There is a dragon that follows me, dogs my footsteps, haunts my dreams, threatens my very existence. It is not by any shred of imagination a pet dragon, though sometimes I am driven to taunt it. And I have shamefully been known to drag it out of its lair and stroke it almost tenderly. It is a sinister creature.
Most often this hideous entity lurks in the shadows of my life. It waits and it rumbles. It is not patient.
I hate this creature. I despise it with every fiber of my being and I vow to destroy it from my life, once and for all. It becomes smaller. It avoids my wrath. I am free.
But am I truly free? In fear I look into the shadows of my life. What is my life without this battle, this thing to fight me? With whom, or with what, shall I fight if not this hated thing? What is the direction of my life if I am not herded by its presence? But, still it hides, so I will wait for it, and I know that I am indeed, not free.
It slithers into the small places. Its cold, unmoving eyes have found me. Its tongue stings the perfume of my joy and my footstep falters. I can kick this thing from my feet and stomp it away. I can move away from it. I can run. Slowly it wraps its constricting body around my legs until I can barely move, but it cannot touch my heart, it cannot stop my song. I will live; I will shout the praises of the One Most High.
But the thing becomes heavy. Where is my strength, where is my weapon of choice. I will slay this hated beast. With my own brute strength I will master this thing while it is still small. I am proud. I am -- I am -- I am
I am alone.
The dragon leaps out, morphed from the slithering, suffocating python wrapped around my soul. I feel its hot, stinking breath on my face. The dragon entangles me tighter in its scaly grip and I can feel its claws rip the pleasure from my throat. Pain is the only way of life, pain is a comfort. I find a fetid sense of peace in the stench of its flames. I will sleep in its arms and I will never have to fight again. It is the way it must be. I look one last time into its dead eyes to find my reflection. I am part of it now.
Another reflection can be seen. I have a child. I have a mate. I have a friend. I know my friend will grieve for me and I find no pleasure in that. I know my mate will learn to live without me, and that does not hurt me. I see the terror in the eyes of my child and I know that this thing cannot take me away. I must protect my child from anything that will cause harm or fear. I know that I can never hurt my child and I will not let this dragon take me.
I am not alone; I have a child who must see me strong.
I have no strength, I have no secret weapon. I slip from the deceitful trap of the dragon that I hate. I am tired, but I live. I will one day find a way to slay this dragon.