Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Ghost of Present Darkness

Hey guys, it's KatieM!

This is my first real post! :)

This is a short story I did for H. English. The story starts the second after someone dies. The story is a little hard to follow, so tell me what you think. It is also the most depressing thing i have ever written. If you know me, you know I am the unicorns, rainbows, and cupcakes kind of person! :) I will take positive and negative criticism alike, so enjoy!

The Ghost of Present Darkness

    I was first aware of the pain. It throbbed and pulsed all around me. It was inside of me ripping and tearing at my soul; it was outside of me searing me, scorching me. It was everywhere, threatening to blot out my very existence. But it never stopped. It went on and on without relief, never lessening, never leaving. Pain.
    I tried to open my eyes and see where I was and find the source of my agony. But when I tried, I found them to already be wide open. Wherever I was, there was utterly no light to speak of.
    Hesitantly, I stretched out my hand. Nothing. Keeping my hand before me, I took a step, screamed, and nearly threw up. I was standing, if you can call it standing, on nothing. I must have been suspended somehow, though when I thrashed about I could find no wires supporting me. I was literally hanging on nothing.
    At first I told myself it must be a dream, from which I would soon awake and be free. But almost immediately I extinguished the thought. The pain was much too real to be a phantom of my sub-consciousness.
    It was then I noticed the clamor; the screeching, the howling, the anguish, the anger. A deafening orchestra of human suffering issued forth from millions of throats.
    I am not alone! The thought flashed through my mind. Elated I began to cry out to the beings around me, and then stopped. What kinds of creatures would I find in a place like this? Who else could survive in this place of torture?
    Another blistering wave of pain washed over me and I lost all reason. I began screaming for someone to come, come and take me away from this place. I must have yelled for hours, but it could have been minutes. Or for all I could tell, I may have been screaming for days. I couldn't tell, for there was no sense of time in this place. Finally I was reduced to convulsing sobs, holding myself in the excruciating darkness, eerie wails echoing about me.
    After recovering, I floated in the blackness, gritting my teeth, and wondered how long I could take this before going insane.
    Going insane would probably be a relief.” I contemplated. Another thought hit me. “Who knows,” wry grin crinkled my face, “maybe this is what it means to be insane.”
    Suddenly the atmosphere around me changed. I could now sense a presence near me; and it was coming closer. Terrified, yet curious, I remained rigid in a state of indecision. As the being drew closer, I noticed the agony growing steadily stronger, like a flame when it's found its source of life.
    “Greetingsss.” A voice hissed inside of my head. “Welcome to my humble home. I trussst you found everything to your sssatisfaction?” The being cackled sarcastically.
    With every word my body shuddered and heaved. The constant waves of pain had increased in intensity, tearing more ferociously with savage delight as the voice continued. “I am the ruler here, but sssometimes even a ruler needsss some... ... asssistance.”
    The sound of the voice was horrible, like the sound of breaking bone, like a man's final breath, like the sound of every sorrow, every pain; this was the voice of death. There was only one word I could think of as it played in my head; evil, this was evil. Not in the sense of an adjective, but as a noun. This is Evil.
    “Would you be interesssted in returning to the mortal world?”
    The words mortal world triggered something in my pain-fogged mind. “What? Return?” I was unable to speak out loud; my body was completely immobilized, so I thought my question.
    Apparently It heard me, for It responded, “****, Thessse blasted humansss, put them in a dark place with a little pain, and they forget all of life!” My muscles spaed as Its anger hit me, igniting more agony, through our inexplicable link. Abruptly the anger passed, leaving me panting.
    “Well, I guess if you humansss weren't so ssstupid, none of you would end up in the place,” the voice purred coolly, “and then I would be all alone in my agony.” With the last few words, an edged had crept back into Its voice, stabbing me as it did so.
    “Would you care to leave thisss place of accursed darknesss?” It said, shifting subjects unexpectedly. What a dumb question, of course I wanted to leave this place!
    “Yes!” I pleaded. “Yes, oh please take my away from here.”
    “Ha! Ssso you do want to leave.” The taunting words floated through my mind.
    “Now!” I howled in frustration, livid that It was delaying my freedom from the misery, for even a moment.
    “Sssuch naivety,” It chided, sounding completely undeterred by my outburst. “Getting out of here is never that sssimple.”
    “Well, how can I escape?” I asked impatiently. How long did It expect me to wallow in this torture? “I'll do anything; just get me out of here!”
    “I sssee, but you must underssstand that I can't let you leave forever.”
    “Why not!” I thought, a note of despair entering into my words.
    “It isssn't… …within my power, but you can leave temporarily back into the world you came from. It won't dessstroy this **** pain, but it will mute it. Interesssted?”
    The bells of my memory were chiming again, but I could quite make it out. Elated at the prospect of finding relief, no matter how it can about, I made my decision.
    I was still flouting, but now it was through what appeared to be a swirling, gray mist. The Thing, whatever it was, had given me a few more details before disappearing and I found myself here, wherever this here was. It had said that I would be “haunting” someone; I think it referred to her as “Fronika”. It didn't tell me anymore than that, so I was still puzzled as to what I was supposed to do.
    No matter, I was just glad that the pain's intensity was quickly receding. With a start I realized that I was still locked from my encounter with Evil. I slowly relaxed my constricted muscles. I unclenched my jaw and tasted blood; I also found that I had incised my hand with my fingernails, for I had kept my fists tightly clenched during my encounter with It. In the smoky, dim light I could see the blood running down my arm from the four small wounds. I could also feel my mind clearing with my surroundings.
    The gray around me was quickly disintegrating into light, seeming to all be melting into a blinding ring of daylight. For that's what it was, daylight. The realization sent shivers down my tortured frame that was gradually finding relief. I had to shut my eyes against the intensity of the light, and braced myself as I entered into the dazzling span of day.
    I cracked an eye open just a slit and was rewarded with harsh light punishing my tender iris, and coercing my eyes to water. Gradually my eyes began to adjust and I could open them without difficulty. My vision was blurred, so the first thing I noticed wasn't what was in front of me, but rather what was inside of me.
    The constant pain I had felt ever since I became aware in that black dungeon, had settled into a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. And if I tried hard enough I could almost forget about it.
    The blurriness of my vision worsened, almost like I was peering through an underwater lens. I blinked hard, and the cloudiness suddenly cleared.
    I was standing in a small, stone room, with one giant arching window, through which the bright sunlight was streaming. The floors were covered in richly woven rugs, and bright tapestries and oil paintings adorned the walls.
    One painting in particular, directly across from me, drew my attention. It was in the likeness of a man, with soft eyes, and a gentle face. He was reaching out a hand to me, as if He wanted to help me. Something about the painting made me terribly sad, and I couldn't tell why, so I let my eyes continued to wonder about the room.
    To the left of the painting, set in the adjoining wall, was a skillfully wrought wooden door, left ajar, but I could not tell what lay beyond it, and two of the vibrant embroidered wall-hangings framed the door on either side.
    My gaze drifted to my feet and I jumped in surprise. I could see through myself, to the plush carpet beneath me. And I was still floating. My eyes filled with tears, and for some reason I felt extreme disappointment. Why? Why did the fact that I could see through myself scare me so? Then it hit me. I was not part of this world. I was here but I really wasn't. I was a phantom. I couldn't stay here. The thought caused my tears to double their efforts, and the feeling of despair welled to an unbearable level. And I wasn't quite sure why.
    My gaze lifted and through blurred eyes, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. A young woman seated in a chair, by the window was reading a rather thick book. Her face was a picture of peaceful concentration and her long feathery hair wafted gently about her delicate features. A slight breeze drifted through the window and ruffled the pages of her book.
    She suddenly stiffened, and her gaze rose to meet mine. The book clattered to the floor, and her shaking hands flew to her white face. She seemed to be saying something but I couldn't quite tell, for at that moment, the room went out of focus, and faded away for a moment before rushing back.
    The woman was now standing, her hands twisting nervously in the folds of her volumous skirt; her full sleeves fluttering in agitation at her sides. Her panicky emerald eyes darted to the door and back as if gauging the distance to freedom.
    She was such a pretty little thing, standing there in her stormy blue dress, with her soft brown hair swirling around her shoulders. I wanted to stay with her. I didn't want to go back into the darkness.
    I stretched out my hand to her but she screamed and backed into the wall, her gaze locked on my outstretched hand. I followed the path of her horrified eyes. The wounds I gave myself on my hands were still bleeding strongly, and the blood was dripping off my fingertips into an invisible puddle at my feet.
    I opened my mouth to reassure the girl somehow, and a flood of blood issued forth from my lips, onto my face and splattered onto my chest. It must be from when I bit my tongue. The girl gave another ear piercing shriek before collapsing to the floor.
    The room abruptly faded and I found a vision before me…
    Cold, dark water all around me. My lungs burn for air. “Which way is up?” My hands thrash wildly, but with no avail. A burning presser is pulsing behind my eyes. ”I need to get air.” I can't hold my breath any longer, and water rushes into my lungs. “I'm drowning! I am going to drown!” My body tries to rid me of the water, but more just takes its place. My vision fades and I fight to stay conscious. “I don't want to die!” An icy hand grasps my soul squeezing the life out of it. “So cold…” My vision fades and I cease to be.
    Abruptly I returned to the room, panting for air as if I had really just drowned. I shuttered violently, trying to rid myself of the feeling.
    The girl was still lying in a limp heap on the floor, and I could hear shouting and the thumping of running feet coming from the other side of the door.
    My vision was blurring again and I felt the pain pulling me back. I refused to go. I fought the pain with all of my will but I was slowly being drawn away. My lips rounded in a soundless cry as the room faded from view and the light became blackness. The agony rushed back in full force, twisting my frame as it rushed through me. I wrapped my arms round myself and sobbed in longing for the life in the bright room.
    I visited the girl many more times, but only once more did I see her in the small room. Other times I would appear to her in a dark hallway or in other numerous rooms throughout the grand house. And it wasn't just the young woman I saw in my return to mortal life. I also appeared a few times before a tall, richly dressed man with a gray top and large middle, and once to a young servant girl in a plain smock and bare feet, clutching a pail of water. After each trip, my desire for the world of light grew stronger and I began to form a bond with the poor souls I haunted.
    On this particular journey, I appeared a high ledge overlooking a part of a house I'd never seen before. It was a small, bare, dusty room with a towering ceiling. The only light was from three small windows, casting their warm, filthy glow upon the two lone figures below.
    It was my girl, plopped on the dust covered floorboards, her pale pink dress fanned about her, and her hands clasping those of young man I had never seen before, her eyes peering earnestly into his.
    I frowned. This was odd. In previous visits, I would always appear immediately before the intended victim. But now I was high in the air, undeniably far removed from the view of any mortals below. I attempted to move, to step off the ledge and float down to them somehow. But unlike past visits, I was unable to move a muscle. I just sat frozen, looking down at the two below engrossed in deep conversation. Their voices drifted up to me.
    “I know I've done bad things, Fronika, but is God really the answer? Where was God when my father died? Or your sister, would a loving God just allow them to die?”
    It was the man who spoke. He was dressed as a stable hand in a rough cotton shirt and worn breeches. He had broad strong shoulders and a ruddy, handsome, face. A strand of his straw colored hair toppled into his solemn expression, and he freed one of his hands to brush it back into place.
    Fronika took a deep breath and let it out in a long, singing sigh; mournful and full of feeling.
    “We have been through this before, Groger. God is real and you know it. Every time you marvel at glorious sunset, or are left breathless because of a mountaintop view, that is God. His creation is part of who he is.”
    Fronika wavered and disappeared, to be replaced by another young woman with honey tresses and knowing gray eyes, hauntingly familiar. She was looking directly at me and seemed to gaze into my very soul.
    “God sees you; you can't hide your sin from Him”
    The blonde woman's face blurred and was replaced by Fronika's.
    “… as you just pointed out, we are bad. We are all sinners. When the first man disobeyed God and let sin into the world, it is like you having a flask of clear water and adding just one drop of poison, the end result is death. No matter how many drops of water, the one drop of poison will kill you.”
    My stomach began shaking as a foreboding sense of realization dawned.
    “Sin is the same way just as one drop of poison affects the whole flask, one sin forever altered the whole world. But God is still in control and he can work out all things for good.”
    “How?! How can the death of my father be good?”
    Fronika's hands reached out and cupped his face.
    “If your father had not died, you would not have come here, and we never would have met.”
    Groger's expression softened, and he gently rested the back of his hand on one of Fronika's
    “Jesus loves you Groger, nothing will change that.” Fronica whispered softly.
    The pale face with golden tresses returned.
    “Jesus died for you. He loves you”
    Her intense eyes held mine for a moment longer before fading away.
    “He loved you so much that he came to the earth to die for you. He took every hurtful word you have ever said or will say, every evil thing you ever thought or will think, every action you have ever regretted, past of future, and nailed it with him to the cross. He died so that you don't have to. If you repent of your sins, accept Jesus as your savior, and believe that he is the only way to eternal life, you will have life forever with him instead of eternal death and separation away from God.”
    Again reality faded and past returned and her face once was once again before mine, tears streaming down her cheeks. I heard my own voice now, sneering and defiant. “God! What is God? It's just a fairy tale for monks. I don't need God…”
    Fronika's voice returned. “Who do you chose? Will you rely on yourself to save you or will you admit that you need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.”
    “What must I say?” He asked, his voice thick with emotion.
    “Just tell Jesus you love him and that you're sorry for all the wrong things you've done in your life. Believe that he died to save you from your sin and you will be forgiven.”
    Groger nodded and drew a shaky breath.
    “Dear Jesus, I believe you died to save me, and I need you to forgive me for I am a wretched sinner…”
    The entire picture faded and I was again in total blackness, pain scorching my every fiber. The Presence was here again. “Did you enjoy your ssstays in the light?” It hissed, sarcasm dripping off every word.
    The complete realization of what just took place hit me full force, and for the first time since I initially became aware in this place of torture, I screamed in pure terror.


  1. Wow. This is truly awesome. It is a grim picture of what might happen to unbelievers. Eeek!


  2. Wow. Oh, wow. Oh, my. That was excellently done, Katie. !!!

    ~Charli Rae

    (PS - one typo, in the third paragraph, first sentence, she stretched out her head, not her hand.)

  3. Thanks for caching that Charli Rae! And I'm glad you like the story!