What is darkness?
I did not have my answer until it was too late.
I paid for my stupidity with my life.
A small girl with deep crimson hair skipped down the steps. The long fiery mane flew behind her, her pale blue and white frilled dress swishing around her knees. At the last step she paused and gave a loud yell, then jumped off. As soon as her feet met the ground she ran, her hands spread like wings at her sides.
Where am I now?
I can’t see a thing.
It’s deathly quiet.
I cannot feel my limbs.
“Seven, eight, six…five, four, three…two, one! I’m coming to search for you, wherever you are!” A teenage boy, with sleek black hair opened his eyes. His big blue eyes shone with amusement, and his big eyelashes trembled in the sunshine. He stepped back from the old Oak, and turned around. He laughed breathily and began his search.
Is this death?
This emptiness, this hollow feeling?
The boy looked behind the sofa. He looked under the table. He checked the closet. He asked the maid if Mary was hiding under her skirts (not a smart idea – his shoulder still hurt from the smack of the duster). An exasperated smile made way to his face and he closed his eyes with his hand.
“That girl is really difficult to find isn’t she Rover?” he addressed the Transylvanian Hound, who was scratching its ear.
Why am I awake?
Is there something I should realize before I can obtain peace?
Mary giggled, hiding in the stables. I wonder if Jonathan will think of looking in here, she thought. A gray horse sneered, and she reached over and patted it on the head.
Why can’t I remember?
I know there was something important I had on my mind just moments ago.
What could it be?
“Come on boy. You’ll help me search for her,” said Jonathan as he patted his thigh. Rover got up and slowly trudged up to the boy, licking his hand and wagging its tail.
What could it be!?
They exited the house and walked down the porch stairs. Jonathan looked towards the direction of the old well. Then he looked towards the stables. Finally he looked towards their small garden. Where could she be hiding, thought he.
“What do you think boy?” the dog wagged its tail and looked up at its master.
“Well, if you think so. The garden it is.”
Who. Who is the next victim?
“Hello! Mary are you in there?” He leaned over the well and looked deeply into it.
“Mary? Mary!” No, nothing there.
Is this my punishment?
He slowly pushed the door to the stables open. Rover padded in after him, sniffing the air. Jonathan stopped and listened. Nothing but silence. He turned around to exit when a stifled small giggle erupted from somewhere.
“Aha! I knew you were hiding here!” Everything became still at his exclamation. Crouching low, he looked under the stables where the horses were held. Soon, he saw the shiny black shoes of his little sister. Putting his hands on the floor, he slowly (and silently) crawled over. The shoes moved and Mary began to lean down.
“Gotcha!” Jonathan lunged and made to grab at her ankles – she shrieked and stumbled backwards, leaving Jonathan sprawled out on the floor. Mary began to run – she ran over him and out the stables door.
“Rover! Get her boy!” the dog perked its ears up but didn’t do anything else than sniff at the horse dung. “Tch!” He began the chase himself (in the background, he heard Rover give out a bark and run after him).
No, surely not. No, definitely not.
I refuse to accept this!
Mary flew over the grass like a bird, laughter bubbling in her throat, her legs trembling from so much amusement.
“You sly snake! Get back here!” she heard Jonathan holler. She turned to look back and saw him gaining on her, his face livid and flushed. She made a sharp turn and ran off towards the well.
Jonathan saw her turn towards the old well. What is she planning now? Soon, he reached the well. There was nothing there.
“Mary? Where are you?” No answer. He walked around the well. “Mary?” He took off the boards off the well and looked in.
“Mary are you in there?” She must be hiding somewhere ‘round here, he thought.
Please…I don’t want anyone to repeat my mistake.
Please…Let me out.
Two days has passed and they still could not find Mary. At hearing the news that Mary could not be found, mother had began weeping. No one blamed Jonathan, but he blamed himself. He felt responsible that she disappeared, even though there was no way he could be responsible.
I know she’s in that well, he would always think to himself before going to sleep. A week passed. There was still no news of Mary. Tonight. No one believes me that she could be in the well. I’ll look for her myself tonight.
One more push, I can’t give up now.
Everyone were sleeping. Jonathan slowly got up off his bed, and dressed. He slowly crept into the hallway and went towards the door that led into their yard. He carefully opened the door and just as carefully closed it behind him. He went towards the stables.
He took a rope. A flashlight. And some more rope. He couldn’t think of anything else to take, so he just went back outside again.
As he neared the well, he was Rover lying next to it.
“Rover? Is that you boy?” the dog opened its eyes, then, upon seeing his master, walked over to him, wagging its tail from side to side.
“You think she’s here too, don’t you?” Rover just looked into his face.
“Then stay here while I’ll get down to look for her.” Jonathan put down the flashlight, then tied the rope tightly around his waist. The other end of the rope he tied to the old willow that stood over the well. He took the flashlight into his hand and took off the boards. Carefully, he climbed onto the well and turning around, began to climb down. The rocks jutted out and made good ladder steps for him. I hope I don’t fall, thought he. Rover wagged his tail and looked up at the well. Then he whined, and did what Jonathan feared. He jumped onto the well, slipped down from the walls, and yelping, fell down. Without thinking, Jonathan, too, let go of the walls and jerked forward to catch his dog. He caught him. And he felt his feet slipping from the too-small rocks. He was falling.
The fall took his breath away, and the only thing he could do was hold on to Rover.
I darted through the crimson tunnel, forcing my old legs to move as fast as they could. My lungs where screaming from sudden exercise.
He crashed into something. Hard. Jonathan let out a scream of pain as his arm crunched under the force. Panting, his eyes snapped open and he saw that he was lying on his arm, rover squeezed tightly under his other one. Hazily, he looked at what he was lying on. It was pillows. Hundreds of pillows, thrown into one pile, onto which he had fallen. Where am I? he asked himself.
Letting go of Rover, he tried to get up on shaky legs.
Bright light pressed my eyelids closed. I am standing in a meadow. My mouth slacks. I look around frantically.
Jonathan opened his eyes to a wonderful smell. I’m back home, he thought. But it wasn’t home at all. Pale brown walls with a dark red ceiling. His left arm was bandaged and he was propped up on black pillows.
“Jonathan! You’re here!” He turned to his right and saw Mary, sitting on a chair next to his bed, her long crimson hair with gray streaks.
“M-mary” he leaned over the hugged her tightly. She hugged back and smiled.
“We’ve been searching all over for you. Mother and father are very worried.”
“I- I’m sorry…I didn’t know the boards would break.”
“Boards? What boards? They weren’t broken.”
“B-but they broke under me…”
“What are you making up? You just tried to hide in the well, but fell!” He didn’t want to believe that something weird was happening.
“No. Stop making things up. Where is this place anyway?”
“I don’t know.”
“I have something I need to finish. Please let me through.”
“Orders are orders. Dead can’t be allowed back.”
“Then let me go as a spirit!”
“Why should I?”
“Who’s the master of this place?” Jonathan asked the very pale maid.
“We’re not allowed to know the lord. Please ask the butler.”
“Well then, where’s the butler?”
“We’re not allowed to know his either. Search yourself, please.”
“Then show me who knows either the butler of the lord!” He grabbed her hand.
“P-please! I don’t know anything, ask someone else.” She tried to tug her hand out of his grip.
“L-let me go. Let me go!” She ripped her hand out of his and ran past him.
“Brother, maybe you should treat them more politely.”
“They’re maids! And they’re hiding something!”
“No they’re not. Come on, let’s ask the cook.”
I stumble down the stairway, towards the doors to the other side.
Mary watched her brother become angrier and angrier. He needs to calm down, she thought. I’m becoming scared, she thought.
“Brother, please calm down.” She asked him in a begging voice.
“I’m calm! Shut up Mary.” His face was flushed. Please calm down, please calm down, she chanted silently. They came upon an old man in a black suit.
“Sir!” Mary called. The man turned towards them.
“Sir, please, do you know a butler of this place?”
“That would be me.” His eyes had a reddish color.
“Oh! Would you please lead us to the lord of this palace then?”
“If you wish.”
“My grandchildren. I need to guide them through a difficult time.”
“You’re not allowed to help the living.”
“But they’re my relatives!”
“It doesn’t matter old man. You’re dead. They’re alive. End of story. Go back to heaven.”
“Please. At least let me watch them.”
“Argh! You’re stubborn aren’t you? Guards!”
“No please!” I took out big and fat golden coins.
“H-here, I’ll pay even more if you just let me watch.” Immediately the fat man’s face turn hungry at the sight of coins. He looked back up at me disbelievingly.
“A lot more?”
“Yes, hundreds of them.”
“…Fine. But only watch.” He took out golden bracelets out of the bottom drawer of the desk and fastened them to my wrists.
“Go.” And I went.
“Good evening.” The master of the place was tall and thin. He had very long black hair that dragged on the floor. His face was hidden by his very long bangs. He was dressed into a black sort of dress/cloak.
“Good evening.” Mary bowed. Jonathan didn’t.
“Let us out.” His voice was hoarse. His eyes were cold as stones. Mary felt even more afraid of her brother. The lord chuckled.
“You’re welcome to go out whenever you want.”
“Don’t laugh at me.”
“Please brother. How do we get out then, Sir?” Mary asked in the most polite tone she could master.
“Promise me loyalty. Promise that you will visit me every year. Promise that you will marry me when you are of age.” Mary felt his stare of her, even thought she could not see it.
“No. You sicko. What do you need of two kids and a dog?”
“Brother! Stop. Yes we promise.”
“No we don’t.”
“Ahahaha. Quite a stubborn gentleman aren’t you? I could let you go just as you are too. But you’ll have to survive for three days. If you can do that, you are free to be rid of me.”
The elevator feels ordinary, and at the same time, very supernatural.
“Brother, we should have just agreed to his first proposal.”
“He wanted to marry you, that pedophile!”
“But brother, what if something terrible happens?”
“You have me. And we have Rover.”
“Here you go.” I show the woman my golden bracelets.
The door led into a forest. The lord said that it was going to be night all the time. He bid them luck and closed the door. It disappeared. Mary felt tears gather in her eyes, but held them off. She had a feeling that something horrible would happen. Jonathan took her hand, and they went forward. They simply walked, Rover running forward, then returning to them, running around them in circles. He looked silly. He would bark. Seeing a rabbit, he would chase after it, coming back later to them after a couple of minutes, looking dejected.
Jonathan had an annoyed look on his face. Finally he snapped.
“Shut up you mangy mutt!” Rover flinched from the angry tone and stopped being happy.
“He’s annoying me.”
“Brother, let’s rest. I feel faint.” Asked Mary after a couple more hours.
“We just began to walk!”
“Please, we’ve been walking for hours.”
“Fine. Go sit somewhere. I’m going to look for some food. Come on Rover.” Mary sat down near a tree trunk and waited. Soon, Jonathan came back with some berries.
“Are you sure they’re not poisonous?”
“I’m positive.” They ate a couple, but they tasted bitter. Mary gave them back to Jonathan. They set off again.
I’m just going to watch. Why do these fools need so many passes and papers to just let me watch!
A day passed. They have stopped near a very big tree and fallen asleep, snuggled with each other. The next day they set out again. They did not know where they were going, only that they were going. Mary began to suspect that they were going in circles.
“Brother, are you sure this is the right way?”
“Trust me, will you?”
Sometime later, they stopped for a lunch break. Again, Jonathan went away with Rover. Mary sat near the tree trunk waiting. A couple of hours passed. Where are they, she thought. I really hope they’re alright, she thought. But she didn’t dare move, for fear than when they do come back, she is not there. After a while, Jonathan came back. Alone. He was covered in blood – his hands, his clothing, his face, even his hair.
“By lord! Are you alright brother? Where’s Rover?” Jonathan looked at her with lidded eyes.
“Dead.” His voice was sounded bitter and angry. It sounded satisfied at the same time.
“H-how?” Tears began to stream down her face.
“I killed him.” An ugly smirk crossed his face.
“Why?” her voice was a whisper.
“He annoyed me.”
Something clicked in Mary. She stumbled back from Jonathan and with a blood-curling scream ran. She didn’t look back. Sobs shook her body, as terror made itself known. Jonathan. Her beloved big brother Jonathan. Something was wrong with him and she did not know what.
After a while she stopped. She hid in the bushes, not daring to breathe. Another day passed. She fell asleep.
I am flying through the forest I once walked in with my wife. Where could they be? I saw golden links in front of me. One of them was very faded. One of them was half bloody. One of them was pulsing to the beat of a heart. I followed the faded line. A…a dog. It was ripped apart – it’s head lying off in the distance, it’s body ripped apart at the stomach. The earth was soft with the shed blood. No. No. It’s already happening. I darted forward towards the line that was half bloody. A boy. He was beautiful in a way, but his face was twisted in a way that spelled murder. I darted towards the pulsing line. It was a girl. A sleeping girl.
Mary awoke to footsteps. She opened her eyes and laid still.
“Mary. Where are you? Come on out little sister.” Jonathan’s voice sounded manic. Stay calm, she told herself. He can’t see me, she thought.
Jonathan leaned down.
“There you are.” He lunged forward, Mary shrieked and crawled backwards, but he fell on her.
“Your brother is a fool you know, little bird. But that’s fine, he made a mistake and now you’re mine.” He sat back and grabbed her throat in his hands. He began to squeeze. Mary struggled, tried to kick out. Tears streamed down her face, as her body began to get desperate for oxygen.
No. No. My grandchildren, same mistake.
Mary moved her eyes to the side. There sat a small lion cub. He watched them with a curious expression. Behind him ate a mountain lioness. Mary’s hand shook as she grabbed a rock. She raised it with shaking fingers and threw with all her might at the mother bear. Jonathan was laughing.
“You think that will work? What will a rock do to save-” He didn’t manage to say anything else, as the lioness turned and with rage, lunged at whom she thought attacked her. Mary struggled to back away, her vision swimming. Jonathan screamed as the lioness ripped him apart.
She stood up on shaking knees, then ran away.
The next day, she was found lying near the well, her hair silver, her face tired. Jonathan was nowhere to be found, nor was Rover. Mary never fully recovered. She would sometime start, especially when someone would laugh. She never let anyone but her mother hug her. She would scream in her dreams. Every year, she would disappear for a day, only to return again. After a couple of years, she was given away to the lunatic asylum. Five years later, she disappeared without a trace.
Darkness still won over her mind, and she married Madness – the lord of flies, the lord of betrayal. She had repeated my wife’s path, just as I repeated her brother’s.
So...my entry for the February contest: Darkness. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it's still acceptable a day before the due date. Thanks -DraculaFan