Every night as a child, I would part my curtains just enough that every car that passed would shine their headlights through the window, and cast eerie, sliding shadows on the wall. The lights would flicker, and faze in and out of focus for a few seconds before flashing on the brown, orange, and white zig-zag wallpaper that was the only decoration in my room. I was eight, I had just moved, and with a little bit of imagination, that room came alive.

The lighting made it easy to imagine that my walls were attached to a giant heart monitor that registered the pulsating movement within some obscenely large creature. If I stared long enough at one or two lines, they began to get wavy, and I often entertained the thought that if I just focused on keeping those two lines of rhythm from reaching me, I would somehow be safe.

I visualized whole scenes in which I was trapped in the bowels of the beast, and then I plotted my much exaggerated escapes. Usually said escapes involved some ninja action against seemingly insurmountable odds, and the strange inhabitants of my room. A stack of pillows became a 200 pound monster with dripping fangs and bulging muscles, and A coat draped over the back of my chair was a monster with bushy eyebrows and strange kinetic abilities. Sometimes I would make a fort out of blankets and sheets, and lie on my back with my head poking out one end, staring at the glow in the dark stars on my ceiling, and make-believing that they were holes in the monster from my faithful defenders (the bushes just outside).

I had to believe that there was someone looking out for me. . . I was eight, and impressionable, and I still believed that my parents WERE the world.

Eventually, my little day dreams started giving me nightmares, and my mom repapered the room in some suitably girly crap. . . But sometimes, even through the scent of the lilacs on my walls, I could feel the wind blowing an omen of the beast. I could see his eyes, watching me in the dark. I could feel him there with me. . . And then I realized that he was my best friend, and that he kept me company when it was dark. He chased away the monsters that lived under the bed. My best defender came from inside the monster.

I outgrew him, but I swear that he sometimes still visits me when I am alone. I will turn off my light, and he will be there in the shadow of my lava lamp, or the reflection of the christmas lights on my mirror.

He will be there in the shadows on the wall.