Thief always finds you when you are weak and hurting. It comes to you in the night and it promises great things: pleasure, escape, peace, relief. It promises that you’ll forget the trauma of your childhood, the pain of your broken dreams, the depression that fogs your mind, the loneliness that never leaves you.
“I ask no price!” Thief says. “Just let me give you a taste of my riches.”
You stretch out your hand cautiously at first. After all, what could it hurt? Just one little taste can’t harm anyone, right? You can always leave it behind. Nothing is forcing you to do it. You choose this by your own free will.
Thief gives you a momentary flash of everything it promises. For a few seconds, you think, “I have found the secret to happiness!” You feel relief, you feel excitement, you feel false peace, and you never want to let it go.
But it passes too quickly and you find yourself alone with your thoughts and your pain once more. It wasn’t enough. You need more. Thief comes to you again and offers you what you want.
“There are no strings attached.” It promises. “I am your servant. Command me to leave and I obey…ask me to stay and I will never leave you.”
And so you become bolder. You take more of the potion that Thief offers. Every time you need more, more, more as you seek to satisfy your thirst.
“I’m the only one who understands.” Thief says and it caresses you as you weep. “Think of all of the people who have hurt you. You wouldn’t be in so much pain if it wasn’t for them. They don’t deserve you. Have I ever hurt you?”
“No.” You whimper. “No, you haven’t.”
“Have I ever abandoned you?”
“Have I ever taken everything from you, destroyed your happiness, and stolen your life?”
“No, you’re not like them.”
Thief smiles softly. “I give you the world. I give you what no one else can. I am the only one who will stay by your side. Let us be friends. Give me your time, your money, your heart and you will see the amazements that I give in return.”
You give yourself to the sweet whispers and turn your back on the friends that seek to bring you true healing and help – even if it hurts.
Before long, you find that you cannot live without Thief. It is in your thoughts always. You dream of it. You write of it. You create it and imagine it in your mind. You plan your whole life around it. You hide it from everyone else – they won’t understand, they can’t understand. It’s better this way.
Sometimes you wrestle with Thief and entertain thoughts of leaving it behind. After all, you still are in control, right? You can leave anytime you wish. At least that’s what you make yourself believe.
Thief has traded rolls – you are the slave, it the master. But you don’t know it. Your eyes are blinded and you cling desperately to Thief. You think it is the only thing that keeps you from going insane.
Thief begins to make demands. “Why do you withhold your money from me? Haven’t I given you everything? Is this the way that you return my kindness?”
You give more and more money. When yours runs out, you steal and lie to gain a few dollars that will silence the demanding voice and give you the magic happiness that becomes less and less satisfying with each dose.
“Give me your time.” Thief cries. “How dare you waste so much time on God, on your family, on hobbies? I deserve it all! Give it, or I shall leave you.”
“No!” You cry. “I will give it, but promise me that you will stay.”
At last you are wasted. You have given everything for moments of pleasure, seconds of relief and false promises. You look at your life and you realize that none of this had to happen. It was Thief’s fault. So you determine that it is time for you and Thief to part ways.
You are shocked to find how large Thief has become. Once it was so small and frail that you could have killed it with a word. Now it towers above you and is as hard as stone. You quiver and tremble, but you think, “I am still master, am I not?”
You say this to Thief and it laughs haughtily.
“Go!” It says. “Go back to the family who you stole from and lied to and abused. Try to put yourself back together. You’ll never be happy without me.”
You square your shoulders and try to block out the voice of Thief as it calls to you and tells you of all of your mistakes. You are master, you can break free.
You return to your past life and you find that so much has changed. You find that the people you loved so dearly look at you with hurt eyes or hurl insulting words at you. You go to bed lonelier and more hopeless than ever. Thief is by your side again.
“They’ll never take you back. You’ve messed up too badly. Why would they want someone like you in their lives?”
You weep in despair.
“Come back to me. I always forgive. I don’t hold grudges. I’m here for you when everyone else leaves.”
“No,” you say. “You did this to me! I won’t let you back.”
Thief nods and shrugs. “As you wish, my master.” And it flashes a memory of the past pleasures that both of you have shared. It reminds you of the momentary happiness, thrill, and escape.
“Go away!” You say, but your resolve is weakening. You stare at the memories, you drink them in like the dry ground and you begin to long for them.
Thief comes closer again. It is within your reach. “Just stretch out your hand. Forget this day. Forget the insulting words and the anger. You tried your best. They won’t accept you. You deserve to have a little happiness tonight.”
You bite your lip. “Well…” The charm lingers before your eyes and your heart begins to throb with anticipation. Your body quivers as you slowly reach for it. “This is the last time. Tomorrow I’ll leave you and I’ll rebuild my old life.”
“As you wish, my master.”
You take Thief’s offer and for a few glorious seconds you revel, you forget, you laugh, and all too soon it is gone and you are alone once more. You stare at the empty hands that mirror your heart. You weep. Shame washes over you in waves. Self-hatred laughs. Your will power is broken and you have nothing. Instead of lessening your grief, it has made it ten times stronger. You wonder what you saw in the promises of Thief. They all seem so empty and fake now that the charm has vanished.
“You’re nothing without me.” Thief whispers – so quietly that you wonder if it is your own thoughts. “Your life is worthless and full of pain. I’m the one and only thing that can help you feel better – even if it is only for a few seconds. Come with me, I have only given you a foreshadowing of the pleasure that I can give you.”
You follow with bent shoulders. What use is it to try to resist any longer? Thief is in control and there is no leaving it.
You muse, “Why would I want to leave? Thief is the only thing I have left. I have no identity without it. I have no purpose in life without it.”
You cling desperately to the thing that has stolen everything from you until you are old and hairs are all grey and you look back over your life and you realize that it has all been a waste. You wonder what it could have been if you had shut your ears to the voice of Thief in the beginning. But it is too late now and you turn to Thief to take away the thoughts of the life that you took for granted.