Eleven-year-olds sometimes have trouble sleeping through the night, kept awake by monsters they can't see.
But Malala Yousufzai knew exactly what her monsters looked like.
They had long beards and dull-colored robes and had taken over her city in the Swat Valley, in northwestern Pakistan.
It was such a beautiful place once, so lush and untouched that tourists flocked there to ski. But that was before 2003, when the Taliban began using it as a base for operations in nearby Afghanistan.
The Taliban believe girls should not be educated, or for that matter, even leave the house. In Swat they worked viciously to make sure residents obeyed.
But this was not how Malala decided she would live. With the encouragement of her father, she began believing that she was stronger than the things that scared her.
"The Taliban have repeatedly targeted schools in Swat," she wrote in an extraordinary blog when she was empowered to share her voice with the world by the BBC.
She was writing around the time the Taliban issued a formal edict in January 2009 banning all girls from schools. On the blog, she praised her father, who was operating one of the few schools that would go on to defy that order.
"My father said that some days ago someone brought the printout of this diary saying how wonderful it was," Malala wrote. "My father said that he smiled, but could not even say that it was written by his daughter."
Now that active and imaginative mind could be gone.
On Tuesday, October 9, gunmen shot Malala in the head and neck.
Now 14, she was coming home from school in a van with other schoolchildren when Taliban assassins stopped the vehicle, climbed on and demanded that the children identify her. Terrified, the children did it and the men fired, also wounding two other girls.
"We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," a Taliban spokesman later said, as Malala, in a Pakistani hospital, breathed with the help of a ventilator.
The Taliban would come for her again if she managed to survive, the spokesman threatened.
Since October she has been in Great Britain receiving top medical care from an international team of doctors. On Wednesday, doctors announced that she is expected to undergo further surgery in Birmingham, to repair her skull.
"I shall raise my voice"
Malala looks the same today at 14, as she did at 11, like a child. But with each interview she gave to Pakistani and international reporters between 2009 and 2012, she sounded more like an adult.
She rarely showed fear, and she didn't hide her face.
"I have the right of education," she said in a 2011 interview with CNN. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."
Why do you risk your life to raise your voice? a reporter asked her.
In perfect English, she answered that her people need her.
"I shall raise my voice," she insisted.
"If I didn't do it, who would?" she said.
Girls who are scared should fight their fear, she said.
"Don't sit in your bedrooms.