Dark II

As I think back to that fateful night, a few details stand out more than others, yet all are chillingly clear. I remember that I was reading a most delightful book in the den, full of intrigue and adventure. I was alone, for my wife and children had gone to see an uncle who I made no pretense of liking, for he was always detached and aloof, as if people were of less value than his experiments. Thus I sealed my fate. As I sank deeper and deeper into the book and the sofa, a strange feeling came over me. It was at once lethargic and anxious, a most peculiar feeling, one I felt that I knew. Whatever this feeling was, it grew more and more frantic. And with this alien feeling came alien thoughts, thoughts which were wordless and frightening-these thoughts were not my own. Eventually this growing mountain of unease reached its summit, or at least a plateau, which resulted me in flinging the book across the room to land with a loud “thump” I jumped at the sound, even though it was expected. I suppose this attribute to how truly frayed my nerves were at the time. Regardless, I had had enough of this, I would dispel these demons with a brisk walk around the grounds.

     When I reached the foyer, I noticed something which did nothing to assuage my mind. It was only half past three, yet the clouds outside were rapidly gathering and blotting out the sun, turning the sky a color reminiscent of a shark’s eye. I decided that, rather than letting that horrible darkness swallow me in my house, I would charge into it with all the false bravado I could muster. And with this romantically inclined sentiment, I marched onward like a soldier with no orders, directionless and slow.

     As I walked down the cobblestone path which would eventually deposit me onto the main road, two things happened. My monstrous thoughts left, and for a moment I was at peace. Then Darkness descended upon me with all of her malicious energy, sending iced water coursing through my veins as if to remind me that I had no right to feel joyous. Yet I had brought with me a beacon, a cylindrical temple to that light we all know and love. And so the electric torch was deployed in the battle against the premature night.

    And so I walked along with my companion, seeking solace in the sound of shoe heel on cobble. As if sensing this and conspiring against my wellbeing, the darkness summoned up an echo. Yet this echo was nothing like the honest click of shoe on stone. It was as if some horrible madman was shuffling along on clubfeet, matching wholesome stride with loathsome limp. When I halted, so did my malformed shadow. Yet always it stopped a little closer. Always closer. Yet each time I spun around in a maelstrom of panic and dread to shed light upon my stalker, I was met with only the rolling hills and empty road. But it was out there, hidden under a mantle of darkness and biding its time for when my sanity would flee and leave me alone with my tormentor.

     It occurred to me that I was in quite the ironic situation. I had left my inner demons behind only to have them manifest themselves in the physical realm in order to torment me more effectively. As I toyed with this idea, I felt a tug on my shirt sleeve. Terrified of this assault on my person, I leapt into the air at heights that even an avian would envy while swinging the torch wildly in that general area. And thus did I crack my torch upon the trunk of the tree who sought my attention-leaving me in utter darkness.

     I froze mid-swing, stuck in a position which would have been absurd had I not been so afraid of the darkness. It came upon me, bathing me in the cold sweat of fear. And while I was not completely in the dark-I could see lit windows far off in the distance-I was, for all intents and purposes, at the mercy of the night. Oh, how I wished to be in those windows! The people within that structure were undoubtedly having a merrily gregarious time with one another. It struck me that, while my experience was undoubtedly terrifying, my terror arose not from being in the dark with an unknown horror stalking me, rather I was terrified that I should endure this trial alone. Upon this realization, I could feel my spirits reach abysmal depths-for in my introspection, I had forgotten that my misshapen acquaintance still hid in the dark, waiting. Waiting for me.

    At that moment, I heard the thing’s fleshy shuffle. Apparently, during my thoughts, it had been growing more and more impatient with my lack of progress and wished to be done with the game. It was strange, hearing it apart from my own footsteps. I knew that I should run, walk, crawl, hop, anything to get me away from the source of that noise, but I could not. I was petrified, as a mouse is when it meets a snake, hoping that all will be well if one simply does not move. Yet this could not be further from the truth. Something terrible would happen if I was caught by this unknown nightmare, this disabled denizen of the dark; at any rate, I would be in no shape to recount the event. Nonetheless, I did everything but move. I remembered what I had for breakfast, I remembered the last words I spoke to my wife, and I remembered the Pythagorean Theorem, all in the span of a few seconds. But still I did not move, as the thing shuffled ever closer. And closer it came, until I could almost feel its soft hands rending my flesh in a terrible paradox.

     Yet I was saved, saved by an occurrence which was a cursed blessing for me. Those terrible clouds which had so mercilessly snuffed out the sky’s light, now parted, allowing the waxing gibbous moon to bathe the land in a pale and clinical glow. And so I saw the creature.

     It was a good distance of two or so meters away from me, yet my eyes seemed determined to make up for the visual drought, and so drank in every detail with a sickening thirst. It was a mere meter and a half high, and was composed of a horrible patchwork of body parts, a contemporary Frankenstein. Yet unlike its original counterpart, which inspired both fear and sympathy, this thing created feelings of revulsion and a sense of strange familiarity. Yet I digress from my true purpose. The thing-for it was decidedly androgynous-had three arms, two in their proper places, the third oddly connected to the right hip at a disjointed angle, I supposed this to be responsible for the shuffling noise, for it dragged along the road. Of course, this could have also been accounted for by the fact that its legs were from entirely different age groups; the left one appeared to have been cleft from a middle aged woman, while the right was that of a teenaged boy. Thankfully, its true gender or lack thereof was covered by filthy surgical rags, sewn into a crude circle-an almost satirical act of modesty, as the whole thing was an affront to the natural order. It had multiple cuts and nicks, most likely the result of whatever surgical processes had brought it into being; and from these cuts dripped blue ichor which was supposedly its lifeblood. Its skin had a deathly pallor to it that spoke of decay and death, an almost tangible aura of pain and confusion surrounded it as well. This I viewed with an almost scientific air until I observed its face.

     Oh, what horror its face inspired in me! It was not an ugly or terrifying face, in fact, in was a beautiful face. And it was a face that I knew well. Perched on top of that monstrosity of a body, much like a flower sprouting from a corpse, was the face of my wife. And as my gaze traveled up that face, my own locked with its gaze. And it spoke, a horrible amalgam of three voice boxes that I knew. It was my family! My family, condensed into that horrific body, collapsed upon one another in a single fleshy prison of their own selves. I know not exactly what they said, but I feel as if they recognized me, and sought my aid. Yet I was terrified, my mind broke, my paralysis broke, and my night ended in a flurry of running and weeping and running and weeping and leaving that terrible thing behind in the night. And as I ran I heard three screams of anguish, coming from three souls who knew they would never be free, that their savior was man, and man was weak; man had forsaken them. And so I ran back into the darkness, seeking its embrace of blessed oblivion.

     I know not where the night went from there. I was told that I ran into town, screaming and babbling about some terrible creature that I had loved but now reviled. Eventually, my antics warranted enough attention that the police were forced to detain me. They call it detainment, but I was glad to have a set of iron bars between me and the horrors the night seemed so eager to introduce me to.

     By morning I had settled down enough that I was able to give a mostly rational account of the night, I purposely omitted my encounter, for reasons I cannot explain to this day. Instead, I told them that I feared for my family’s safety and I knew who might be responsible for such a heinous deed. I told them that my wife’s infernal brother had used them for some diabolical experiment and so they should proceed to his house with all haste. Yet upon returning from their investigation, it was reported that the selfsame fiend was dead, attacked by wild dogs as he left his house late last night. Yet I know that his death was no feral canine, indeed, that may have been merciful. I firmly believe that the creature which was once my family is responsible for his death. And if they would kill the one who placed them in such a situation in the first place, what might they do to the one who denied them their only chance of release?

     And thus I have selfishly held onto life, for I am not brave like some men. I quite enjoy the act of living and shall continue to do so as long as I can. I miss my family sometimes. Yet I recall what the moonlight showed me that one night and fearfully check the locks on the windows. I do not wish to meet my end in the same manner as my erstwhile wife’s brother did. They say the cause of death was a broken neck, yet I recall the teeth which stabbed out from beneath those perfect lips and fear that death was not quite that gentle in its coming.

     Yes, I am afraid. I fear many things in this world, but nothing is more terrifying than the present clawing at the door. I feared that this day would come, that they would somehow recall where they once lived and return to that place. I know their intentions, and now that they have found me, there is no escape. And so I leave this memoir for whoever shall find it, so that they shall know my story and so I will not feel so alone going into that great darkness which none have returned from. I go now to join my loved ones in the dark.

The End

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