Late. I know. I'm a terrible person who has been busy and lazy lately. This story came to me last night before I went to bed and is probably better than what I'd had planned beforehand.
I hope to have a second story up today, and then both days missed will be made up for.
Word count: 1,040.
To say I was afraid of the dark wouldn’t too far from the truth, but I was never the darkness itself that frightened me so. Even the thought of things lurking in it did not perturb me. Instead, somehow, it was the thought of what wasn’t there that caused me such fright. The absence of light was the obvious fear, but my nights were filled with vague horrors of myself grasping blindly about in the blackest of night, reaching and groping for something that no longer existed.
And just to add on to those existing fears was the pervasive knowledge that there was no way to escape the darkness. No matter what it would come. Even the brightest of lights would eventually flicker and die—leaving me alone in the darkness, where things moved on their own and I vainly struggled to find what I would never be able to.
You can imagine, then, how I felt when I awoke to find myself in a brightly lit cell. The floor had deep recesses in between crisp white tiles and dotting the walls and high-anchored ceiling were powerful floodlights. It wasn’t a painful amount of light—all it really did was make me aware of just how large the holding area was.
I stood there, washed in the powerful lights that shone all over the room, and felt that prickle of fear. I could only identify one exit and it was magnetically locked. I knew that much.
“How are you this morning, Doctor?” came a slightly garbled female voice from the loudspeaker. Of course they were observing me.
“Quite well, and yourselves?” I managed to get out with only the slightest quaver in my voice.
“We’re quite eager, Doctor. You were doing some truly fascinating work on light deprivation…” I heard snickers in the background, her comrades no doubt. I heard papers being flipped over…those cretins were looking through my work! For an instant my fear was forgotten as rage took over—First these insignificant snots hold my staff and I at gunpoint and forcefully take over our lab—and now they’re stealing my research?
“I’m especially interested in this one, Doctor” Came the female voice again.
“And which one would that be?” I bit my tongue, holding back a choice name.
“The theory that the human brain can be so very disturbed by darkness that it can seem like objects are moving. I’m most eager to test this.” I could hear venom dripping from her voice—I only hoped that my other staff were managing to escape torment like this.
“And how do you suggest you do that?” I asked meekly, disgusted with my own cowardice.
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll find a way.” As she spoke, the magnetically locked door snapped open and two men dragged in a large couch with some very lumpy pillows. I raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
“I’ll let you get acquainted” She said maliciously, then the loudspeaker went dead.
I’m not ashamed to admit that the second the loudspeaker was turned off I let out a stream of venom and curses the likes of which I’d never uttered before…These impudent brats deserved every word of it. It was then, gasping with breath, that I moved to investigate the strange couch—and jumped back in shock and revulsion as the lumpy pillow began to thrash and convulse. Sickening though it looked, I swallowed my fear and moved forward…finally catching sight of a zipper. To say I was shocked and disgusted didn’t even come close, one of my staff was in that!
Angrily I grabbed the zipper and pulled it down, revealing a familiar form.
“…Martha?” I gasped out, seeing my wife before me—I hadn’t thought that these sickos would stoop so low! Martha for her part was silent, and it took me some time to discover that was because of a gag roughly stuffed into her mouth. Gently cradling her with one arm I undid the gag…just in time to see the lights go black.
“Fred!” I heard Martha cry, but to say that I was slightly frightened wouldn’t have been accurate. I was terrified, and in that terror it was all I could do not to hold Martha in a vice-grip.
“Shhh, hon,” I murmured, attempting to quell her fears…and with luck my own. “we’ll be fine, let’s just move to the door…maybe we can get out of here when they open it!” I spoke, sounding far more confident than I felt. Martha for her part, had always been a strong woman and giving my hand a tight squeeze she moved from the couch and to the tiled floor, with me not far behind.
About midway through the room (I estimated, it was impossible to see anything…or gauge distance in the thick darkness) I paused, frowning.
“What is it, Fred?” Martha whispered, sensing my reticence.
“The couch.” I muttered. “I just can’t figure out what the point of the couch is…surely they could have just dropped you on the floor?” Martha made a small noise of indignation at this, bringing a smile to my lips.
“If it’s bothering you that much, why not go investigate it?” She said softly. “I can make it to the door on my own, and then we’ll meet up, okay?”
Hesitantly I agreed and set off toward the direction I thought the couch was in. About twenty minutes later I became aware that I was hopelessly lost…but that didn’t make sense. Martha and I had moved in a straight line from the couch…and I had just reversed that…it should have been here…unless…
“Martha!” I cried, panic gripping at me. “Martha!”
There was no response. I searched the room for hours but it was exactly as I had expected…not just the couch, but Martha too…had vanished forever. Visions of my wife reaching blindly in the darkness came to me, I saw her fingers groping for something, anything before…before whatever it was that happened. I knew it couldn’t have been the door, because not only would I have heard the magnetic lock, but the light from the corridor would have been near blinding.
Though it defied all logic, my wife had simply vanished into the darkness…and I was left.