You put the big light on as you step into the bedroom to get changed for bed. You don’t really need to, but you always do because you are scared of the dark. Not that you would ever admit this flaw to anyone, because it seems silly. A grown man being scared of the dark. It has always been the case though, since you were a wee child.
As you aged, you learnt to hide it from potential girlfriends. There would always come a point though where they learned of your fear and would mock you. Ultimately their respect for you as a man waned, even if they pretended it made no difference. It always resulted in the relationship ending, for whatever reason.
‘Conflicting schedules’ – yeah, right.
‘We want different things’ – okay, whatever.
'I need to self-isolate for my family's sake; it's not you, it's me...' - laughable.
You wish that women would just be honest and say ‘I don’t think of you as a man anymore and therefore I am shagging my colleague who is big, buff and has no silly fears such as yours.’
If they only knew how profound your terror was, they wouldn’t react that way.
As a child you would race to bed with your eyes tightly closed after turning off the light, leap under the sheets and pull them over your head, trembling with anticipation of the monster which inevitably would come screaming at you in the darkness of the night. The monster never came, not to your knowledge anyway. Yet the fear never abated.
You would lay there beneath the safety of the quilt, your little heart pounding and your ears swooshing, feeling nothing but primal terror. Only a person terrified of the dark truly understands this fear.
Tonight is no different. The fear is here. You can feel it almost like a black cloak around you, like a bitter taste in your throat. For this reason, you hate being alone. You hate living alone. Somehow, having another person here feels like a talisman, ultimately protecting you from the monsters, with their dripping mouths, their gleaming eyes, their stretching claws. At the very least, having a lover here means that if worst comes to the worst, you can cower together beneath the sheets. You are not alone in your terror.
So, it’s lucky really that you went out earlier this evening and got talking to an attractive girl who shares your love of live, sweaty rock music. Anything loud to drown out the sound of silence. The sound of fear. She is exactly your type – tall, with long, long hair and dark eyes. Warm but not over the top. You chat all night and even have a dance after a few drinks. She is sexy, and she wants you. A perfect night.
Made even more perfect by the fact she understands your fear of being alone in the dark, comes home with you, and is now laid in your bed, looking inviting. Has she stripped naked..? It may be fun finding out. It’s so great to meet someone so attractive and forward, when so much of your life has been lonesome and filled with fear.
Her name is Tess. Tess the Talisman, you have named her in your mind. Even if it is just for tonight. You try to leave the light on when you come to bed, but she shakes her head and reaches to turn it off, smiling seductively. “I am at my best in the dark,” she purrs at you. You believe her. Well, if it means being in the darkness curled up with a beautiful woman, you can probably cope with that. At least until she has gone to sleep; then you can light some candles to ease the darkness.
You had initially lit your usual row of candles that live on the window sill, but she blows them out. How odd. Her beauty and confidence overawes you however. You are bewitched by her character; you can cope, just for one night. Maybe Tess will be the catalyst for change, for increased confidence? Maybe this could even go somewhere, and your mother might stop nagging you to find a 'nice girl.'
You tell yourself if you can just be brave, get through tonight, just tonight…
Tess is so warm, and her arms wrap around you, enrobing you in her warmth. You move to kiss her. You close your eyes to try and shut out the blackness. Wow, she really is naked. And so warm, and…wet. Not in the good way. It’s not sweat, despite the hot night and the earlier dancing in the crowded music club. Her skin feels slimy, as if she is coated with some kind of foul muck. Her arms feel too long; she is tight around you several times over, like a boa constrictor around a goat, and her face doesn’t feel right, it feels…liquid, like her very structure has melted down and changed completely.
The wide, wet gap that used to be a mouth is enveloping your face, and you cannot even scream as you feel your bones starting to crack. You try and fail a hundred times to slip out of her grisly embrace, but in fact it doesn’t take the monster long to devour your entire body. You barely have time to process what is happening, and all you really feel, beneath the excruciating agony, is a sickening, dull realisation that you were right all along to fear the dark.
About the Creator
A mum, a friend to many and I love to explore dark themes and taboos in my writing. I am an optimist with a dark side...
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