Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Dark

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Alone, she will never walk straight into a dark room.

When she is with others, it’s really no problem. She’ll stride in with purpose (although not unless someone else goes in first), and why wouldn’t she? After all, there’s nothing to fear from a dark room. It is exactly the same in the dark as in the light, whether or not she can see it.

But when she is alone, all by herself, no one around her to take the plunge (but it’s not really a plunge, after all, what is there to be scared of?) she will never, never walk into that room head-on. She might edge around the corner, sticking close to the wall as she squeezes her eyes shut, determined not to see (or rather, not see) the darkness in front of her. She might grope wildly around the doorway, trying to reach the light switch – after all, once a room isn’t dark anymore, it’s fair game. She might even tip-toe in shakily, nerves afire and ready to run, trying to convince herself that the room isn’t dark, there is moonlight coming through the window, see? She can still see something (not the nothingness, something), there’s nothing to be afraid of (not that it will ever work, that shoddy attempt at persuasion). But no matter what she tries, she won’t (can’t) ever gather the courage to just walk in as normally as can be, as if there was nothing wrong (but there isn’t).

It doesn’t make sense – she knows that. She usually prides herself on being a logical and rational person, confident that nothing supernatural exists and that the chances of someone sneaking in are low (aren’t they?) but as soon as she sees a dark room, all of that fades away. That strange shape in the corner – what is it? – could be a grotesque monster, ready to lunge at her as soon as she approaches. That strange movement by the window (it’s just the curtain swaying in the breeze) but what if it isn’t, what if it’s a murderer holding a cruelly serrated knife, rusted with blood, preparing to stab her five times in the gut? She knows that box by the desk is really just a box, she’s seen it thousands of times in the light, it’s just a box of old mementos, but in the dark, it transforms into a menacing threat, something that could kill her five times over. Every time she turns on the light in a dark room, she flinches, always expecting to see the worst, a monstrous creature or a person watching her from the corner. Every time, she is relieved to find that nothing is there (but what did you expect, a voice in her head whispers, monsters don’t exist) and she knows, she knows that with every fiber of her being (in the light) but that doesn’t make the fear any less real.

Really, it’s almost a cruel reversal of the state she’s always wanted to attain. It is irrational – exactly the opposite of what she strives to be – and she knows that. She tries to hide this abnormality of hers, tries to act normal, tries to make herself believe in her heart and soul what she knows without a doubt in the light. But it never works. Despite all her efforts, she continues to sidle into a room, continues to tentatively reach out for the light switch with her eyes scrunched shut, continues to expect a frightful sight every time the truth of a dark room is revealed. She continues to be disappointed (not that it’s a disappointment, it’s really a relief) every time, but she never stops, because she can’t. No matter what she knows will happen, what she knows she should expect, she can never gather the courage to face the dark head-on, to use the logic and rationality she encourages in herself and stop her cowardly (what else can she call it?) tendencies once and for all. For her, it’s impossible, because it is clear to her that she cannot change her ways.

It is clear to her that alone, she will never walk straight into a dark room.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback