The Real Monster (warning disturbing deals with child abuse)


My mom doesn’t understand why I no longer eat dinner in her company. Why I take my plate to my room and return hungry with empty dishes. She doesn’t notice the stench. The uneaten food rotting inside my closet’s counterfeit womb.


His name is Freddy and I saw him in a movie. Adults can’t see him. I’ve tried to make friends with him. Even monsters need to eat. If your nice to people they’ll be nice to you, at least that’s what they say in church. In practice I haven’t been able to make it work. I must be bad on the inside.


“Freddy’s gonna get me…” I look over my shoulder at mom while we’re watching television. She comes over and kneels beside me. Can she see him too? I don’t understand her questions, only her fear. I should comfort her. I don’t want her to get mad she’ll pull my hair or worse hold her hand over my mouth and nose until I can’t breathe anymore. Freddy’s more of a bogeyman than a person. Sometimes I see him on television and often when I sleep. Well technically I don’t see him because it’s too dark but I know he’s there. She seems relieved. I don’t feel better for having told her. If anything I feel worse. He’ll punish me for telling on him. I wonder if he can hear us talking from the other world? I wonder if he can hear my thoughts even when I’m awake? I wonder if he knows how much I hate him and if that scares him just a little?


“What happens if he gets hungry?” I tug on my mom’s sleeve. She’s scooping up the waste from several days worth of uneaten dinners. She seems more startled than angry. She doesn’t even spank me despite the mess.


“What have you done? The food will attract roaches…” The smell is really awful. I feel sick. I can tell from my mom’s expression that she doesn’t “hear” me. “Freddy can’t hurt you…he’s not real…you’re just having bad dreams…” I let her clean the closet without interfering, the food wasn’t really working anyways.


I know that Freddy’s real, that my dreams are real. His breath smells like ash and there’s blood from where he cuts me inside. I keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to anger him anymore than I already have. I have to be a good girl and when I am good enough bad things won’t happen. God will take me to heaven when I am good enough.


This happened when I was about 4 I was terrified of Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elmstreet films (which I was allowed to watch). I now know that it was a real life monster attacking me in my sleep, my father but at that time I simply could not process the situation. The pain, the smell of ash (Freddy’s burnt and my dad is a smoker), the fact that it was happening to me in my sleep my child mind invented an alternate explanation. I was religious as a child.

Written for

Tale Weaver Prompt #1

44 responses to “The Real Monster (warning disturbing deals with child abuse)

  1. i am so very sorry you had to endure this and so very happy you survived to tell. you may help many others by sharing your story, those who are afraid to tell their own. this was a very powerful post. i hope that you are learning to cope with what wasn’t your fault and know that all children are good, and some adults are not. hugs, beth

    • Thank you so much for your kind and sensitive comment. In the near future I will be evaluated for PSTD and start treatment. My life now is good. I married a wonderful man and my mom has went to therapy and has made tremendous changes in her life. Including leaving my father and marrying a good man. I have reconciled with my mom and couldn’t be more proud of the woman she has now become. As for my dad we are not in contact at all. He is a psychopath (literally) and it just wasn’t safe or healthy.

  2. I am hoping that by releasing this and the poetry that you write that you are healing. Sharing this sadness of your childhood, is brave, but I do hope the outcome is beneficial for you. Did your mum do those things to you also? I’m very taken back by this story and as Beth, Helen, Gramen and Scotty have written I am so sorry that you had to experience this destruction as a young and innocent child. Hugs xx

    • My mom was never sexually abusive to me. My mom had post partum and for her it was extreme she was also being abused herself by my father. She had a very volatile temper. She was neglectful and physically/psychologically abusive. When she got out of the relationship with my father she started to turn her life around. Of course she did not change instantaneously it has taken a long time but she is a different person now

  3. I am sorry for all that you have faced. And through your poetry and words, I see in you a faucet letting all the pain drip away. I hope it is a sort of release for you by sharing your story. And I wish you all the very best in life. 🙂

  4. I am astounded at how honest you can write this without coming across negatively to your audience. That is a gift in and of itself. I am not sure if anyone else could have written about such crippling fear without coming across as something more or less than who they really are.

  5. This is so powerfully written. By reading your comments I’m glad to hear you’re in a better place, but to have gone through that is just heartbreaking. Your writing is so deep and haunting. This just really captivated me.

  6. Candice, I can’t click the ‘like’ button. This was too much for me. I have tears in my eyes. I am ever so sorry you had to go through this abuse. But thank God you are safe and happy today with a lovely husband. You are a brave and beautiful person in and out, never forget that!

    Incidentally, I’m writing a novel about incest, well, sort of a romantic suspense, but about incest, a father abusing his two daughters, one of whom is my heroine.

    Thank you for sharing Candice.You are my heroine! 🙂

  7. My sweet, amazing and strong friend….I know some of your past and this just broke my heart. You have overcome so much and I am always touched by your strength but also your vulnerability. Sending you so much love and thank you for trusting others with your words.

  8. All I can say is that I am so very sorry you endured this treatment and that I am going to sit and pray for all the children of the world going through this very thing right now. It is simply horrible. {{Hugs}}

  9. Saying sorry will never be enough for those of us who have suffered such violence, but I really am sorry that you’ve had to experience this. Wish could round up all the abusers out there and make them pay.

    I can tolerate a lot of things but people who abuse animals and children deserve a slow painful death. I’m happy that you now have a better life. You deserve to be happy. Sending hugs whether you want them or not 😀

  10. I am so sorry you had to endure that horror growing up. I’m also you found this outlet of writing to help purge that ugliness and make you strong. I’m glad you found happiness today. You deserve it.

  11. Gotta say it. This got me. Wow. Just wow. The things we invent to process the real life horror that happens to us, eh? I’m glad you’re writing about this. It really is so necessary.

  12. As Melanie says, sorry is not enough,and words seem so inadequate, but sometimes that’s all we can offer. Watching ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ at 4 yrs old would be traumatic in itself, add to that being abused by your father – horrific 😦 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the ease with which a human can procreate is nature’s design flaw. Some people are simply incapable and undeserving of the responsibility of a child. I admire your strength and honesty so much; I know it’s not easy dredging up the past to write about it. RESPECT xoxo

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