“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
― Sarah Williams, Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse
At night my thoughts came alive, dancing hand in hand with the darkness. The midnight silence that I shared with others was an open door for all the hidden emotions. The darkness invaded my sense of direction.
It was a monster in my head.
My floor was a scattered mess of words and letters that I had written over the years. The fundamental style of ‘dear diary’ led to fractured thoughts and sick letters. It had been years since I had written but now, more than ever I needed to.
To explain why I left.
As I read I became a bystander to my own depression, witnessing first hand when the darkness kidnapped me.
In front of me was a window, it was clear and crackless, creating the perfect reflection. Looking back was a girl in a pink dress with button shoes and pigtails with a mother standing behind, one hand on the girl’s shoulder. The girl smiled, happy as finally she had her mother’s full attention. The mother spun her around and pulled her into a giant hug. But it was all over in a matter of seconds as a man rounded the corner, tall and lean, face contoured into red knots, eyes blackened with resentment.
“We are GOING to be LATE.”
The smile was gone from the mother’s face in a matter of moments. She turned and quickly hurried away on the man’s heels. The girl looked around, a sudden darkness filling the room. Similar to the darkness in the man’s eyes. The girl turned to the window and another figure clung to her shoulder.
She cried for hours, screaming in horror. But that didn’t stop the red mark appearing on her side where the man had hit her for crying too loud. It stung for days leaving bruising she couldn’t forget. The mother wiped away her daughter’s tears and walked out the door, past the white picket fence and into the judgmental eyes of a cruel world. The girl’s face twitched and turned until a smile appeared, giving no hints to what went on when inside the comfort of the white picket fence.
My bedroom was where I fled after the long day’s but over the years it became my sanctuary. It grew up with me and became apart of me. The piercing cold wind was my medicine. It blew the fog around, clearing it for just a moment. But the wind only ever came through the window and the window never opened. It was decorated with invisible bars put there by the monster.
Most nights I would pull and tug on the old ragged glass, slicing the palms of my hands. Over time the slices soon turned into tangled scars leaving evidence of the monster that visited at night.
I gawked at the window with my mutilated reflection looking back. The old window never changed, over time it fogged up and cracked letting time mark its peaceful surface. The sticky red glow that now trickled from my palms decorated the window clearing a patch of fog. Which let me see out beyond the old white picket fence. I lived in a town of total darkness. The large mountains that created the horizon line were lit up with smoky white cloud cover leaving the stars to burn through the darkness lighting up the sky.
But I couldn’t see it.
The darkness overlapped the clouds growing around the trees and slowly surrounding my small house. Something was coming. I knew the darkness well, we grew up together but it never got this close.
We first met when I was wearing a pink dress. I was scared then, but now I knew it wasn’t a monster to fear. It was the darkness that comforted me after my father left. His beautiful soul still burned strong through my brother’s eyes.
I remember as we all dressed in black and walked in the rain, our faces wet from the tears and our minds numb from the funeral. I was so young. My mother sobbed into another man’s arms, his black eyes matching his suit. He left marks on everything he touched. When he was around everything was harder, it was like breathing underwater. I missed the way my mother used to be when my father was around, I missed our old home and missed the old neighbours. But I couldn’t bring the passed back.
My face was wet and cold, looking into my reflection I didn’t even recognise myself and the tears bubbled out over the note I had written. I wanted to stay in the darkness but leaving was easier. I looked down at the picture I held. My dad was now all bloody and wrecked from my crimson palms. I couldn’t feel it the ragged cuts over my hands, but I needed to feel something. I tugged again on the window, pulling it harder than I had before. It swung open breaking silence. The darkness lurched forward grabbing me by the hand, swallowing me up.
I finally got to see the stars.
A family of three stood around two tombstones, all dressed in black. The mother couldn’t bare the pain as she sobbed for hours into the man’s arms. He would never again be accepted as the father that helped shape two beautiful children, as he was the darkness that hid the stars. The mother would never know how badly the white picket fence affected the girl in the pink dress. But the brother stood away from the two adults, reading a note that was crusted in red blood. He understood her. The note was only a small thing but big enough to kidnap the boy’s thoughts and dreams, leaving nothing but broken bridges and unhemmed seams.
His soul was touched with the darkness his sister knew all to well.
By Hailee Pickering