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The Discomforts of Darkness

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Backstage Hallway

We're born out of darkness, and spend our whole lives fearing what's within it.

There once was a time in which I did not believe in monsters. It was while I was a young adult, when I had decidedly “grown up.” It didn’t take me long to realize that monsters are indeed a reality, though.

Most children grew up afraid of the dark; it’s perfectly natural, and when the nightmares came out from under the bed all you had to do was call for your parents.

Not me though, I wasn’t allowed to be afraid of the horrors that lurked between the fabric of sanity and madness; it’s because of this however, that I decided I didn't have to be afraid.

In fact, it was through fear that I developed a healthy respect for the darkness.

Of course with high school, we quickly grow out of what use to scare us, and shift our focus to other things like academics and relationships.

This was of course the case with me, though I kept that healthy respect for the dark and what lurked within it, tucked away in the recesses of my mind. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I again tasted that bitter fear of the night and the unspeakable that come with it.

I had stayed after school for something trivial, which I did often, and had decided to stay a little later to get some work done for a club meeting the next day. I of course lost track of time, and eventually fell asleep behind some bookshelves in the library. When I awoke, I found myself bathed in a darkness as thick as that behind my eyelids. This phased me only for a moment, and I soon began shuffling my way through the dark media center.

I found the exit easy enough and made my way into the school lobby. The lobby itself was bathed in the unsettling red light of the exit arrows, and it was then that I realized I had slept far too late, and everyone was gone. I followed the exit signs to the school entrance which, much to my inconvenience, was locked.

I think what began to bother me first was the silence. It was indeed very quiet, it was in fact so quiet that the sound it made my ears ring. It was that ringing that I wanted to get away from, and the unnerving silence causing it, so I began searching for an unlocked door, or maybe a janitor who had stayed later than necessary.

When it became clear that no doors were unlocked and nobody was about either, I began to just walk around aimlessly, that was until I finally did find someone.

This was much to my misfortune, as you can probably guess based on the series of events that I previously recalled to you. I made the mistake of calling out to whoever it may have been, a figure hunched over in front of a water fountain making unsavory slurping noises.

It appeared to be an elderly woman, dressed in a wool cowl, though it was too dark for me to tell for certain. I stepped forward and called out again, fearing that in her advanced age she might not have heard me. This again warranted no response, so I placed my hand on her shoulder to get her attention.

It was there that I made my last mistake. As a child, I would sleep in the very center of the bed, so that no monster could touch me. It seems that as long as you can avoid touching the creatures that exist in the darkness, they won’t harass you. I had just touched one. I quickly recoiled as the cowl fell to the ground, fearing she may be naked beneath.

What my eyes were greeted with, to this day, I’m not entirely sure I actually saw; from every angle on her rotten green flesh protruded an awful red eye or twisted maw. The whole body seemed to hiss and gurgle at me in greasy horror. It reached for me in what seemed like slow motion; I tried to scream, but my lungs wouldn’t surrender the necessary oxygen.

Running wasn’t an option either, as my legs lacked the courage to steal themselves from their current spot on the ground. With no options left, and what seemed to be my doom hissing ever so nearer, I was left with no other choice than to black out, and so I did.

I awoke the next day, with several administrators hovering over me, as well as a paramedic. I dared not recall my terrible experience from the night before, for I myself wasn’t sure if it had even happened, though now I am certain that it did. To this day I cannot walk into an unlit room, and I struggle to sleep without a gentle light to accompany me. I am not ashamed of my unshakable fear of the dark. If you had any idea what creatures lurk in the black recesses of the night, you would be afraid too.

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