• Never ride your bike at night when its pitch black, with the moon nowhere in sight and where there are only four goddamn streetlamps to light the entire block. Never ride your bike the night before Halloween, or in other words, “Mischief Night”, where there are bound to be other delinquents out roaming the pavement in twos and threes, lurking behind every bush and shadow, some friend, some foe. Never should anyone be so dumb.

    In my naive age of nine, I did just that.

    “Stay close to your brother, don’t leave his side, no matter what,” my mother shouted to my brother and I before leaving on our night out of not-so-innocent tomfoolery. She continued even after we were long into the darkness, where she was only a slight silhouette within the confines of a yellow rectangle. At that point, we were past the edge of the lawn, a vast black ocean of slender blades only noticeable with the passing of a chilly autumn breeze, from which they swayed. It was a truly haunting night, no silver moon to light a path, or twinkling star to look up in need of comfort. We immersed ourselves in complete blackness.

    When your nine years old, your imagination is limitless, and what’s worse is that it’s uncontrollable, and beyond that, it gives life to the unknown. While riding my bike – yes, riding my bike because I was an extremely lazy and obese child who didn’t like to walk – I witnessed a black cat that crossed my path. The sight alone was terrifying enough to pucker your a*****e so tight, it would’ve given a middle-aged man a muscle cramp that’d be sore for weeks. The monster was huge, about twenty feet tall – well, at least its shadow was, for that was the subject of my attention – that scared me stiff and motionless. But the moment it raised its paw and hissed, was the moment I hightailed it out of there, full speed, which in reality, wasn’t that fast. If it was a real, twenty-foot tall, cat-monster, I would not be here today.

    I had no care in the world, but to get as far away from that creature as physically possible, which meant leaving my older brother behind to fend for himself against a demonic creature of the night. I rode nonstop into the abyssal obscurity of nothingness paved in front of me, only slowing down to catch a breath or two. At this point, I left sight and logical reasoning at the door of my home. Panting exhausted, with legs and hands rapidly shaking, the only sound I heard was the sound of my own heartbeat thumping against my chest – never mind the sound of gears turning from another bicycle down the road. Boom! Crash! Whatever sound we made, it was loud, and so were my screams. The other cyclist and I fused together in that one moment, creating a tapestry of blood, flesh, and metal.

    I received three scars from that night – two upon my knees and one on my elbow. I also acquired several wounds along my face, one being on the upper right-hand side of my forehead, straight out of Harry Potter. I still look back on that night, and laugh to myself about how naive a nine-year-old can be. I then truly try to imagine if I’m doing anything differently now, or am I still running from the fears my mind creates, ultimately crashing in utter failure.