She was remembering the coldness that veiled his eyes when the demons came. As shadows they sprang from the trees and shrubs, from the leaves and from the earth. She was surrounded. They beat the air with leathery wings, brushing against her skin, whispering, “Poor, strange little quiet one, you’ll never learn how to love. You don’t know how to be in this world. No one will ever love you.” They hissed, “Liar! You’re too selfish to love. You’re a fake!” Their words filled the air—a sickening kaleidoscope she could not escape. She ran. They clung with talons like cold metal probes. She struck out and the elusive things fell apart, dissolving like smoke with a subtle pop! She screamed. She swore. Hot tears fell. She was suffocating. Throat raw, breathless, she fell to her knees. The demon’s crazed voices were all she could hear. “I can’t do this anymore,” she whispered and collapsed to the ground.
She felt them then, sinking into her brain. The demons screamed every less-than thought she’d ever had until her body was cold as ice. When numbness set in, they quieted down. She had never felt so small and worthless and spent. “Just let me die,” she said, and closed her eyes to the world.