I was first taken when I was eight years old, pulled through the wall of my bedroom by the lights. Eight seems to be a common age among people like me, a common starting point to something that changes the rest of our lives.

They say that when you're taken, you see the white light, and then you don't remember anything. They're wrong. You don't remember anything, but your subconcious does, and let me tell you, it scares the hell out of you. Out of the people around you, when they find out that you're not, in the truest sense of the word, a normal human being.

How do I measure the times I've been taken? Do I number them by minutes of lost time? Nosebleeds? Times I've woken up screaming from nightmares about the lights? Scars on my body that weren't there the day before? No. Those are all indicators, side effects. The real way I measure is the tears of loved ones. Every time I wake up screaming, crying, shaking, my wife shares my tears. Why? Because she's scared. She's afraid for me, and it hurts. Every time my children hear me yelling at the lights, they cry. Why? Because they're scared. Afraid, because their father, me, the one who is supposed to be the symbol of strength and leadership, is afraid. Fear. Fear and tears, that's how I measure my experience with the lights. The nosebleeds, the scars, those are all the side effects, they don't really matter, and they are not why I hate the lights.

I hate the lights because my wife is seeing a marriage counselor, trying to find the strength to deal with me. I hate the lights because I can't sleep anymore, can't rest without fragments of parts of shattered memories surfacing to torment me. I hate the lights because my neighbors think that I am clinically insane. I hate the lights because my children are afraid of me, their own father.

I hate the lights because they are tearing my family, my life, apart.