Lingering in Darkness

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1. lingering in darkness

He was going to come for me. I knew it instantly. It was always this way. There was always the same trepidation crawling through me, tearing all the way through my dilapidated body like a thunderous storm; not daring to stop until I was torn and broken. Yet every time the fear passed through my chilled bones like a vicious wind ripping through my soul, the silent sensation seemed to get worse. Words cannot describe how I feel in this darkness. Words do not even begin to describe the dread of being swallowed up by his malicious tongue. He has all the authority over me that he could yearn for, a king and I, his partially lifeless servant. When he beckons, I come, though rather hesitantly. I am resistant to doing as he pleases, however his disintegrating, black heart has me under a curse. A curse I cannot escape from. A curse that I struggle with every single day; regrettably I am not strong enough. Not anymore anyway. The fingers of death are clutching ever tighter onto my soul. They won't let go. Oh no, they will never let go. Not until I am free. I'll tell you now I am disturbed; disturbed by his presence, his curled, crooked fingers, and nails as black as rotting flesh. I am disturbed by the very smell of him- his sour breath, the infectious smoke that escapes in wisps from his ugly mouth. The drunken sailor on his unsteady ship; he commands the sea and I am left washing the decks, and while I wash I desperately try to scrub away my life.

I can hear him now. How can anyone not hear him? He is a silhouette in the absence of light, and yet hearing him, I suppose, is an advantage. If I were not to hear him I would never know when I'm about to be...Here he comes. His cavernous footsteps increase in sound, every step in rhythm with my heartbeat. Comparing the two sounds I would say my heartbeat is unquestionably louder. What if he can hear it? He can sense my apprehension that is for sure. He always senses it. Always.

I begin to breathe heavily; my breaths are stolen away by an invisible force. This is what he is expecting. Gradually, the footsteps slow even though they still sound like time bombs in my ears. The tension is unbearable and antagonizing. I know that I am soon about to break like fragile glass. A cloud of smoke glides across the room like an elegant, grey swan. The swan greets me, the smoke clinging to my hair and what's left of my clothes. I dig my fingers into the jagged surface of the floor. There is evidence that I have done this many times before- snapped fingernails are scattered, the lines in the stone make it look like a map; hundreds of scratch marks for hundreds of encounters with the beast.

Abruptly, a looming shadow casts over me. I inhale sharply and begin to tremble. There is silence for a moment, dead silence. He is watching me. I know he is, even without taking a glance at him I can feel his intense, dark eyes piercing through my skull. They look like black oceans with sinister fish swimming in them. My heart pounds so rapidly that I am afraid it is going to burst out of my chest. It begs not to be contained in such a decrepit body. The bulky figure in front of me extends a long, coiled snake and hastily the snake snaps at my arm. His grip constricts me. I tense and he squeezes tighter. Pop. Pop. Pop. My veins burst. My skin, as pale as it was, now looked as dry as a bone. A shriek escaped from my desiccated lips. He attacked now like an animal going in for the kill. My blood-curdling screams exploded around the room like tiny fireworks. My whole body felt like a firework. I was shaking and just on the verge of bursting into flames. However, these were no ordinary flames. These were flames of panic and obscurity.

"...Please!" I managed to gasp. "Sss...tt...stop."  

I felt like I was going to be swallowed up by the ground. My eyesight started to blur so all I could see was the dimness pressing in around me, suffocating me like a pillow. Both physical and emotional pain shot through my body as I began to weep. But no one could hear my cries. No one could see my glistening tears trickle down my cheeks. The whole world went dark every time this happened, like it was the end of the world, and yet I was conscious of my existence still being there.

What frightened me the most was how he could be so silent. He did not even utter a word. Maybe the silence was better, but it pained me to think of what was happening in such a soundless atmosphere. The pastel coloured walls seemed to pity me as they closed in, sending me into a claustrophobic panic. His gloomy profile smothered me in darkness and anguish. I was not able to struggle like I once used to. Now I was just a motionless corpse. In fact, I was a puppet and not just any puppet; I was his puppet. All he had to do was pull the strings and, as powerless as I was, he could make me do whatever he wanted.

It felt like years before his towering figure left me, and when he eventually did I could still sense his presence lingering in the air. I could still smell his foul, alcoholic breath from where it had been centimetres away from my face. I could still feel his rough fingers grazing my pale skin. I could still hear his silent breaths. I am alone in this undiscovered cave, yet I do not feel alone. He is always with me. He never leaves me.

Cautiously, I examine my derelict body and discover new bruises and cuts- new additions to my unwanted collection. As my long, skeletal fingers hover over my skin I can feel the aches, the stings of fresh wounds, and the throbbing heartbeat of my battered legs. My stomach growls like a vicious wolf. It yearns for the nutrition I so desperately need. All I am is skin and bones. My body will soon consume itself, but by then it will be too late. Is it not already too late?

The wind embraces me in a swift motion rather unexpectedly. For some reason it felt as if it was trying to charge me up like a battery or attempting to give me energy. I shivered. I closed my eyes, allowing the breeze to flow through my hair and caress me. Something was happening. Without thinking, I staggered to my feet. Impossible. I could not remember the last time I had stood up, but the feeling of standing up now overwhelmed me. Impossible. Impossible. I erupted into a burst of sobs. All of a sudden something clicked inside of me. Something fixed into place like a puzzle piece. Rage begin to stir from deep within my heart. I was infuriated at how weak I had been, enraged at how I had done nothing, exasperated at how I had coped. I stumbled. I fell. I inhaled a deep breath. I was not going to sit around anymore waiting until I was finished with, waiting until he did not want me any longer. Like a bursting balloon, a sensation exploded from within me. It made me want to fight. I was not going to give up. I was not going to be ruined. After continuous tries of trying to stand up again I eventually managed to arise boldly onto my two feet. Somehow I had broken through the glass box that had been keeping me prisoner all this time. I felt a sort of power surge through my whole body, tingling all the way down my spine, removing the numbness from my hands. The darkness fled in clouds around the room. A whisper escaped. There was a groan from the walls; the realization that they could not contain me anymore had struck them. I outstretched my fingers and heard them crack. I held them up to the only window that was in here. For months there had been only dimness radiating through it, but now, as I felt my heart begin to beat again, a radiance of light started to creep through the glass. A sign. I gasped. I faltered. I put a hand against the wall to steady myself. I took in the biggest breath that I could draw in, and then coughed as the smoke overflowed my lungs. All I knew now was that I needed to escape. I needed to be free. I was a bird trapped in a cage with a broken wing and yet I was still hopeful that I could fly. Swiftly, I stumbled around the mysterious cave. I clawed at the walls like an entrapped creature. I kicked at the door, the door that for so long I had feared to be opened. But not now. I wanted to scream. I wanted to scream so badly that it took all I had not to allow a screech to escape from my lips. My eyes swivelled back round to the window. The source of light, it was beckoning to me. I tripped forward. The rush of adrenaline was raging inside of me. There was nothing I could do to restrain it. With my bony fingers I scratched around the timber hoping I could just tear it off. As I did this, my head began to pound. It had its own heartbeat drumming away. A sense of anxiety rose up inside of me. I could feel my cool sweat dripping down the side of my face. My broken bones rattled as I tried to force myself free. I abruptly caught sight of myself in the glass and froze. I stood as immobile as a statue. Clouds of mist appeared on the windowpane from my weighty breathing. The sight of me made me feel sick. I once remembered my dark hair being clustered in curls around my head. Now it was matted and torn. I once remembered my rosy cheeks in the winter and the gleaming colour I had in the summer. Now I was as pale as a ghost. No, in fact I was worse. I once remembered smiling. Now my smile was cracked, replaced by a thin pinch of my lips that I now had a habit of. I once remembered the spark I used to have in my eyes. Now they were dull and melancholy. They held pure gloom within them. I could not bear it any longer. I shrieked. My fingers curled inwards as my fist stretched out towards the glass. There was a collision between my hand and the window. I could hear it cracking as my arm glided through it even further. Pain. I could feel the pain. My arm was being sliced open by the shards of glass that were fracturing right in front of me. I closed my eyes just as I felt a sting near my right eye. I screamed again. Blindly, I lifted my hand to my face and accidently knocked a piece of glass deeper into my skin. It cut through me like a knife through butter. I screamed. I screamed. I could not stop screaming. Hastily, I yanked the piece of glass out from my cheek. I could feel something wet on my palm. Blood. The crimson liquid oozed down from my eyes, across my cheek, along my arm. It was everywhere. I was going to drown in it. With horrific pain I opened my eyes. The luminosity blinded me. I had not seen daylight for…for as long as I had been held captive. The sight of light took my breath away. The sounds of birds chirping filled my ears, a soothing sound and one that I had not heard in a long time. The smell of freshly cut grass and flowers invaded my nostrils. The taste of smoke abandoned me. The air greeted me like an old friend. The smashed glass fell like glitter around me. I had broken the window, but I was not yet free. I could barely even fit through the small gap. I was desperate now. I struggled to get out. I struggled with my very last ounce of strength. But...I iced over. A sound had trapped my attention. A dreaded sound. A sound of a creaking door. Footsteps. Heavy breaths. I did not dare turn around. Apprehension clutched my very soul. My heart stuttered with its beats, whereas I stuttered with my gasps. Rapidly, I jumped up to the window, dragging my body across a bed of jagged pieces of glass. A tense grip tightened around my neck, squeezing, constricting, strangling. I choked. I panted. My hands frantically tried to break away his grasp. He had me now. I was finished. His breaths sounded like hurricanes in my ears. I was petrified, more than I had ever been before. This was it. This was the end. What was the point of struggling? I may as well give up. Unexpectedly, he released his clutch on me. Before I knew it, I was hurled to the ground. My back wrenched in pain as if a million bees had stung me. I cursed as I saw him towering over me, a predator gaping at its prey. Loneliness filled my heart and saddened it. After all the suffering I had endured it was finally going to be over. I was never going to have to return to this dark place ever again. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the ending but waiting for it. I heard him laugh; he was mocking me, pitying me. I took a quick glance at him. An evil grin had spread across his face. His eyes held many secrets, many memories. He clicked his knuckles. I cringed at the sound and shuffled across the floor towards the light. He slowly followed me. His movements were purposely deliberate. The hard floor was cold to the touch. I lay in a pool of splintered glass, trembling.

“You are going to hell,” I slurred just barely. He raised his eyebrow and then...he seized upon me. My hand coiled around a piece of glass and as he attacked I pierced it right through his chest. I let out an outburst until my lungs were about to explode. As quickly as I could, I scurried across to the window. I pounded my way out. Glass shattering around me. The walls bellowing. My gasps catching in my throat. I hauled myself through the damaged window; my body half in and half out. I could not stop crying. I turned back to the cavern. There he was- his eyes bloodshot. He grasped my ankle forcefully. I screeched.

"No...! Dad..."

  

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