Words Unspoken (Claire)

January 19, 2013
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She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There was no difference now. Dark, light, they were the same when her eyes were closed. It was almost as though the sun was still in the sky, or the even the moon or stars. But no, none of those now. It was pure darkness. Everywhere. Left, right. Back, forth. She could barely tell the difference. With her eyes still closed, she shoves my hands into the body of water that’s in front of her. It burns, she thinks to herself. My God, it burns.
She had fallen down so many times in this darkness. It hadn’t even been a full day since the darkness had come, and already she was bleeding from at least three different places. Her hands- she could imagine exactly what they would look like, if she could see them of course- were scraped up. As were her knees, and elbows. Help me. Someone, anyone, help me. She can’t speak. She has never spoken in her 14 years of life. The doctors were baffled, and they had every right to be. Her vocal chords were perfect. There was absolutely no reason for her to have never talked in her life.
She laughs without humor. Not true.
She knew exactly why she had never uttered the words “mama” or “dada” as her dear parents had hoped. Not because she didn’t want to, no, she was not heartless. She saw the disappointment in her mother’s eyes every Wednesday when she came home from speech therapy- to no avail. It broke her heart. So no, not because she didn’t want to. She couldn’t. And there was one word that summed up why.
It spoke to her. The darkness did. It scared her. Images, visions, flashes of anything that could terrorize her would appear to her in the dark. They were all around her now, she could feel them, but she kept her eyes shut. She could not see them with her eyes shut.
That’s how she knew they were real. She had read in many fiction books of the characters being overcome with visions, but they were all in their minds. This was not in her mind. The memories were, but of course they were there. There was no way to stop that, but she did her best to ignore them. She locked them away in the very back corners of her mind, so that she could live in peace. Mostly.
She hated the dark. Oh, how she hated it. She went to sleep every night before the sun went down, and made herself tired enough that she would not wake up before the sun had risen the next day.
Sometimes, she took pills.
Shame washed over her, and threatened to drown her, but she surfaced just in time. Just in time. How many times had she lied to her mother? Never out loud of course, but that didn’t make it any less of a lie, did it? It varied each time what she needed the pill for. Or at least, the reason she said she needed medicine for. She would scribble quickly on paper, ‘My stomach hurts,’ or a number of other things, and her mother would give her the medicine without second thought. Why would she? What reason did she have to doubt her mute daughter?
I’m sorry mom.
A tear ran down her cheek. And then another, and another, and another, until soon she was sobbing. She was horrible. A terrible piece of work that used her own mother so she wouldn’t have to face the darkness. No wonder she was in this place. No wonder she had ended up in the darkness anyways.
She wasn’t sure how long she sat there crying. Days? Hours? Minutes? Seconds? She didn’t know. But all the while she kept her eyes shut, squeezed shut, so that the demons could not torment her. But they did not leave. They were there, beside her, in front of her, behind her, everywhere, and she could feel them. She could feel there hunger to make her scream. Yes, that’s what they wanted. To hear her scream. That’s how they lived, off of little children’s nightmares. They were disgusting monsters.
But soon, they would die. She was sure of that. Her gut told her, they would die soon. They were vanquished by light, or they starved. All she had to do was endure a little longer without screaming, without feeding their twisted souls, and they would leave her. How had she never thought of this before? How had this thought never occurred to her?
But now she could feel the demons panic. They knew too. They would soon die, and hopefully, hopefully, take the darkness with them. What had she been doing? When the sun and stars and moon and people disappeared? She thought back. Had she caused this? Had she brought this on herself?
She remembered.
She had written down a request for medicine from her mother, and her mother had complied. But it was a Tylenol. One of the ones that did NOT make you drowsy. She knew if she refused it and asked for a different one, her mother would suspect, so she took it from her with silent thanks, and went to her room. She did not take the Tylenol. Funny, she was fine with taking medicine to make her go to sleep that she didn’t need, but it was suddenly immoral to take this capsule. She was as much of a monster as the demons that tormented her.
But since she had not taken anything to go to sleep, she did not sleep. She was so used to the pills, that now she could not sleep without one. And she couldn’t go steal one. That was wrong.
Oh, the irony.
So the dark had come. It crept up on her slowly, and took her by surprise. She had not closed her eyes in time, and now, here she was. Where ever ‘here’ was. And she now wished she had taken the Tylenol, because she had a colossal head ache. She was pitiful, really. This is what the dark did to people. It drove them mad.
Now the demons grew frantic around her, trying to make her open her eyes.
“Open your eyes!” one screamed.
“Please, open them!” another pleaded, which she rendered strange, but didn’t think much of it.
“Please! Open your eyes!” the first voice said, also pleading now. That voice! It sounded familiar! But where had she heard it from? She was positive the demons had never spoken to her before, so that was not where. Wait! Wait! She knew now! It’s her mother’s voice and her father’s too! But no, that could not be. They had disappeared with everyone else. It was just a trick. A sick, twisted trick the demons had put together to get her to open her eyes.
Sorry Darkness. I’m not that stupid.
But oh, how the pleas tore at her heart. Soon the voices, the demons, were crying. She was sure she heard one of them say, ‘Please, don’t die,’ but that was impossible. What did the demons care if she died? All they did was cause her pain and suffering. A thought occurred to her. What if it really is her parents? But no, that made no sense. She was surrounded by the Darkness, and it was playing with her mind, trying to destroy her. Trying to use her parents against her.
She pressed her hands to her ears and screamed loudly in her head, trying to block out the voices that were slowly killing her. Demons or not, they sounded like her mom and dad, and they were in anguish. So this was it then? This was what was going to save her or break her? How cruel of the Darkness. But, if she thought of it, not surprising. The Darkness always found a way to turn what you cared about the most and turn it into a weakness, something to use against you.
She was tired now. Tired of fighting. She had fought so hard, and she could feel her resistance slowly start to crumble away. She always knew this was going to happen, now that she thought about it. She had just been prolonging the inevitable. At least she had tried. She really truly had tried, and that made her feel slightly better. She had not gone down without a fight.
The last tear she was to cry slid silently down her cheek. She had a feeling that she would not be freed from the Darkness ever again after she opened her eyes, but that was okay. And she suddenly realized that she believed that. It was worth knowing that she had at least done her best. I love you mom, dad. And I’m sorry. She wished now that she had been able to whisper those words to her parents. Maybe she could have. She realized, she had never tried talking before. The Darkness had always scared her from it. She silently wondered if she really could talk.
Slowly, she opened her mouth. Slightly, ever so slightly. She felt her eye lids begin to open, and she knew she didn’t have much time left, so with a shaky, never used- or tried- voice, she whispered,
“I love you…”

Claire’s mother and father sat in the back of the ambulance, each clutching a hand. “Claire! Claire! Wake up!” her mother sobbed. It was no use though. Claire was not responding. The paramedics said it was a drug overdose. But how? Claire only took medicine when she needed it… right? Claire’s mother sobbed even harder now. Her baby. Her poor baby. She wasn’t even angry that Claire had overdosed, she just wanted her baby girl to open her eyes. “I love you baby,” Claire’s mother whispered between sobs. She rocked back and forth, hanging onto Claire’s hand. “I love you,”
When would they arrive at the hospital? They needed to get there soon! Her baby could die… Claire’s mother cried harder. “Don’t die Claire! Don’t leave us!” her sobs were so loud that she almost didn’t hear what happened next.
“Look!” Claire’s father said, pointing to Claire’s lips. They were moving. “Listen!”
Claire’s mother and father leaned in closely to Claire and just barely heard the three words come out.
“I love you.”
And then the heart monitors went flat.

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