I was told that monsters do not exist. They told this to me and to all my friends, more or less at the age of seven, that vampires, ghosts, boogiemen and zombies do not exist. It is all a fabrication.
But monsters exist, although, sometimes we pretend they don’t. Monsters arrive when we try to suppress our sensations, not to feel them, to distort them.
If I deal with what I have in my mind, when I’m not thinking too lucidly, my problems, my paranoia and my fears can destroy me, ruin my life, appearing much more monstrous than how they actually are.
A long time had passed, we thought we were grown ups. We were always together, Gionata, Alex, crazy Oscar and I. We spent childhood playing with anything; we had nothing, we spent our afternoons doing everything:
sneaking into abandoned factories, causing damage around. One day, Oscar went to the car park, our meeting place, with a packet of his mother’s cigarettes and a lighter.
Without being so sure, after having questioned each one of us whether we were brave enough. Eventually the four of us, had smoked.
We were over the moon.
But sometimes the moon is not enough. Sometimes you want to go further, in the darkness that is in front of you.
We had already tried to drink alcohol, we often ended up getting drunk. Back then we were only thirteen. A long time had passed when Alex told us he had also tried smoking joints.
He had done it with an elder guy he knew in the local bar. It is true, he had surprised us, but this certainly didn’t stop us. The first one who asked if he could try was Oscar, as usual. And we went after him.
We had grown fast. We went to high school, starting to enjoy ourselves. We thought we understood how the world worked. We could do anything, passing our afternoons high also drinking and going around.
We also started going to parties where we met our first girls. It was all new, we had a great desire to do anything. We tried our first pills. We wanted to see for ourselves.
Every night out was like a challenge to the rest of the world. Each and every Saturday we were always pushing a little further.
Nobody had ever told us what could happen.
That evening we went to the mountains, there was a party at the house of a friend of Gionata. We were loaded, we had everything we needed. We started the evening by smoking, playing at Twister with some guys from school.
There were chips and beers, joints and music, we were having fun like idiots. Then came the time, that we all were waiting for. Gionata came with a cake, saying, “Here guys, this is your ticket for the Moon.”
After half an hour, each one said to see some absurd things around the house. Strange Lights, Smurfs and Super Mario.
I was regretting not having eaten that slice of cake. I saw everyone having fun, I was thinking I was just an idiot, being scared of a cake. It was just fear, in the end.
I was about to let myself go when Oscar started screaming. I remember the face that Oscar had that night. It’s the same grimace he still has today.
Always the same.
We were trying to keep him still, to make him recover. He ran away, and tried to get away, throwing us what he found at reach. When we approached him, he could not attack us. He did not give us punches, he did not push us.
He was completely terrified. If I knew what was going on I’d let him go straight away, even with the risk of him running around like that.
That night no one had explained the effects of that drug. In fact we do not even know what we took; In the hospital they said that inside that cake there were hallucinogens.
The doctor explained that when you take this kind of substance, you see things that do not exist. Hallucinations.
But these things are not always nice. If, as they say in jargon, “it kicks in well” then you can meet your favorite cartoons, you’re fine and you laugh at it like crazy.
But if you get paranoid, if you take hallucinogens, and something disturbs you, or if you’re afraid of something, then what has happened to Oscar will happen surely to anyone. He had ” a bad trip”.
What they told us is that Oscar started to see zombies that night. They came from all sides, they were walking around the house. Probably, the doctor said, he also saw us as zombies.
He thought we wanted to eat him alive. As we talked to him, he felt surreal sounds and bubbling, so he tried to run away and yelled at us. He could not defend himself.
Although what he saw and felt was not real, he really felt bites on his skin, he most certainly felt the pain.
As we kept him calm, to calm him, his mind and his senses had brought him to a parallel world, in which a group of monsters held him and ate him alive.
Those hallucinations exhausted him, but he could not die. He continued to live this nightmare until the ambulance arrived. He had this bad trip for a couple of hours.
Maybe they had already explained him what might happen. Maybe having eaten that cake nevertheless, and became scared that something bad could happen, until his worst nightmares had actually become true.
Today, Oscar has not completely awakened from that dream. He still has that expression in his face. He is sure that he has no skin, because the zombies have eaten it.
He perceives his body as if mutilated. He lives with his mother, he is given a disability pension. He had turned 26 years old last month. We all went to see him, me, Alex and Gionato.
We really care about him, even if he doesn’t remember who we are.
Monsters exist, though sometimes we pretend they don’t. Unfortunately, not always everything goes as we expect. Sometimes, monsters arrive.