Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

She awoke with a gasp, bolting upright in bed. Gathering the soft fabric of her nightgown about her neck, she clutched tightly and frantically searched the room.

No. The room was devoid of life, aside from herself. And Darkness.

She tried this every night, to no avail. Every time she woke from these furtive but desperate attempts, only Darkness and her own haggard panting greeted her.

They were partners in an arranged marriage. One she didn’t want to be in, but Darkness was insistently insidious.

~

The visit to the weathered old woman was a pointless endeavor. Give up. That’s what the old woman had said. “You’ll find no light there, no redemption. This isn’t hope; it’s desperation. Stop now before it’s too late.”

If the old crone wouldn’t help her, she’d go it alone.

From that day forth, she spent every day in bed. Flat on her back, hands clasped over her heart, she sank into a trance state.

Through the void, she reached, fingers grasping at the viscous mass of nothing. But they found no purchase; what she sought simply wasn’t there.

For days she was like this, until finally. Finally, something happened.

~

She stood at the foot of the bed looking down upon her own sleeping form. The brief flutter of hope immediately crushed under the weight of what had actually happened.

She had peered too long into the darkness, mining its depths for some glimmer of light. Only now did she realize she had faced the wrong way.

Of course! There is no light in Darkness. Darkness is the very absence of light, cast aside by it. It was all consuming of those who plumbed its depths for answers to futile wishes.

And now? Now?

She was Darkness.

~

By the time the reclusive woman was found some months later, her corporeal form had withered into a corpse.

Only Darkness remained. Insistent. Insidious. Lifeless.

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Daddy (A Guest Post)

Today’s post is another short story by Tomás. I think this is my favorite piece of his fiction that I’ve ever read. I specifically requested that he allow me to publish this one on the blog. So you better fucking like it! I mean. Wait. I’m posting this on someone else’s behalf, so I should probably be nicer. But I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m grumpy. So I had to throw a “fucking” in here. You know how it is.

The point is. Forget I said anything. Cleanse your brainmeat of my nonsense and read. This story gives me chills. Does it give you chills, too?

~

DADDY
by: Tomás

The Brook trout clutched in his hands offered one last twitch. It was dead. Blood oozed out of each gill and dribbled over white knuckles like warm chocolate syrup. Eyes bulged slightly as Joey gently squeezed. Nobody was around, but Joey spoke anyway, it kept him company.

“You sure are neat. You feel all cold and warm and slimy-dry all at once!”

The pines began to sway.

“You keep me safe till Mommy comes back,” he said. “I hope she’s not mad about you, Daddy.”

Daddy didn’t answer, only floated silently.

An afternoon drizzle began to coat the land in grey. Joey cocked his head.

“Sounds like bacon cookin.”

Joey’s gaze followed a bobbing trail of polished sticks and grass out across the ripples of the lake. A walkway to the island.

“Do ya’ think Daddy’ll get to that island?” Joey asked his prize, holding it up to his face. “It’s so far…must be a zillion miles out there.”

The frying in the water grew louder.

The pulsing in his arms began to nag. Joey looked down. The marks looked like those funny bushes on the shore, red and brown and green. He didn’t like those colors. Ms. Hill always told him he couldn’t see colors well anyway. Joey hated that. He hated her.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said. He knew colors, Daddy told him what they were. Daddy used to tell him everything.

“Where are the birds at Daddy? Why aren’t they singing?”

Daddy didn’t answer, just bobbed along the path.

The circular cliffs around the lake started singing. Joey remembered whistling with his toys in the bathtub. “This isn’t a tub,” he said. “It’s a crater. That’s what Daddy called it, Crater Lake.  Crater Tub.” Joey saw the high cliffs turn into white ceramic tub-stuff. The water didn’t quite go to the top, only half way. That’s good. He would’ve got in trouble for wasting bath water. “Too much is a waste,” Daddy always said.

Joey laughed as he jumped out of the lawn chair and started down the path near the lake.  Winding through giant pines, Joey felt like he was in a crowd at Daddy’s work, all legs, no faces. Everyone just too tall to care.

“We better hurry and get inside,” he said to his little friend, “Mommy’ll spank us if we get too wet.”