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Into the Depths
“Are you scared?” He questions, tilting his head ever so slightly.
“No.” I lie.
It’s dark. Tendrils of inky blackness wrap around my room and suck in any sliver of light that might come in through the curtains. My alarm rings and the sound slices through the silence like a syringe burying deep into the skin. My hand, glowing white in the darkness, flails around in empty space trying to grope for the clock. My eyes are crusted over with sleep. I slowly open them, adjusting them to the lack of light and for a second, I don’t remember where I am or why I am awake. Across the room, the numbers of the alarm clock glow an eerie red and read two a.m. The machine slumbers serenely on the table, no traces of the clamor it had made earlier.
I twist around. Blankets restrain my legs like dog collars, hold me there, and tell me not to go. I pull free with a grunt and land with a deep thud on the scratchy, stiff carpet. I lay there for what seems like hours, listening to crickets’ noisy conversations and for a squeak of the floorboards or the groan of weight being shifted on a mattress.
When all is still, I pick myself off of the floor. Not a sound is made to disturb the slumber of the house as I tiptoe my way to the door. Being careful not to stumble over the clothes, books, and clothes hangers absentmindedly strewn across the floor, I reach the door and draw in a short, quick breath.
The handle is calming and cold compared to the heat and anxiousness emanating from my rigid body. I turn the handle, careful not to turn it too fast. I hear the springs inside click and the door swings open just a crack. I stick my hand through and my fingers feel the rough wood that I have stubbed my toes on one too many times in the past, but now, I can no longer look back and smile at the memories of that innocent child. I casually pull the door open even though my heart is racing. Towards what, I don’t know.
Moonlight floods the hallway. The milky light turns the couches and walls a creamy blue while the shadows are the color of the ocean’s depths. My muffled footsteps pad across the floor. The sound reverberates through the big, empty house. It reminds me of running through the magnificent church in Italy when no one was around, my laughter bouncing off the colorful mosaics of angels and the grand but terrifying altar.
My hands trail along the railing, which is smooth now from the years of use. I step over the section of floor that creaks and before I know it, I am downstairs.
The house groans in complaint as I shift my weight from one foot onto another. I gingerly step on the wood floor and with each step, the pipes protest with a stuttering clang. My moist feet makes suction noises as I lift my heel, balance on my toes, and lift my other foot up and cautiously put it down. The refrigerator hums with life and of the secrets that are kept hidden behind its doors. The only light penetrating the shadows is from a tall, glass window in which the moon can spy in on the mischievous things humans do in the middle of the night.
Suddenly, I person as pale and brilliant as the inside of a clam, with hands splayed flat out on the glass, presses against the window. I am not frightened. I do not jump nor do I scream. I tell myself that this is what I’m here for.
I take my time meandering around my enormous stereo, my dining room table, and my glossy kitchen counter to get to the figure that is now enveloped in shade. I unlock the window and the click of the latch pleads with me to not do this. It’s too late. I push it open and the window makes the sound of a water gun; when you pull the trigger only to find out it has run out of water. But in the stillness, the sound is amplified and it reverberates through the whole house, invading every nook and cranny. We freeze and it’s as if time itself has stopped.
“Relax,” I whisper, “everything will be okay.”
He scrunches up his nose and wrinkles appear between his brows and in the corners of his mouth. “Did everything go well?”
“Yes, they haven’t made a sound.” I speak softly into his ear. “Are you safe?”
“Of course,” He says as he leans closer to me.
We kiss. It is a cold one, one that murmurs of the future.
His hand feels huge in mine as we noiselessly sneak up the stairs, all the while, listening to the house’s roaring snores. My heart feels like a bunny trapped in a lion’s cage knowing that it will be ripped apart and eaten at any moment.
I gently close my bedroom door and it fits into place with a dull knock. My thumb finds the indent of the lock and I gradually push it in until I hear a metallic twang. I turn around and almost run into the broad shoulders that tower a couple inches above me. He catches me as I stumble on a collision course towards the wall. I find myself snug and warm in his arms; drowsiness overcomes me and replaces the feeling of sprinting far away from here.
“We… made… it.” He gasps, trying to calm his labored breathing.
“I know.” I muffle into his thin shirt.
We faintly laugh; our hearts dizzy among the stars. We drown among the blankets as we embrace and hope for the best.