Tenebris

 

 

     The ambiguity, the darkness of the night, terrifying within himself, holds secrets that must be grand and inexhaustible; his dominating shadows of black cascade down the walls like waterfalls into a dark ocean that holds no bottom. He crawls on top of the day, sitting upon her shoulders and caressing her light with his loathsome fingertips, her strength fading, until she must succumb to his weight. His quiet growls, sparse and sinister, linger in the air like echoes of identifiable words. But there are other times when he lay quiet, hovering over you in a cloud of melancholy, deafening you with his silence. His darkness comes in a sickly way; there is not much to make you desire it’s presence, but it is not the most, not quite the most, frightening thing to come out of the night.

     There is a sense of safety when the day reigns and all that can harm you is real and in clear sight. But the night wraps your eyes in a dirty film that blurs your vision and impairs your thoughts. He encloses around you. Your eyes close for but a moment and you are no longer in the security of the day; the night swallows you up. There is no way through him, not once he descends into his primitive state. Once he engulfs you, you must stay with him until the dawn returns, for they have a pack that balances their stay. But unlike the day, the night brings a period of solitude, when the wind sings a song as old as time itself. His darkness admits no certainties, and, in this you can become trapped in your own delusion because everything the night brings is not what it seems. He prolongs the anxious approach of his servants that take hold of your mind. Because in his most demented form, the night doesn’t come alone. He brings unwanted visitors. 2 They have an unspoken agreement, the night and day, a promise that the nightmares cannot exist once her light emerges, they must return to the dark arms of the night. It is only in the day’s light that I am safe.

     The orange light of the end of the day mocks me as it is drained into the dark, heavy eyes of the earth; all quiet, all motionless in the chilling wind of night’s arrival. During the his stay I am woven into his web of uncertainties of winds caressing the outer walls of my cell and splits of moonlight leaking through the windows, casting ambiguous shadows all around me, I thought I was in my cell alone.

The night always comes intending harm.

 

     I knew at once that his servants had been waiting for me from the moment I lay down to sleep, with the unwavering patience of creatures living in limbo between reality and the darkest corners of my mind. The one whose face I have seen peers at me through the dark, and crouches by my door knowing he blocks the only physical escape. I lay in half-unconsciousness while he sits there like a frog, his sickly white flesh is of the same substance as those thoughts that torture my mind. I cannot see his eyes, but I know he stares at me. As he crawls closer, his long, black hair drapes upon the floor and his head dances in an “S” shaped motion.

He smiles.

     What does he want? Why, I wish I knew! My visitors intentions are never clear. Now I see your eyes are quite black, as if you’ve been staring into the darkness for too long, and you stare back at me, keeping my body paralyzed. Your dark eyes are black ponds that hold violent whirlpools. If I stare into them long enough, I will drown like everyone else you 3 have stared at. If I swallow the cold water I will be weighted and dragged under. I will become caught in the whirlpools and then I will be consumed by you.

     He gets close enough for me to see that the darkness also resides around his mouth and eyes in circles, like a plague of the night. The closer he crawls, the more ecstatic he becomes, twirling his head neurotically, and the deeper I helplessly try to sink into the safety of my bed. The only noise he emits is a quiet little laughter that grows louder with each move he makes toward me. He laughs when he sees me coward in my sheets; laughs and bares his small yellow teeth that gleam with drool. Inside I am screaming, my heart pulses and my palms become moist with sweat, but externally I lay there frozen with fear, unable to look away.

     My body trembles with panic as he slowly nears my bedside until we are face to face. He knows I am afraid of him. Just as he gets close enough to lay a pale, anorexic hand upon me, I break away from his stare and jolt to full consciousness.

He instantly disappears.

     Upon other nights I do not see these servants, but I know they are there. I face the wall to be sure they do not linger in my sight, but this does no good to the fear that will still paralyze my body when they come. I do not always realize that the bodily twitches and jolts only signal the oncoming presence of these nightmares, and so I lay in my bed fighting to ignore it.

     I feel a presence creeping up behind me. I do not see him but I know he is as black as death with no features to identify him, like a oblong shadow of a figure. He towers over me, coming closer, filling the room with his silent footsteps. I feel my heart pulse and my body become paralyzed all the same. I should like to fully sink into the mattress that is my bed to escape this nightly terror.

      He nears my bedside as they all do, until he is an arm’s reach away. My heart ready to explode, I await in panic for whatever heinous act he shall do to me. But then, a voice breaks the silence. It sounds far, much farther than this figure stands to me, and it calls out in a low, hoarse tone, “Hellll-lo?”, and I am jolted to consciousness. The figure is no longer there.

     So shaken with fear I cannot stand to sleep. My breathing returns to a normal pace, but my thoughts remain frenetic. Although the night will relentlessly torture me I am always saved by dawn. She will leak through the thin curtains and embrace me with her light, for she does not possess the ill-natured qualities of the night. It’s in her glow that I can finally rest. She will chase away the nightmares.

     I wait the night out, not daring to give into the sleep he sprinkles over my eyelids, or the fatigue he washes over my body. I fight his trickery; the shadows he casts upon the walls I know are not there, and the creaks he tries to convince me are not only the wind. I wait until his stay comes to an end and I can see the glow of dawn’s rays.

     Exhausted from a sickening fear in the pit of her stomach she will then finally fall asleep in the soft light of the dawn that sways in the thin fabric of the curtains. She will slip peacefully into a heavy slumber that knows no visitors and bares no frantic thoughts.

     But she will awake.

     She will awake hours later, with the morning light still caressing the cell walls and she will see that the night, in his roguish ways, has indeed betrayed the day. For in her eyes, in the corner of her cell, a figure will silently stand, nearing closer to her bedside.

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