Life went on after the “accident”, and almost everything went back to the way they should be. I fell back into my routine. Many asked about my new scars, and I always lied. I told them that some random druggie had mugged me, and that he had cut me when I refused to give up my hard earned money. Who would ever believe that I had been mauled by a monster and a gorgeous stranger I dreamed of rescued me, and told me we were meant to be together? No one, that’s who. I kept my secret. I did my best to cover the marks when with company, but some days there was simply no helping it. I hated the looks I got from friends and strangers alike. Looks of sympathy followed me everywhere I went. I hated leaving the house, but I pushed onward. Though I fell back into my normal routines, I hated them in a way I never had before. Teachers began to baby me, my parents always tread lightly, and people at school always stopped to tell me they were sorry. I didn't want them to be sorry. I wanted them to look at me directly, to not be afraid to bump into me. I wanted to play fight with my best friends, like before, but they were too scared of triggering any “phantom pain”. I never felt pain there, if anything, I felt stronger in that arm, more in charge. It was wonderful. I never saw another creature like that since, and I would have assumed it was all a dream except for the scar that permanently graced my arm. I look at it from time to time, even today, when I need strength. I loved my newest addition to my myriad of imperfections. I think of it as my symbol of strength, because I survived an attack from a monster I didn't even know existed. I never saw that man again, either. I think he truly was a dream. Who knows? Maybe it was all a dream and I really had been mugged. I finished high school, and graduated with honors as valedictorian. My encounter with the monster and the perfect stranger had restored my faith in the unknown. It was the summer after high school, and I wasn't sure what to do next. I knew I would have to attend a university or get a job soon, but I was in a junction of my life, and I would have to decide the entire rest of my life in the next couple of months. I reveled in my freedom, away from the restrictions of school and living with my parents. It was wonderful to do only what I wanted to do, and not have to worry about anyone else in the meantime. My outlook on life had changed overnight, ever since that night when I met the monster. Now the normal, boring life I had dreamed of for myself was not, enough. I needed more. I became a thrill seeker, traveling to places where adrenaline reigned. Those places became my haven. My place to think, to plan, to dream. every time the thrill factor was at it’s peak, I would close my eyes and see the monster, then the only words the wonderful stranger had uttered. “We will have another encounter soon, Belvedare. It is our destiny. You are my mate.” Then like smoke, he vanished before my very eyes, and the vision would end, abruptly so, and then suddenly, it would be over, and I would feel drained and exhausted.