep. Not until exhaustion forced your eyes shut. The few hours of rest would be enough to keep going, but they were not enough.
As you got older, the adults stopped bragging on your active imagination. They started to worry. They sent you to therapists and complained about the bills. They started to call you crazy. Not to your face, but behind your back, quietly, thinking you would not hear.
The therapists looked concerned; they used bigger words that hurt less than 'crazy' - words that didn't point a finger. Not as much, at least. There was some distance.
But they didn't believe.
It was always headed toward death. There was no other way out. You or them. Or them. It had to be somebody. So, you decided to rob them of their sport. You hoarded pills until you had enough. Then, you turned the nightlight out on yourself.
And on them.