What the Darkness does
Updated: Apr 9
One day we all wake up and find ourselves curled up in the woods, where the trees seem slightly denser and their entwining branches some shades darker. A place where the endless mountains seem like giants and the peaks that rise even higher than the tallest trees, are their chests heaving deeply through their slumber. Immediately you spring up, your bare hands and feet covered in dirt and mossy soil which seethe into your skin. The surroundings seem insignificant in your state of panic as you try to remember how you got here.
The pine trees stand lifelessly under the gloomy canopy of the clouds. You draw a deep breath and your head spins as you feel your lungs filling with oxygen, but you do not realize that instead, you are drowning in the surrounding shadows as they seep through your eyes and pour down your throat. Shadows of shrivelled thorn-vines and gaunt branches, crawling out of hollow barks, reaching for you, as they feed on your fear, merging their soot coloured hue as they turn into sharp talons, enclosing around you.
Dusty stars are scattered across the sky's blanket and clinging to its pale threads, the moon howls behind the clouds, its yellow lining blurring into an eerie glow. It isn't until you feel the prowling eyes glinting beneath the bushes that you start running. Running deep into the forest’s darkness. You only stop when stealthy footsteps are heard nearing on your tracks. You glance back in intervals only to stare bewildered at waves of leaves and branches, left rustling from your own passing. Trapped in a haunting paradox of being chased by your own ghost you keep running…and running… as cuts and bruises start to surface through your skin.
Weak and wounded you suddenly come to a stop when you notice an ice-glazed cave towering before you, icicles dangling from its mouth, just above the entrance. You find it hard to breathe, as if you had been wrapped in a shroud which only now unfolds to reveal your writhing heart burning through your lungs and your hot breath condensing into the frozen air. In the distance you hear the faint flow of a silk woven stream, its waters gushing above its rocky bed. But instead you walk into the icy cave, too exhausted to follow the chirping of the sparrows or the cooing of the white doves as they flutter into the thick fog that has settled around you.
You take several hesitant steps into the mirror cave, where you notice a familiar yet pallor complexion staring back at you wherever you turn. The disfigured face hides deep under every surface of ice. In the beginning all you do is listen to its faint whispers through the walls but as days and nights go by the whispers become piercing echoes trapped between the cave walls. With each shrill an icicle drops plunging deep into the snow forming a blockade along the only exit. Now you are trapped but you are too afraid to shout. Too paralysed to move. Too numb to feel your own skin that has started to crack, inside and out, flaking away while the snowflakes filling your gaping wounds turn to crimson diamonds.
Soon you turn cold and your heart beat fades into the whistling winds of the blizzard you created...
But this is not your story is it? You were built to survive. So step out of the cave, follow the breeze that carries the birdsongs, and disappear from these woods. Wherever you are you can still escape. This isn’t you.