The Dark

Tallulah Woods family disappeared (somewhat ironically) in the Dark Woods years ago. She now lives with her aging grandmother and lives a solitary life, only talking to her mysterious neighbor. In a land where there is no day and there is only darkness, candles are the only option. But when something tragic happens, and a wondering Tallulah ends up the one places she doesn't want to be, where she is encased in darkness, what will happen?

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3. 3.

Her grandmother lay half in bed, half out of it. Her face was pressed uncomfortably to the floor and her legs flopped onto the bed. She was so small that they had blended in. The other person, was lying on the ground close to her grandmother. Tallulah fell to her knees and she distantly heard the door open. Her grandmother...

Her face, so thin, looked so uncomfortable. She looked...sad. Her body looked like it had given up. Tallulah continued to stare at her Grandmother's face. It looked so broken... Someone bursted into the room. They shouted something and more footsteps. Someone wrapped something warm around Tallulah, who still stared. She stared and looked defeated as more and more people came. She stared as eventually her grandmother was lifted by the wrists and ankles and carried away. When she was gone, Tallulah stared at the place where she had been. Her last family member. Whom she had been bad-mouthing minutes, or possibly hours before. Time melted away and Tallulah began to cry. 

The person who hugged her pulled her from her knees onto her bottom and held Tallulah closely. The person was warm. Tallulah felt the person breathe evenly as the person held Tallulah.  They were still for hours as Tallulah cried. When she was cried out and tired from exhaustion, the person lifted Tallulah and brought her to her room. The person left and Tallulah slept. She woke up at one point and heard footsteps downstairs. Tallulah sluggishly stood, wrapped a blanket around her and sat on the window frame. Her long hair draped her face as she stared outside, blankly. 

She looked at her street through the rounded window. The dark silhouettes of houses and the candles. Candles burning in every window, sometimes more than one. Candles on the street. There were the lanterns between the houses. The chain from her house- her house, that led to the house across the street, that held lanterns swayed barely. Only one on the chain was dead. Dead. She looked down at the street again and watched the glow of dozens of newly places candles on the cobblestone. 

It was tradition that when someone died, everyone else put candles around their house. To keep the dead from coming back. Some sort of old ward. A tradition that warped with age and with naïveté. A shadow from what it originally might've been. Tallulah tucked back her hair. She felt suddenly noxious. She pushed back her hair but it kept falling back. Finally, Tallulah stood, padded over to her grandmother's room, took a knife and went back into her room. Tallulah sat on the sill again. 

She sheared her hair short. She knew it was uneven, but she didn't care. She just wanted it gone. When she was done, she had a pile of hair on the ground. She dropped the knife too. It made a light thump. The people below her froze but continued doing whatever they were doing. Tallulah tried to see her reflection in the window. It was longer in the front than in the back, but that was alright. Tallulah pulled the blanket over her. She looked outside but saw nothing. She just stared and listened downstairs. The people down there, were now talking. 

"Listen..." A deeper voice. Tallulah didn't recognize it. 

"I am and its unfair." The voice was familiar, but Tallulah couldn't place it.

"But you know why." The deep voice again. It seemed there were only two people.

"I do but she deserves..."

"No she doesn't."

"It sounds so harsh." 

"It's not supposed to be harsh. It's supposed to be the truth."

"Is it?"

"Yes." Tallulah wanted to know who was talking. Her desire to know pushed away her sadness and she stood, holding the blanket against her. She hopped off the sill and felt her hair on her feet. She continued walking. She was in the dark, completely, but she knew her way. She padded out and down the stairs to the room with the sofa. There was two people. Gwen and...Tallulah didn't know who he was. 

"Who are you?" Tallulah asked, drawing her eyebrows in. "What are you doing in my house?"

The man said nothing. He just nodded at Gwen, stood and left. When he closed the door, Tallulah had a million questions to ask, but one look at Gwen and they all faded away. Gwen looked sad, broken. She looked how Tallulah felt on the inside. 

"Gwen?" Tallulah asked. 

"Lulah." Gwen exhaled. 

"Were you the one to...?" She faded off into a question. Gwen nodded. "Are you alright?" Gwen nodded again. 

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