Title: Manticore Childhood
Author: Ashantai
E-Mail: ashantai@hotmail.com
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I own nothing and nobody.

http://devoted.to/x5

Author's Note: Check out Chapter 16 of my story Strange Fruit posted today, too!

MANTICORE CHILDHOOD

What was my childhood?

My childhood was a classroom of lies-
Duty is everything, discipline and strength,
teamwork and the mission.
All else did not matter, or didn't exist.
We were not told what the world was like.
We didn't know there was a world outside.
But the walls were high and strong,
The fences topped with barbed wire,
So we knew there was something.

What was my childhood?

My childhood was sparring and exercising,
Practice missions in a dark forest
with live ammunition firing close.
We knew truth as what they told us was truth.
Our thoughts were what they told us to think.
We were not afraid-
We didn't know to be.
We were perfect. We were invincible.
We were lied to.

What was my childhood?

My childhood was a story in the night-
of monsters in the basement,
or of a princess with a future.
Dogs barking, guns,
the sterile smell of death.
A child shaking, afraid.
They said he was too imperfect to live.
They saw his flaws, his weaknesses.
They did not see that he was my brother.

What was my childhood?

My childhood never was. It was stolen from me
in a test tube before I was born,
filled with genes that were not meant to be merged
and laced with instincts I cannot control
and habits I cannot shake.
I lived my first years in a hell
of silent halls and cold steel instruments,
of fear and pain and punishment,
of barking dogs and machine guns in too-small hands.

What was my childhood?

My childhood was a family I built for myself,
With names we gave each other
Because all we had were cold designations.
Fear is what they used on us,
what they tried to control us with.
Love is what we found ourselves.
We learned from each other
What they wouldn't teach us
and didn't want us to know was real.

What was my childhood?

My childhood was a fear we lived with all our lives
but knew in our deepest bones was wrong.
We ran away, together.
A long time passed.
Whatever childhood I'd once had disappeared.
I grew up. I lost touch while I ran
from a home of confusion and fear
to a world that was at least better.
I was alone.

What was my childhood?

My childhood was my brothers and sisters.
They kept me sane. They kept me alive.
We were safe together.
We ran away for freedom together
but lost one another along the way.
And I don't know now whether to hate
the place, the pain there, the hell it was,
Or to love my childhood for the love
that was my family now gone.