All We Need by Stephen Sierer

The monsters are there. The monsters are real. In all the old familiar spots. Under the bed. In the closet. Behind the door. Just. Outside. The window. The adults never see them. Whenever an adult comes to investigate the monster, it’s always ‘right there a second ago’. The monsters are still there. Adults can’t see them anymore because as you grow older, you lose your innocence. The innocence that believes, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that magic exists. That there are goblins and werewolves and zombies and other unknown evils out there in the world, just waiting for the chance to come and snatch us away. That you and only you… and sometimes your friends… are the only thing that stands between these unimaginable evils that threaten the world every day. It’s not something we do away with on purpose. Who would ever give up such wonderful secrets and powers and the goosebumps and pounding heart that came with every new unknown monster? It’s an unfortunate fact that it’s just something that happens as we grow older. The memories we have left of those bygone days and ‘childish’ beliefs are often looked upon fondly, if not simply reflecting on all the ‘pretending’ we did as children. But kids know the truth. They always will.

There are other monsters out there. Very real ones, too. They may indeed be that ‘lurking stranger’ or other unknown threat. Unfortunately, they may also be someone close. A teacher. A friend. Someone in your family. They could even be your mother or your father. The adults can see them, but much of the time don’t. Also unfortunately, many adults do see them. But by then, it is often too late. All too often, these monsters do not fade away when we lose our innocence. All too often, they are the thieves of our innocence. Thieves of our magic. It’s an unfortunate fact that it can be something that happens to us at any age. Young or old. The memories are the scars that cover the minds of those bygone days which, for some of us, could still be going on today. You can ‘pretend’ those very real monsters away, if you try hard enough. But survivors know the truth. They always will.

Hope. There is always hope. In everyone’s darkest moments, they can still cling tightly to hope. Hope for a way out. Hope to be found. Hope to be rescued. Hope to survive. And hope to rebuild. All we need is light. To shed light in those dark corners. To shine the light under that bed. Put the brightest lights on those very real monsters that caused you very real harm. As an innocent child, it can be the flashlight or the bedroom light that saves the day. As a helpless victim, it can be the light of discovery. And if you’re ever charged to be that light? Just remember this. All you need to do is to shine brightly in someone’s darkness.

  • : General Fiction


  1. Kim

    an excellent commentary on the subject of abuse Stephen.
    your conversational tone is fluid and very relatable. and of course, I appreciate that analogy with imagined monsters to the more real, and infinitely more dangerous, ones in real life.

    I perhaps would be inclined to change the wording ever so slightly in this sentence :
    Unfortunately, they may also be someone close. – to ‘ they may also be someone dear to us’ – just to draw the distinction of not just being ‘close’ in proximity but ‘close’ by familiarity.

    I would love to see you use this as a synopsis to create a work of fiction out of this . think it would be fantastic – and you clearly have the chops for it!

    nicely done!

  2. maria delaney

    Hi Stephen,

    I agree with Kim. Your take on child abuse is outstanding. My Father always said, “Don’t be afraid of the dead Maria they can no longer hurt you. It’s the living that should frighten the bejeebers out of you. They still walk the earth.”
    I believe you have written an amazing piece on just that!


  3. Stephen Sierer Post author

    Kim, thank you so much for the comments and the very good suggestion! It is very much appreciated.

    Maria, thanks so much!

    Speculative, Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

  4. Irene

    A powerful story. I treasured the last line. I am pleased the awareness of harm ( whatever the age ) is being recognized more and more. The use of an everyday item, like a flashlight, shows how ease and empathy are nearby.

  5. Stephen Sierer Post author

    I don’t normally ever write anything so serious (read: NEVER). I am happy you have all enjoyed it. And that the message was clear. I started this off with NO idea where it was going to go after that first paragraph. When I got to the end, that’s just what spilled out of my head!

  6. Bonnie

    Hi, Stephen,

    I really liked the choppy sentences in the beginning for effect, “Just. Outside. The window.” chills! I think you have the start of a really powerful piece here. I like how you allude to what is seen and unseen, along with the darkness and the light. Great work! -Bonnie