All he wants is to be able to go home again. He can't, not the way that he left. Even though it was a matter of survival for him, it doesn't mean that the decision was ever easy to make. He had known that if he wanted to live to see his next birthday that he had to get out of that place.
He wondered about the other children who had lived there. Some of them had been his friends. Some of them had been so damaged by the hauntings and the paranormal experiments that the people who'd owned the place had run that they would never function in society or, for that matter, with other human beings again.
It hadn't always been like that. When he had first gone to live at the home, it had been owned by different people. They had been nice. They'd taught him to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and read to him from books with bright, cartoon illustrations. Then, the new people came. They were creepy and their books were not meant for the children who lived in the home. There were no more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, just strange noises in the night and shadows glimpsed from the corner of his eyes. With the new people came a strange, crawling sense of unease, a prickling at the back of his neck that raised the hairs there. He had been jumpy and uneasy throughout his stay with them.
Then, the vague noises and barely glimpsed figures became more defined and impossible to ignore. There were bruises in the night and injuries that were impossible to explain. The terror seized him constantly. There were bad things in that home now, bad things that wanted only pain and destruction and fed on the horrible things that were done to the children in that place.
The first people who had owned the home were the ones that he wanted to go back to. He wanted to know if they would still be as warm and gentle as they had been when they had welcomed him to live with them. He was desperate to know if their goodwill and compassion would be enough to erase the cold darkness that seemed to taint him to his very soul.
So many people seem to think that secrets are bad. As if a world with a total lack of privacy is somehow something to strive towards. I've never thought that all secrets are something detrimental. The world doesn't need to know every little thing that I think and I wouldn't want them to, anyway. Half the time, I don't even understand how my brain works when it starts making connections to things. Sometimes, it makes stories, and that makes me pretty happy. Other times, though, I just end up with an odd jumble of synapses that fired and produced something so random that I'm not even sure I can turn it into something cohesive, even if I wanted to.
I don't ask the people that I care about to share every thing with me. If they don't want to talk about something, my first thought is that they probably need some time to just process how they feel and what they need to do to figure out what to do with it. My ears and my heart are open to them, but I understand that sometimes, you don't need anyone to listen to you or to needle you into talking about it, you just need someone to hand you a big cup of iced tea or your favorite soda or just hang around and make stupid jokes or watch a couple of episodes of your favorite show with you and just let you exist.
Then again, that's maybe just what I need. When I'm ready to vent, I will, but until then, I need time to think what I need to think and figure out what I need to figure out. Then, if I feel like I'm comfortable enough with you and consider you a friend, then I'll tell you what's going on with me.
Sharing secrets should be done out of trust, not exasperation. No one should have to spill their guts becuase someone else refuses to leave them alone. It's not productive for anyone. This is not to say that all secrets should be kept, or that the ones that need told don't require some coaxing, but if you aren't going to take the time to let the person you want to help feel safe with you then you don't deserve their secrets and you need to stop asking.
Not everyone trusts easily and they probably have reasons why they don't. When you truly value them and care about them, the best way to show them that is to respect their boundaries and give them time to come to you. Remember, the people that you love are not you. They're them and so despite everything that they have in common with you, that doesn't mean that they feel or react in exactly the same way that you do.
In the depths of the ocean, where the only light is the hellish glow from oozing lava vents, it waits. It's not exactly asleep, not quite dormant, it's simply there, biding its time. The warm, mineral rich currents sluice over it. It has no concept of geothermal heat, but its bone-deep understanding goes far beyond any scientists' pitiful explaination. It knows that HERE is warm because of the light and HERE is full of good things to eat because of it as well.
These depths remain unexplored by creatures as alien to it as it would be to them. If they saw it, the magnificent expanse of its bulk and the plated, mottled skin that encases it would send their minds spinning into madness. Animals like it do not exist. It is impossible. They believe that they know all their is to the world, that there is no such thing as wilderness any more, no great discoveries left to be made.
It would be conisdered a being out of legend for them, an organism meant to stay firmly rooted in the realm of imagination and nightmare, a beast of legend, that should only exist in stories told to frighten to foolish or the idiotically brave. Of course, the fear of those pathetic, tiny surface mites troubles it not. It knows nothing of them, nor has it any desire to learn.
Despite its apathy towards anything not in its immediate vicinity, it will soon have to learn to care. Those small, curious animals have sent a mechanical envoy into the creature's domain and, soon enough, pale yellow light will illuminate a gigantic, slit-pupiled eye of a billious yellow-green. Once that discovery is made, they will be forced to deal with the creature that they have roused and, sadly, they are unprepared for what they are about to unleash.
When I was sixteen years old, I saw the Milky Way for the first time. This is the truest thing that I have ever written and it will be almost everything I can do to commit it into black and white print for the first time.
I was six months old when I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. I am lucky, the type that I have is not the most vicious or devastating. It means that I am night blind, that my peripheral vision is slowly narrowing into a pinhole of vision, and that my depth perception is gradually flattening away to nothing.
My cousins and I used to go out and lie on sleeping bags in the back of a pickup truck or, later, on top of one of my aunt's van and watch meteor showers. They would watch. I would stare up into the black sky and study the seven bright points of light that I could see and wonder what it was like.
When I was sixteen, my father did the thing that all good fathers promise their children they will do. With the help of a military surplus catalog, my dad gave me the galaxy. It happened because he ordered a pair of Russian military night vision goggles, intending to use them so he could walk his sprinklers at night in the fields to make sure that they didn't get plugged by debris in the irrigation water. When he got them, we waited for the night to fall and then, we tried them out, after breathlessly reading the instructions over and over and over again in anticipation.
Dad turned off our yard light and we went outside. I put on the night vision goggles and removed the lens caps and looked up into the sky. It was a personal miracle. Stretching above me in uncountable points of light as far as I could see, there were stars, some of them clustered so tightly together they made swirling patterns of white against the inky darkness. I stared.
I'd had people describing the stars to me all my life. What I discovered was that everyone will tell you something different, because they all see them in their own way. None of what they had tried to describe to me could possibly match the glittering arch of that night sky.
I still wasn't seeing what others would have, even with the assistance of night vision goggles, there would still be stars too dim for my eyes to perceive. Then too, there was the matter of the emerald green wash of color night vision goggles put over everything. It didn't matter. I was breathless under an arm of the Milky Way that I had always simply had to take on faith was there.
Two weeks later, someone broke into my father's pickup and stole the night vision goggles from behind the seat. They smashed the driver's side window in and ran, like the cowards that they were. What hurt the most was knowing that to the person who stole them, it was just easy cash, a quick, dirty transaction to a faceless man behind an anonymous counter at a pawn shop miles away. It meant less than nothing to them.
There was no way for us to order new ones, first of all because they had been so expensive, and, more to the point, as a military surplus item, there was only a very limited supply of them. When we realized that, I went into my room, curled on my side with a book, and pretended to read while I let my heart break around the loss of so much ordinary magic.
When I got to college, I followed my nature, which is to study the things that I don't understand, so I can find out more. It never takes away the mystery, because everything I learn leads me to ask more questions. It spins me into waves of curiosity and inspiration as infinite as the Universe itself. After consulting with the instructor and explaining my night vision issues, he agreed to let me take astronomy. There, what I had thought would be a liability turned out to be one of the most amazing assets to the class. Without all the clutter of the stars, I could find the visible planets and the stars we used for markers more quickly and easily than anyone else, including our professor. And, while I loved the process of finding out about that whole aspect of our world that I would never see, it was colored with a tinge of sadness. I still had to simply believe without seeing what I was being told. A telescope does not gather enough light to alter how much of the stars that I can see.
When I was sixteen years old, my father gave me the stars, handed them to me in the emerald green trappings of science. When I was sixteen years old, someone else stole the stars from me, and now, I have only the memories of them left. You cannot miss what you have never had. To have had only the barest taste and then lose it can almost be devastating.