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Revealing Darkness

He awoke in utter darkness. Not a “wow, it’s still dark out” kind of darkness, but the kind of darkness that one can feel. The kind of darkness so thick that one’s hand cannot be seen in front of one’s face. Gregory sat up and tried to remember where he was. The last thing he remembered was taking the garbage out, first thing in the morning. Sure, it was dark at that point, for it was only 4:00 am. But this darkness was different, and he knew he was no longer outside, for there were no stars, or breeze or sound. Only dark, still, and warm.

He also knew that was sitting upon nothing but the floor. Standing, he immediately hit the top of his head on something. Swearing under his breath and holding his head, he stood at a crouch, about nine inches short of upright. Slowing walking in small circles with the top of his head just barely touching whatever it was above him, he found no respite from his compromised position. He had walked for what seemed to be several minutes when suddenly the back of upper leg cramped up, sending a wave of nausea sweeping over him. Dropping to his knees and then to his side, he involuntarily straightened his leg and tried to rub the cramp out.

Laying in the darkness in a cold sweat, he tried to catch his breath. Then, as if a flash bomb had gone off, he found himself standing in Mr. Lo’s Grocery store. He was seven years old, and his mom allowed him to visit the candy bar aisle. Looking up and down the aisle, he realized he was alone, and the king size Kit-Kat was calling his name. His heart beating in his chest like he had just run a marathon, he looked up and down the aisle again. Turning his back to the candy, he slowly bent down, picked up the bar and slide into the back of his pants behind his t-shirt.

Hearing his name suddenly called, he saw his mother standing at the door, ready to leave. “Come on Gregory, let’s go,” she said. Hurrying up the aisle toward her, he followed her out and they climbed in the car. Slamming the door, everything went black, and he realized that he was still lying on the floor in the darkness. Shifting to a sitting position, he still could see absolutely nothing. Leaning forward to a kneeling position, the flash bomb went off again and he found himself inside a locker in the girl’s locker room in junior high. One of the small ventilation slats had been bent and he had a clear view of the dressing area and the showers. Working hard to control his breathing, he saw the girls’ volleyball team come in from the gym. The pounding in his ears was so loud, he would have bet that anyone else could have heard it too. But he stood there and watched as they undressed and showered.

Waiting until they had all left, he slowly and quietly opened the locker door only to find himself again, in the stifling darkness. “What the heck is going on?” he thought. Dropping to his hands and knees, he began crawling in a straight line, hoping to find something, anything, any kind of clue that would tell him where he was. Unfortunately, he was moving a little too quickly and he found a post of some sort with the top of his head. The third flash bomb went off.

He sat in Chemistry class surrounded by his classmates, each one of them head down, feverishly writing on the final exam in front of them. Looking down at his own desk, he realized that he had half the test to finish and only fifteen minutes to do so. Peeking to his left, he realized that Mindy, the A+ student in the class, had moved her left arm down into her lap, exposing her entire test. A series of quick glances provided Gregory the last few answers he needed. A sudden ding of a bell went off as the period ended and he looked up to see absolute darkness.

Rubbing the top of his head, for it still stung from its abrupt contact with the post, he lay down flat on the floor and tried to make sense of what was happening. But he got nothing. There was no sound, no movement, no smell, nothing, but he was perfectly comfortable, save the small lump on the top of his head. Rolling back to his stomach and then into a hands and knees crawling position, he found the post again, worked his way around it and continued in what he thought was a straight line. Moving slowly, his left hand suddenly had nothing beneath it. Catching himself and pulling himself back, he eased forward and felt down as far as he could reach. Shimmying from one side to the other and finding only the same abrupt edge, he concluded that he had reached a crevice of some sort.

Turning himself around, he lowered his legs over the edge with the hope of reaching something further down. Eventually hanging by only his hands, his feet landed on a surface, solid but squishy. Feeling back with his foot as far as he could reach, the new surface seemed safe enough. Letting go, he stood on the spongey surface with his back to the wall. Sliding along it, first to his left, ten steps and then to his right twenty steps, he only found perfect symmetry. Returning to his hands and knees, he began again to move forward but noticed that the strange, soft floor had begun to further decline.

The slope was ever so slight but eventually he found the floor had gotten soggy and then the water had begun to pool. He was crawling through an inch of water, then few more inches and eventually a foot of water. Assuming he could stand upright, he got to his feet, stood up and immediately smacked his head on the ceiling above him. And the fourth flash bomb went off.

What he saw next was a kaleidoscope of color and sound. The crowd around him bounced and pulsed in perfect sync with the incredibly loud music. He remembered popping that small blue pill and could feel his energy go through the roof, a euphoria he had never before experienced. Working his way through the crowd, he joined a group of friends at the bar and began slamming shots of tequila. Five, six and seven shots in a fifteen-minute period, he had never felt so alive in his entire life. But that feeling suddenly left him as the tequila began dancing with the pork fried rice from earlier that evening. Bolting out of the club front door, he nearly made it to the parking lot when it all came up on his shoes and the bright red Porsche that happened to be parked there. Crumpling to pile, he closed his eyes.

Opening them again, he was sitting in elbow deep water in the absolute darkness that had now become his home. With a sigh, Gregory gave up. Hanging his head, he knew he was hopeless. But then two very strong hands slid under his armpits and lifted him to his feet.

“We found him,” someone shouted from directly behind his head. “Just keep walking forward into the water until you can’t walk anymore and then sink to the bottom. You’ll be alright, trust me.”

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Contemporary Fiction

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