Tears flooded my eyes, and I prayed to the gods that it was just a bad dream. Please, let it all have been just a dream. Please. As I approached my house, I wished for more than anything to find my parents at home, deeply engaged in conversation as they always were, eating a hearty, warm breakfast. With each step toward home, I willed my wish to be true.
But when I got home, the garage door was still open, and my parents’ silver sedan was missing. My heart began its dark descent toward hell. Once I entered our kitchen, utterly too quiet, my mother and father were nowhere to be found. Reality settled in like a heavy stone in my stomach, unpassable and unforgivable. The messages on the answering machine only confirmed my worst nightmare.
My hands began to shake, and my breath quickened as crippling panic overtook every nerve in my body. As my knees hit the floor, I heard a pitiful, gut-wrenching scream in the distance, only to realize seconds later that the sound had escaped from my own throat. Convulsive cries washed over me, wave after wave crashing down on me, and each gulp of air only pushed the cold truth in deeper: my parents were dead. The only people in the world who loved me were gone. Because of me. Because I was a monster.
I cried for hours, but it felt like days. I drowned in a pool of tears and gasped for air in what felt like an eternal depth of sorrow. During these pitiful hours, dark, destructive thoughts crossed my mind endlessly. It felt like it would have been so much easier and better for me to end everything. But ultimately, I knew that to succumb to those tempting dark thoughts would have been the worst way to honor my mother and father. My parents would have wanted me to live, not only live but try to have a normal, happy life. I didn’t think that would ever be possible—especially now.
When I finally had the strength to pick myself up from the kitchen floor, the sun was nearly gone as dusk settled in through the blinds. My mouth was parched, and my voice was hoarse. I crept into the bathroom, peeled off my muddy clothes, and took a long, hot shower. As the dirt swirled down the white bathtub into the drain, I imagined washing away the monster in me. I scrubbed my skin until my entire body was pink and raw.
I would never forgive myself for what happened that day, and I made two vows. One: I would do whatever it takes to gain control over the monster that emerged from me every full moon. Two: I would put my heart in an iron cage and throw away the keys forever so that I could never hurt anyone I love ever again.