“Breathing The Dark” short story from Cravings. Please leave comments/feedback 🙂
The shadows danced in the corners of the room, waiting for the moon to hide behind a cloud and seal her in darkness. She had no need for curtains anymore. She avoided this room during the hours of light. It was too much of a reminder. Only in darkness was she comfortable here.
This was Their room. She and her love’s. He was gone now, forever lost to her and the darkness. Neither expected this to happen. He was there, then he was not. A sudden shift of spirit had snatched him away in the blink of a cat’s eye. She lay on the bed and clutched his pillow to her; it still smelled like him.
She began every night in such a manner. Waiting for darkness was difficult, but this was how it needed to be done. She would enter the room at sundown, grip his pillow and watch the shadows play. She breathed it in deep and lay back on the bed, careful to not ruffle the blankets. Never did she cover herself with or straighten them. The bed had not been made since he left her.
No, he didn’t leave. He was taken. The Dark took him from her. It wrenched him from the physical plane, never to be seen on it again. She got angry, as she did each night when this realization dawned on her. She stood up quickly and put the pillow down, staring at it with narrowed eyes. Her glare turned on the shadows. They were who took him from her. She stared for eternity, watching the shadows frollic throughout the room. They mocked her with laughter only she could hear.
She moved about the room cautiously. They wanted her, too. She could feel it. Wisps reached out for her, but never touching. It was almost ceremonious, they way they taunted her. Did they do this with him, too, she wondered. Did they beckon and tease him before pouncing? She was certain she would be one of the taken. It was a matter of time.
Time passed quickly in here, she decided. She felt, rather than saw, the early rays of light attempting to break through the curtains. As light began its invasion, she moved toward the door. She had only stayed for this once. The light would permeate and conquer the dark. It was a terrible sight to behold. The rays ate the wisps greedily, and if she strained she could hear a moan of satisfaction from the light. It was hungry. Hungry like the dark, and just as menacing.
She backed up and felt the door’s knob in her left hand. All she had to do was turn it and go. She wanted to. Needed to. But this time she could not bring herself to flee. It was too seductive, this macabre feast of light on the dark. She stood mesmerized as the light broke through and attacked the shadows, gripping and shredding them with silver motes. Her eyes shut tight against the slaughter in front of her. Sounds of the wounded floated to her ears and she covered them, trying to block them out. She couldn’t bear being witness to the destruction any longer.
Her hand dropped and held the knob once more, but held her eyes closed. She had to get out of that room. Quickly she opened the door and stumbled out, landing on her back. She kicked the door shut with a bang and crawled backwards towards the wall. She sat there breathing heavily and sweating. Her hands cradled her face and caught the tears which finally came. She layed on her side and wept uncontrollably for hours, eventually falling asleep on the cold, wooded floor of the hall.
When she awoke, it was dark again. Moonlight flowed in from the window at the other end of the hall. She sat up slowly and watched the moon shining brightly. The moon was so different from the sun, she thought. The moon didn’t devour its prey, unlike the dark and sunlight. Standing up, she walked the few steps to the door and reached out for the knob. Should she open it, she wondered. Last night felt different, somehow. Like it would not be the same in there from now on. Her hand dropped to her side and she stepped away, undecided.
She took a deep breath and gripped the knob until her knuckled turned white. She let it out and opened the door. A gasp excaped her lips as her hand covered her mouth. Before her lay a made bed and open curtains. The moon’s light cascaded in touched the corners where the shadows used to dance. She looked around, unconvinced this was real. Her foot nudged something soft and she looked down. Lying on the floor was herself. She bent down and stroked her hair and face gently with shaking fingers. The dark won out over the light, and here she lay.
She stood and moved to lay on the bed, and put her head on his pillow. A tear slipped between her lashes and fell across the bridge of her nose. This was what she wanted. She closed her eyes and thought of him, their love, their intertwining souls. Peace came and wrapped her tight like a heavy blanket in winter. She was now with her love.