Rebirth by A.R We thought you might enjoy this piece of original fiction, written by one of our mentees. I am sure you will agree it is powerfully written and shows how one young person finds the comfort they need to survive a troubled childhood. As his bedroom door slammed once again and the sound of his parents raised voices reverberated in his ears, Aiden helplessly collapsed onto his bed. The only sound emitting from his dry lips was that of numb cries as he silently screamed the pure bloodied agony into his wrinkled sheets. Bleeding out the words engraved into his mind by his father. The small frail body of the six year old so torn up beyond repair that even a saint couldn’t fix his emotional wounds. The room soundlessly suffocated him in sheer stillness, a gentle breeze pooling through his window just marginally cracked open. His small room painted endlessly with blank walls, a dirty rug- but yet a faint warm glow seeping from beneath the slit of the door was just about enough to let the hollow shroud in a dim light. For a moment, the shouting, the breaking of empty beer bottles, cries, from downstairs halted. Just like how a country would sit in silence to remember the loss of great warriors, but in this case, it was to mourn the death of his damned dignity. The whole house fell into a deep quietness, and so did he; because soon enough the treacherous sound of footsteps awoke the once pleasant peace. “That child is utterly useless.” A man slurred to himself as he trod across the landing, the sound of a human body staggeringly moving stopped just outside Aiden’s door. As the boy clenched his teeth in anticipation, his body lay behind his quilt as if a shield of protection- time had seemingly slowed and the world was enveloped into silence; but only for an instance. The ringing in his ears wouldn’t pause its constant replay until his father’s steps granted him the breath of air he was subconsciously holding in. The small boy’s slight relaxation after knowing he was freed for the night, seemed to have disturbed something else lurking amidst the darkness of his room- and to his unknowing it had been there the entire time. As if awaiting to be called out, a thin slender frame of a creature steadily scrambled from beneath the bed. The child’s uneasiness was what had essentially summoned the entity to begin with. But as Aiden’s tired eyes quickly fixated themselves on the being, formed by a void of shadows with only two dilated white orbs misplacing where the boy could only imagine were eyes, he let out a muffled wince and with all energy in his weak frame- tried to push himself away. “L-Leave me alone!” The minuscule creature just stood there, seemingly at ease as it stared at the child, but momentarily blinking; Aiden couldn’t make a sound in fear that he’d awake his parents. Though before the young boy could express any more sense of horror, the shadow shifted. And in its whereabouts was a petite umbra animal that resembled a moth. Aiden watched, a little on edge but nonetheless starting to realise that such a creature couldn’t harm him. In actuality, it fluttered over and settled down on the post of his bed. The boy glanced around for a moment, still sat up and partially hidden beneath his quilt as he edged ever so slightly closer to the animal. Whatever it was, made him feel Somewhat at ease, he felt safe, comfortable. His eyes softened slightly as they laced across the fine details of the entity. The shadow didn’t seem so bad now. “Hey, little guy..” Aiden muttered, confused, but willing to accept his new temporary companion. Or so he thought this was temporary. “Do you have a name?” It wasn’t long before the six year old began opening up a little more, the idea of this strange creature hanging around with him wasn't the worst. And he needed someone, even if they were to just sit and listen. “I’ll call you Kai.” The weeks turned into months and then to years with Aiden confiding within Kai every night that the aching loneliness wracked his body. Sometimes he would appear as a moth much like that very first night, but other times he seemed to morph into other small creatures to keep him company in what increasingly became his prison cell. Night after night he was banished to this tiny, cramped and rather damp corner of the house to his own stricken grief and contemplation, it was only Kai’s constant presence that kept him from becoming, almost certainly, unhinged. The two of them were solely inseparable, harnessing one another's wishes and secrets. Yet one day, that all changed. Having spent his teenage years clocking up enough money, soon after graduation he escaped the wrath of his childhood home to a small apartment within the city. Falling back onto a freshly made bed, he forcefully exhaled what air resided in his lungs. “Kai, don’t you think this is great?” Aiden sighed softly, slowly sitting up as his fierce eyes jumped around every corner of his new room. Pausing for a moment, he tried to distinguish the small creature’s presence with him at all. But nothing. “Kai..?” Nothing again. Aiden quickly scrambled to the edge of his bed, peering over to see that his friend- was in fact gone. As if there was any way to describe how quickly the man shot up in search for his shadow companion, it all ended with no avail. Had he done something wrong? Did Kai miraculously get lost? As the hours turned into days, and the days into weeks. Aiden slowly began to realise something, that he in fact no longer needed Kai. The creature had come to him at a time of pure hopelessness, and when it felt as if the days had just moulded themselves together to form one endless circle. He was actually enjoying himself now, and if anything- able to live out his life just as he had dreamed. Aiden could only hope that Kai was proud of how far he had come; despite only being a fragment of his imagination all that time.