The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
"You do not write your life with words... You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do."
"There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between."
"Stories are wild creatures - the monster said. - When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?"
"Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both."
"- Because humans are complicated beasts - the monster said. - How can a queen be both a good witch and a bad witch? How can a prince be a murderer and a saviour? How can an apothecary be evil-tempered but right-thinking? How can a parson be wrong-thinking but good-hearted? How can invisible men make themselves more lonely by being seen?
- I don't know - Connor shrugged, exhausted. - Your stories never made any sense to me.
- The answer is that it does not matter what you think - the monster said - because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both."
"There was once an invisible man who had grown tired of being unseen. It was not that he was actually invisible. It was that people had become used to not seeing him.
And if no one sees you, are you really there at all?"