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It's Getting Dark

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I know it's getting dark. Something is definitely pulling my shoulder. But what? And why do I listen to the voices? They're not real anyway.

"It's getting dark, sir."

My eyes are still closed. I think I should open them. That may help.

"It's getting dark, sir. You don't want to get stuck in the park when it's dark."

An old man is pulling my shoulder. Where do I know him from? I've met him, but I can't remember.

"You shouldn't fall asleep in the park, sir. It may be dangerous here at night. You may get stuck."

I fell asleep. Okay, so it must have been a dream. Just fell asleep on a bench in the park.

"Thank you, sir. I must have fallen asleep," I say.

"Don't mention it, sir. I'll be on my way now. You better go your's as well. Have a good night."

Kind man. Where do I know him from? Does he work here? But he's right. Better be on my way as well. Now, how to get out of this park? I better ask the old man. Where has he gone? I don't see him anymore.

"Hey!"

No answer. Where could he be?

"Hey! You sir! Where are you?"

No answer. I'd better start moving then. It's getting dark. But what direction do I go? The park can't be that big. I'd better just walk in a straight line then.

(...)

The park seems bigger than I thought. It's getting dark. Soon, I won't be able to see anything anymore. The man said I would get stuck in the dark. I don't want to spend the night here. Not in the cold. It's very cold for the time of the year. How odd. And it's dark, too; isn't there supposed to be a moon in the sky somewhere? There's no moon or stars. just a grey sky turning black. I'd better hurry.

(...)

I'm so tired. This park is huge. When am I going to find the exit? It's getting darker and colder by the minute. I hate the cold, and I hate that wind even more. It's that awful, creepy wind that sounds like whispering in the bushes.

"Stop whispering!"

Why did I do that? Why did I just shout? There's nobody here, no voices, just the wind playing strange games with my mind. It happens all the time when people get too tired. I should probably rest. No, no, the old man was right, I'd better not fall asleep in the park. I should try to get home.

(...)

Wait, what's that sound over there? It's not the voices of the wind. It's more like singing, a woman's singing over there. Damned fog. I hate fog. I wish I could see what's happening. Who is singing?

"Hey!"

There's no reaction. I better try to get a closer look.

(...)

Looks like people. Maybe it's the old man.

"Hey!"

Still no reaction.

"Hey, you two over there!"

They don't seem to hear me. Maybe I should try and catch up with them. I'd better start running.

"Hey! I'm coming over to you guys! Wait for me!"

They still don't hear me. It could be that they're deaf. But if that's the case, why are they singing? They look like children. What are they doing out here in the park at this ungodly hour? I'd better run a bit faster. Ah, there we go. I'm catching up with them.

"Hello! Hey! You there!"

They've seen me. A little girl and a boy. Is he her younger brother?

"Wait for me!"

They stopped singing. That's good. I'm almost there. It seems to be a playground.

(...)

"Hello. Who are you two, then?"

Why don't they answer me? It could be that they're not allowed to talk to strangers, but this is a special situation. They shouldn't even be out here in the first place. Where are their parents?

"It's getting dark sir."

"I know it's getting dark. I am trying to get out of the park. You should better do the same. Come along with me. The park is too dangerous for little children at this hour."

"Don't worry sir. Grandaddy will come for us pretty soon."

Is he the old man I saw? I can't really remember how he looked.

"You were going in the wrong direction, sir. The exit of the park is over there."

"Are you sure? I mean..."

"You better hurry sir, it is getting dark. You don't want to get stuck in the dark."

"You're right, I should be going. Thank you. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, sir. You'd better hurry."

(...)

They started singing again. It's a nursery rhyme, but it's not a good one. I should have taken those kids with me. It's not safe for them to be here in the park, not at this time. Not while it's getting dark. Who knows if their grandfather will find them? I should go back for them.

(...)

Wait. I can't hear them singing any more. Where are they? Damned fog. Damned darkness. I'd better go back and try to find them. Surely, it can't be that far. I only walked for about a minute.

(...)

Where are they? The playground is empty. Are they playing hide and seek? This isn't funny!

"Hey!"

Where are they? They're kids, so they can't be too difficult to find. Are they behind the trees? No. Somewhere in the sandbox? They're damned good at hiding.

"Hey!"

There's no reaction, only silence. Where could they possibly be?

"Where are you guys? Come on! I'm not playing!"

I don't know. Maybe they are hiding in the bushes. There's just so many bushes here.

(...)

I think I hear them. They're over there, in the bushes, whispering. They're probably laughing at me right now because I can't find them. I'll surprise them by going around the bush and take them from behind.

(...)

Okay, they must be here somewhere. I can hear them whispering clearly now.

"Come out! This isn't a game any more! It's getting dark!"

They can't be that far away. They're just two little kids, hiding in the bushes. Damnit. I wish that the fog would go away. It's getting darker now and I can hardly see the bushes around me. Where is the playground? Where am I?

(...)

I can't hear the whispering any more. They've gone silent now. Where could they be? Maybe I can see them when I get out of the bushes.

"Hey! Come here at once, you two!"

There's no reaction. I don't know, maybe I just missed them. Maybe their grandfather has already come for them. If so, that leaves me with just one thing to do; I have to get out of here.

(...)

The girl showed the way out starting from the playground. If I can find the playground back, I'll have a good point of reference. It can't be that far from here.

(...)

There we go, that's more like it. I'm back at the playground. Now it can't be that difficult getting out of the park. Maybe I should rest now. I'm so tired. I won't fall asleep, all I'll do is close my eyes for ten seconds, easy as that. One. Two. No problem. Three. Four. Five. I'm not falling asleep. Six. Seven. Eight. Almost there. Nine. Ten. Open my eyes. See? Nothing happened to me. Now I just have to start walking. All it is is one straight line out of the park, out of the darkness. Did the girl say that I would get stuck in the dark?

(...)

One straight line, just like I said, but it's a long one. When is this park going to end? Did the girl actually know the right way out? Why did I just do what she said without thinking? It's getting darker still. It's cold and foggy and windy and miserable. How can it be foggy and windy at the same time? My body is so tired. I just want to go to bed. I hate it here. I have to get out of this park.

(...)

It shouldn't be too far from here now. The park must end at some point, right? Pretty soon I'll be at the gate and back into the city. There we go. God, I really need to go to bed.

(...)

What was that? Was it the wind in the bushes again? It sounded like that song, that awful nursery rhyme. But it's gone now. Could the kid's still be out here somewhere?

"Hey! You two! Are you still here?"

Maybe they're still hiding out there. Should I go back to the playground for one last good look? No, they weren't there the last time. It's a waste of time to go back. It's even darker now. My only worry should be to get out of this damned park.

(...)

It's getting darker. I'm so tired now. My whole body is tired. Maybe I can close my eyes again. Just ten more seconds. Precious rest before the last part of my journey. I just have to close my eyes. I can even keep on walking. I won't fall asleep. I can't fall asleep while walking. Yes, that's the ticket, just ten seconds of walking with my eyes closed. One. Two Th-

(...)

Damn it! Damned tree! Damn you! Why was I so stupid to walk with my eyes closed? Thankfully I'm not hurt, I just have a strange feeling in my shoulder. No pain though. I'd better hurry now. It's so dark I can barely even see.

(...)

Wait, what's that? Is that a light over there? Damned fog. It seems like a light, probably a street light. I think I found the gate! Only a few hundred meters or so from here. I'll be there in less than a minute, even sooner if I run!

(...)

Okay, now my shoulder hurts a bit. I'd better stop running for now. If I just take another short break, my shoulder can heal. Just ten seconds with my eyes closed. One. Two. This feels good. Three. Four. I can't fall asleep. Five. Six. I'm almost there. Seven. Eight. I feel so tired.

(...)

My shoulder doesn't seem to heal that fast. Maybe running isn't such a good idea after all. Maybe I better just walk to the gate. It's not far from here now. I could clearly see it when my eyes were still open. My eyes...

(...)

Right, my eyes! I should open my eyes. Don't fall asleep while standing here in the dark! It is getting darker all around me, some how. I think I should open my eyes. No, wait. I was counting. Where was I? Eight? Yes, eight. Nine. Ten. There we are. I should open my eyes now. Just wait for one more moment. It's just so nice with my eyes closed. I won't get stuck in the dark, I promise. I'll open my eyes, and then just walk out of the park. Simple as that.

(...)

I hear that the wind is getting stronger. I hear the whispering in the bushes. It sounds like real voices now. Could I understand them? I hear "uck" and "ark". Are they actually saying anything? Do they want to speak to me? I should try to listen better.

"T s tin ark"

I don't understand a word of it. How could I? It's just wind in the bushes. I shouldn't get carried away.

"I is getting dark".

Hold on, those are real words. That's a real sentence. I can understand that. But how is that possible? How can the wind do that?

"It is getting dark, sir".

"Of course it is getting dark! I don't need the wind whispering in the bushes to know that."

If I just open my eyes, I would see it. It is cold and dark, my body is tired and I have a strange feeling in my shoulder from colliding with a tree. I'm so tired. I just better start walking.

(...)

"It's getting dark."

The wind keeps playing tricks with my mind.

"I know it's dark, I know there's a fog, I know there's wind, and I definitely know that I'm tired. All of this will soon be over. Now shut up!"

"It is getting dark."

I should just ignore the voices. They're not real, just wind in the bushes, just keep walking, I'm almost there. The gate can't be more than one hundred meters away now. Almost there. Almost home. Almost in bed.

(...)

Wait, what's that? Something's pulling me back! Something is pulling my shoulder back into the park, as if it is drawn to the tree again! No, that's impossible. I'm just tired and confused. I just need a few seconds of rest, that's all. I just need to close my eyes for a few seconds. That's all. I'm nearly there now.

(...)

I know it's getting dark. Something is definitely pulling my shoulder. But what? And why do I listen to the voices? They're not real anyway.

"It's getting dark, sir."

My eyes are still closed. I think I should open them. That may help.

"It's getting dark, sir. You don't want to get stuck in the park when it's dark."

An old man is pulling my shoulder. Where do I know him from? I've met him, but I can't remember.

"You shouldn't fall asleep in the park, sir. It may be dangerous here at night. You may get stuck."

I fell asleep. Okay, so it must have been a dream. Just fell asleep on a bench in the park.

"Thank you, sir. I must have fallen asleep," I say.

"Don't mention it, sir. I'll be on my way now. You better go your's as well. Have a good night."

Kind man. Where do I know him from? Does he work here? But he's right. Better be on my way as well. Now, how to get out of this park? I better ask the old man. Where has he gone? I don't see him anymore.

"Hey!"

No answer. Where could he be?

"Hey! You sir! Where are you?"

No answer. I'd better start moving then. It's getting dark. But what direction do I go? The park can't be that big. I'd better just walk in a straight line then.

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