Bats in the Belfry (a short story)

Originally written July, 2018.

There is a bat, living inside of me. She calls my stomach chamber her home, and she nestles up my esophagus for warmth. Sometimes I catch her, lodged at the back of my mouth, unseeing eyes desperate for a glance of the outside, a taste of the air. When that happens, I swallow as hard as I can. I would gulp down water, fire, earth, air – if it meant she would retreat into the woods of my gut.

Some people have bats in their heads, their ‘belfries’; but not me, no. I would never be so lucky. See, when they’re up there, they latch onto your brain, sink their teeth into the pink flesh. It is symbiotic, but not mutually beneficial. The bats are a parasite, sucking out all the good, pure thoughts – you know, the classic neurotypical ones – draining and draining you until you are nothing but a bag of lethargy.

At this point, at your penultimate low, they replenish you. Not with your original thoughts, oh, no; those are as good as gone as the wind is in space. They fill you up with their own erratic thoughts, ones with arms and legs and claws and talons that writhe and crawl as much as they can, whispering sweet evils into your mind and coercing you into believing those brutal and dishonest lies.

That’s what a bat in your head does. I would take that over this any day.

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