Enter the Animal

Enter the animal. He prowls like a cat. But he’s a monster unknown. He’s a creature prehistoric, an enigma that stalks the night looking for victims to satisfy his appetite for fresh flesh and streaming blood. The sky darkens and leaves in the trees quiver and pull themselves close to their parent branches when he slinks through the dense undergrowth, searching for prey. Birds fall from the sky, overcome with horror, incapable of moving their wings when he passes beneath them. Even the wind howls in terror at  his approach, uncertain as to his intent or his capacity to inflict torment of epic proportions. The beast has razor-sharp teeth, powerful jaws, eyes that see through stone and steel, and claws capable of shredding granite and hope in a single swipe. The aroma of death accompanies him through the forest, sending even the fiercest wolves sprinting away in abject panic, in the baseless hope of saving their lives. When he slithers next to a tree, its bark blisters and falls to the ground in smoking clumps, offering evidence of the heat of rage barely contained within him. This animal leaves pools of anguish and desperation in his wake. Every step he take leaves a hot impression in the soil upon which nothing green will ever grow again.

Should you encounter this animal, abandon your dreams. Give up hope for a future. Cede all your wishes and acquiesce to the reality that hopelessness will forever rule your head and your heart. Do not attempt to capture or kill the beast. Bullets that pierce his leathery skin dissolve into steam and serve only to feed his venomous anger. Axes bounce off his impenetrable fur. Poisons serve as elixirs, giving him even greater strength. He rips through steel cages as if they were as soft as yogurt. There is nothing one can do to escape his claws, once his target’s scent enters his nostrils. He is relentless in hunting his prey. He will hunt his quarry to the ends of the earth to satisfy his craving for flesh. Even death cannot save his victims because his claws,  in their quest for satisfaction, can rip through the fabric of time and shred the gossamer membrane between life and its absence. Eternity is no salvation from his appetite. And know this: he is coming. He is pacing just outside your safe haven. He is beneath your window, just outside your door, under your bed, in the closet, waiting for you in the kitchen cupboard. Even sitting silently in the back seat or the trunk of your car, ready to spring at that moment when you are your most vulnerable. He resides inside your subconscious when you are awake and lurks in the corners of your dreams. He is there. He is waiting. He will strike. Know it. Accept it. Relish it if you can.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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