They said I would meet five beasts on my way to find you.
I met the first one in the dark, as I was falling asleep under a weeping willow. It had come with a warning, like a rattlesnake. It had taken its time to stay at my tail, making itself known slowly yet surely. Like a shadow I always knew was there, at the back of my mind, never could be shaken off. I had thought of ways to defeat the beast when it finally dared to show itself to me. An elixir, a sword, a curse, and just sheer willpower… anything that my mother and her mother before her had tried and failed. By the time I reached the weeping willow, I had accepted it. The first beast ate all my memories.
The second beast had been with me since the moment I came out of my mother’s womb. I had known it all my life. I had feared it all my life. And what it wanted from me, well, what it wanted from me… I never even managed to fully form it. What it had always desired were my dreams. The dreams I made out of clay. Because each time I spin the wheel for too long, the beast would emerge, lured by the smell, and fought to take a bite. I battled it every time. Again and again and again. Some days I won, some days it won… but on that day, I finally realized I would never finish molding the clay. Thus, I just let the second beast eat all my dreams.
When the third beast came along, I was lying in a desert, half my body covered in sand. I could not even feel the infernal heat anymore. The third beast was gentle, thank God. Everyone I knew had met this beast one way or another. It had come in different forms and I had always feared it when I witnessed it in the past. But when it finally came to eat my flesh, I could feel nothing but relief. In that windy desert, when my skin had dissolved and my bones were turning into dust… the beast gently crept to my side and every so slowly, almost lovingly, it devoured my withering body.
The fourth beast pushed me down a bottomless, dark pit. As I was falling, it descended on me like an eagle, its sharp claws cutting the air. I never knew about this beast before. I could not fathom what it wanted… what is left of me that it could want to consume? And I realized that even though by then, I could remember nothing and no one, I could feel nothing and no one, I could desire for nothing and no one, I was still me. The essence of what I was… left out in the open with no shield or armor or even flesh. That was what the beast wanted. So it tore apart my soul and ate each scrap with a gulp.
And then, I found you.
But they said there were five beasts.
What do you want to eat?