The Dark

The Dark

A Story by Ria Kova

It is normal to fear the dark. Even so, King's fear isn't normal. When misfortune lays down all its cards, King is left to face his greatest fear one on one.

  King wasn’t the type of teenagers that you could leave home alone for over a week. His parents, who were unexpectedly flying off to a business trip in Mexico, were not aware of that.
  “C’mon, you two, you didn’t even warn me about this,” King laughed nervously. “I’m totally unprepared.”
  “There’s no need for that K.” Meanwhile his father was trying to place the numerous luggages inside the car’s trunk in the most economic way possible. “We know just how much you want to get rid of us,” he laughed.
  “Mum,” King said, turning to his beautiful mother, who was standing on the footpath to their house waiting patiently. His eyes were pleading. “Isn’t anyone going to stay with me?”
  Apart from Dom, the unwanted though crossed his mind.
  “I’ll starve here on my own!” King moaned, almost failing to hide his desperate tone. “Honestly, I can’t even boil an egg. I lied to you. Whenever you two were staying late at work I survived on fast food.”
  “Well, you’re still alive, aren’t you?” Mother laughed, the sound like chiming bells. “I’m pretty sure that by the time me and Dad are back you’ll finally learn how to use the microwave.”
  “King, you’re a young man now,” said Father as he somehow managed to push in an extra bag into the filled-to-the-limits trunk. “You should learn to live on your own. In another three years you’re graduating school, after which I’m kicking you off my back and out of the house into the real, hardworking world. And if you get too lonely, you can always invite Chris. Throw a party or something. Bring a girl over for God’s sake!”
  A glare from Mother. Father faked an innocent smile and duck inside the car. 
  “Hurry up, no time to lose!” he called.
  Mother opened her arms for a hug. King’s heart dropped to his heels. His mother was on the pavement, facing his side. He was on their lawn, exposed to the bright summer Sun. Hugging her meant turning away from his shadow, letting it do whatever it wanted.
  King delayed, and then rushed to his mum in his hobbling trying-not-to-panic-and-run walk. The hug lasted much shorter than King wanted it to be.
  And then they were gone.
  The very moment the car disappeared out of view King took his phone from his back pocket and, constantly glancing at pitch-black shadow, dialed his best and only friend.
  “Your majesty,” a mocking voice came from the other line. 
  “Chris, I can’t do this,” said King, surprised that he was already sobbing.
  “Had they left already?” 
  “Yes, a few seconds ago.”
  Chris was silent for a moment, then said:
  “Bro, if we’d knew about this earlier I would’ve been there already. I begged Dad but he insists for me to sleep at home tonight. Just one night, bro, we can do this. This week’s allowance is already on my balance, we can talk for all 24 hours. Think about the fun week that’s ahead. Listen, remember I wagered with Val that if she plays Counter-strike for an hour straight without dying…” Chris went on, leaving the topic behind.
Trying to convince King that everything would be fine or trying to help him overcome his phobia were far from being the wisest actions at the moment. 
  We all have a fear of the dark. Some of us hide it; some of us can overcome it; for some it is essential to light the way to their beds with their phones even in their adulthood. When in the dark, there will always be a spark on anxiety. It is only normal to fear the unseen and the unknown.
  King’s situation, however, was far from normal.
  His parents believed that his pathological fear of the dark was long over after several sessions with a psychologist back in King’s childhood. The truth was, King was only pretending that everything was alright. He realized just how serious his own case was, and that if he would’ve lied so well to the doctor-guy he’d be sent to some polyclinic, if not straight to some spooky asylum. As long as the bright light from the table-lamp was shining on his face, King could pretend that talking about the dark didn’t affect him anymore, although each session only made it worse.
  As King grew older, his fear rose to higher levels. 
  He wouldn’t attend to watch the school’s matches, as it would mean sitting in the shade, the shadow, the almost darkness, for too long. He’d never attend concerts or parties, as it would mean returning home after sunset. King had missed a lot of baseball games because they were at night " a reason why he’d left the team, although he was an amazing player. He tried football, as it meant playing out in the sunny field. Unfortunately, King was never good at it since he tripped way too much, a reason for that being him constantly spinning round to check on his running shadow. King was deemed to be very attentive at class. Truth was, King’s school was modernized and media was essential in their studies. The luminosity of the monitors was the only thing King could hold on to whilst in the dark of the classroom whilst watching educative movies. His grades weren’t that good though. Most of his lessons King slept through. 
  At night he had no time to sleep. At night he sat on the bed facing his tall shadow cast across the floor, surrounded by lamps and candles, the curtains shut tightly. In his left hand was a torch. In his right a phone, on the other line of which was Chris, and on his lap - a prayer-book. King wasn’t as religious as his God-fearing mother. Most of the time, when reading prayers, he would think not of God, not of his own sins, but of his mother, whom he considered to be the most precious, most holy being in the whole world. 
It was the presence of his heavy-sleeping parents in the house that helped King to survive mentally.
  And now, they weren’t here. 
  “…and she killed me, like, twelve times,” Chris complained.
  “Is she really that good?” King asked.
  "Go online and see for yourself. Oh gosh, damn! Make that thirteen times!”
  King looked up at his villa. It was a Victorian-styled, two-storey building which stood here since last century. Within the past fifty years the house was coated with new paint and was gifted with a new golden roof, a big pool and a white marble wall fencing the territory. 
  The Sun was high, and the front door was curtained by a shadow. King took a deep breath and run for the door. He nearly slammed into it, and gave a squeak of panic when his sweaty hands slipped off the door knob. He grabbed it from his second attempt and literally fell inside. 
  “Dude, you alright?” Chris’ worried voice was next to King’s ear. He picked the phone that he dropped and breathed into the microphone: “Stage one survived.” 
  King quickly ran through the house, turning on all the required light on " the ones in the living room, the bathrooms, the staircases and his parent’s room, where he planned to stay that unfortunate night. 
The rest of the day passed smooth. The two boys were constantly talking and laughing whilst shooting each other in various online games. It felt just like any other normal day when his parents weren’t home. The day passed quite fast, too. Very soon King was already in the bedroom, when the sky began turning orange.
King lived in an anomalous zone of the region where in the middle of July, for some cosmic reason he didn’t know about, the days were only eight hours long. The Sun rose at nine and sat at five. It just had to be that time of July.
  King brought up his laptop, a bunch of snacks and the usual set of flashlights, candles and lighters. The next few hours were fun. King was just laying on the bed (which he stripped off the sheets of to prevent making creases that cast tiny shadows), and laughed at the sound of his friend cursing the girl he liked for shooting him in the head every time he tried to make a move on her.
  It happened near midnight.
  King was rolling around, laughing hard when the phone dropped and went under the bed. King calmly took a flashlight and bent over the edge, when he realized the flashlight wasn’t working. Neither did the other two. King searched the room for batteries and found none. His room had no lights on as he believed that he took everything needed from it. He wouldn’t dare enter. Using a lighter wouldn’t be wise, as the floor was covered by a fluffy carpet. One wrong move and the carpet was no more. King nervously bit his nails. He then took an umbrella and searched the bed for a familiar glow. The phone was just there, King could’ve reached his hand. If he only he could. King hooked his phone’s trinket with the umbrella’s handle. 
  “The dark can’t crawl,” King kept repeating to himself. Those were one of the very few soothing words that Chris dared to use at extreme situations. “The dark can’t crawl.”
  He tilted the umbrella just a degree. The shadows on the umbrella’s material moved. With a screech escaping his throat, King pulled the umbrella. Too much force. The phone first hit his face and then, though he was trying to catch it, the phone just skipped right out of the window. King heard a quiet splash of water. 
  He first moaned, then whined, then screamed. He took the umbrella, stuck a flashlight in his pocket and went out of the room. Down the hallway was his room. There he had batteries. He stood in front of the bedroom door for almost ten minutes. The switches were opposite the door, across the room, above his working table. Why on Earth was the switch all the way there, King never understood. He knew that the electric cables were lead through the house years after it was built. All the switches had weird locations. Maybe the owner of the house was frugal and wanted to shorten the cable’s length and cost by locating the switches as close to the main power as possible. Maybe it was a designer’s thing. Whatever was the reason, King hated the person who made the final decisions. 
  King took a deep breath; probably the twentieth one in the past ten minutes. Finally, he opened the door. 
  The light from the corridor lit his path to the table. However, his way was blocked by his own shadow. The longer King stared at it, the more he was convinced that the thing would smile at him any moment. Open its mouth and laugh at him. Then go silent and stare back. King took the first step in.
“Stay where you are, Dom,” King whispered, tears rolling down his cheeks. 
Now, don’t ask me who was Dom. King had no idea himself, although he was the one who, subconsciously, created him. King wasn’t sure whether he addressed the darkness, or whether Dom was hiding in the dark. Dom could be anything. Dom could be nothing. But Dom is always here, in his house.
  Step, by step, by step. The ray of light was narrowing. His shadow was almost touching the darkness.
  “I’m in the light,” King kept repeating. “I’m in the light.”
  King stretched out his hand and pressed the tip of the umbrella on the switch. For a second nothing happened. King jerked to turn around and run for it, and then the lights were on. He covered his mouth with a hand, which was already opened to yell. King sobbed and fought for his knees not to bend.
 The batteries were all gone.
  King had to go through the same process when entering the kitchen. Thankfully, the switches were right next to the arch. No batteries there either. King went through the back door outside. On his way he switches all the light he could find. The back yard was as bright as day. King stood at the edge of the pool and looked down. There was his phone. Without a second though he jumped in.
  The pool was King’s most favorite place in the world. The bright lights shone from all directions. His shadow was nearly invisible. King allowed himself to sink down. He ignored his phone and just sat there with his eyes closed. King had learned to hold his breath for almost three minutes. He trained himself to automatically spring out of the water to catch some air and then sink back down to the water. He didn’t get the chance to go through his usual routine though.
  As mentioned before, King’s house was old. Very old. So were the cables and the whole electric conductivity. Back when King’s parents bought the house, which was about ten years ago, the cables seemed to be just fine, so said by mechanics who were placing the new chandelier in the living room. However fine they might’ve seemed, but lighting up a hundred-twenty square kilometers all at once was too much. 
  Suddenly the lights were off. King shot for the surface. He rolled onto the tile, coughing hard to get out all the water that he gasped in. His eyes were wide open, lines of blood travelling through his eyeballs. He didn’t have to look up to realize what had happened. He couldn’t see a thing. The lights from his house, the lights from the far neighbor’s house and the lights from the street light were gone. Even the sky was covered by heavy dark clouds. 
  Nothing. He could see absolutely nothing. Grave silence hung in the air. King could only hear his loud sobs and other horrible sounds that his own throat was making. King held his breath. He was numb and paralyzed, yet he knew he had to move as fast as possible. Dom wouldn’t miss this opportunity. King was in his back yard and that was very bad. He was still inside his house’s territory, which meant that Dom could still come for him. And he was also outside, exposed to the night. Moe, the darkness of 7th Street - King’s street - could easily join the game. Two of them together was just too much. 
  King began crawling towards his house. He believed that he was moving towards his house, as he wouldn’t tear his eyes off the tile, which he could barely see. He had to go back into the house. There was no other way out of the yard. He’ll go for the front door and out of the house, down 7th street and then… He didn’t know what he’d do then.  He just had to move. 
  He screamed when he bumped into the stairs. Going up those five tiny stairs took forever, with his whole body shaking and convulsing. King didn’t even pray - his own thoughts were too loud in his head. He reached the back door, which he’d left open, and fell inside. He didn’t know how long he laid on the carpet of the hallway. Inside the house everything was pitch-black. Dom was all over the house. Dom ate the house. Dom was the house. 
  King gasped for air - he’d forgotten to breathe. He inhaled the air loudly. Dom would hear. King couldn’t hold his scream at the realization of it. Dom would definitely hear. His scream echoed too clearly, too loudly, and continued for too long. King finally found the strength to move, dragging himself along the floor. Inch by inch, he moved clearly by memory. Dom was breathing at his nape.  Dom was breathing at his face. Dom was whispering in King’s ear. King swore that he saw his own name written all over the dark. King wanted to shut his eyes, lie to himself that there was light around him, that he couldn’t see it through his lids because he closed them so tight. Yet his eyes were wide open, never blinking. His eyes craved for light. King hoped that his eyes would somehow adjust, that he’d be able to see at least something. Even if they did get used to the dark, King’s face was always pressed against the floor.
  There was a screech right under him. King’s scream was equivalent to the squeal of a bat. He had reached the living room. King didn’t remember the wooden floor to screech that badly. He moved even slower now, if you could even call that moving. The smallest pressure on the wood made it scream. The wood was literally screaming at him - King couldn’t find another description for that horrible sound. After a while, King was able to crawl just a bit faster - the wood was now giggling. King giggled too. He was choking on his tears. He crawled and cried and giggled. Dom was giggling too, somewhere near. King didn’t hear it - he knew it. Dom was enjoyed watching King suffer. He was waiting for the very last moment. No doubtfully, as soon as King lights up with a spark of hope, as soon as he only touched the front door…
  The door is locked, King heard himself cry in his head. The front door required a key to both enter and exit. 
 The key is upstairs. The door is locked and the key is upstairs. The keys are upstairs and the gates are locked too. I’m locked up. The door is locked. 
It was just him, laying helplessly on the floor, and the dark, curled up around him, stabbing his eyes.
Am I dead yet?
Where’s the promised light at the end of the tunnel?
Where’s Dom?
Chills ran down King’s spine as if someone’s cold, slender finger ran down his back.
Dom is here. Dom is somewhere near here. He’s right here.
“Correct,” said a deep and husky voice. “I am here.”
King didn’t remember how he sprang to his feet. He didn’t remember how he knocked grand doors down. He didn’t remember a cold hand running down his shoulder and through his lungs in an attempt to grab him. He didn’t remember how he tore the chains off the gates with his bare hands and slammed the gates open. He didn’t remember how he ran down 7th Street. He didn’t remember passing the street clock which showed 8 o’clock. He didn’t remember when he stopped running. He didn’t remember where he occurred. He didn’t remember when he stopped screaming.

© 2013 Ria Kova

Author's Note

Ria Kova
Originally this was meant to be a short story for English, the topic being, plainly, "The Dark". My final version had to be shortened thrice as it took too long to read, though it would be a pity if I'd just throw away the original draft, right?
I plan to expand and edit this, and it's YOUR REVIEWS that help me develop my writing skills :)

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Wow. That was an intense sense of almost total debilitation. I think you have mastered the sense of it well enough to have me clutching at my chest, trying to breath along with the character. That... even though the piece is riddled with typos and grammar errors (but I ignored those since you said you were going to clean it up.) The only other thing that concerns me is what the plot is really about. I mean, 'the dark' is, at this point, rather vague. As a reader I would prefer a bit more in the way of contract with the author about where this train is going and how much is the price of the ticket. The whole story can't just be about this persons phobia(s) else there is not much to go on that will hold a reader for several more chapters let alone an entire novel or book. So, biggest problem so for, in my opinion, unclear direction. Once it's cleaned up I think the action, as described by the omniscient narrator will be just fine. So, focus on giving it purpose; a reason to 'live.'

Some lines with issues:
you didn’t even warn be about it : be ~ me
We all fear of the dark. : "We all fear the dark." | "We all have a fear of the dark."
for some it essential to light : it ~ it is
surrounded my lamps and candles : my ~ by
As mentioned upper : upper ~ previously | before
chandelier I the living room : I ~ in
King wanted to s**t his eyes, lie to himself : s**t ~ fool

Posted 7 Years Ago

Ria Kova

7 Years Ago

Oh my, did I actually spell an inappropriate word by accident O____O I wonder if my teacher noticed .. read more
Ria Kova

7 Years Ago

P.S. I swear that was meant to be *shut!!
Ufi Auttorri ~ UfoAuthor

7 Years Ago

Heh! You know, I thought of several possibilities except the most obvious one, "shut." In certain .. read more

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Added on January 17, 2013
Last Updated on February 10, 2013
Tags: thriller, horror, paranormal, psychology, dark, home, alone


Ria Kova
Ria Kova

Pattaya, Chon Buri, Thailand

Female, 16 y.o., a Russian-mutation, reside in the Kingdom of Thailand, interested in travelling, culture, languages, psychology, dancing, and writing of course. Talk to me, people, talk to me. The.. more..

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