I am the last.
I, Emlyn Parks, am the last person here. I was never meant to be; I was meant to leave, with the others. This part of me – the heart of my pain and loss – was meant to die. It should never have survived. I will not live long anyway. It has been a long journey, but now, as I stand on the edge of the world, I can do nothing but think of my future. Or, more precisely, my lack thereof.
I still remember the first time I saw it.
I was only ten when, as I stood before the darkness, it emerged. My memories are consumed by that figure. It had the shape of a human, but the features of a monster. Still, even during my waking moments, those burning eyes haunt me. That was the day that Mum never came home. As I woke screaming in bed, the monster woke beside me. The monster was the only one there when, at two in the morning, I lay waiting for Dad to come back, to get me something to eat. He never left when I was taken away: when Dad’s liver failed and they decided that he couldn’t look after me anymore. Yet, even as I walked alone through the darkness, I thought that the monster would leave, that he would let me go.
The monster became a part of me.
And the monster lashed out at everything I loved. I can still see, so painfully clearly the first day that I sat alone. The first day of the rest of my life. People don’t believe in monsters. We will only believe the blood and the scars that we can see. My friends never understood. They couldn’t see the monster. They only saw me. They didn’t know that it was the monster that forced them away.
Five years. In five years, everything has vanished. I was meant to have hope. I was meant to follow in the footsteps of my family: to fight for peace, battle for justice.
The only thing that I have ever fought is the monster.
Now, my family will not even see me win.
They left me. I was abandoned long ago. When the monster took over, I lost everything. I thought that I was meant to fight them; I was stupid enough to think that he could be defeated. I am trapped. I have always been trapped. Whilst the monster is here, I will never escape.
For years he has been my only companion. The hurt and the anger are the only things that I have heard. The monster’s grasp is iron, but no-one can see the bruises that his fists leave. I have been lost.
But now, I am here.
I have never been more awake. He has never let go for so long. Now I can feel the cold knives of the wind on my face and the stabbing of the grit beneath my feet. Now, I can feel the chilling emptiness of the world around me. The monster tried to make me forgot the outside world. All the monster let me keep was the heavy cloud weighing on my head. Now, the cloud is lifting.
And so, the fog may mist my eyes, the trees can blur and smudge, but I am strong. The road behind me is dead and broken, but ahead I can see an end. All I have to do is cross over. I have walked for years to find the answer, and now, it is so close that I could almost touch it.
And I let myself smile.
I smile because I know how to win. I know where the monster can’t touch me. All I have wanted for years is to sleep – sleep without nightmares, without waking. And now I can sleep. The monster cannot touch me. He cannot reach to the other side. I will win.
So, I drop my bag.
I step to the edge.
I am ready.
I hear a voice.