Almost darkness.

by Anya Poplavska
Art by Annika Javier
Issue: Metanoia (Winter 2017)

Crunch. I step farther into the black cement tunnel, my vision just about gone.
I don’t remember why I’m here, but I trudge on. My mind is blank, like a white canvas. My senses are heightened – I feel every leaf and every pebble’s texture under my foot.  

I hear another crunch, this time without a tone of familiarity.

I listen for a repeat of what I just heard – someone else is here. I can feel them, their presence haunting me. My entire body is in distress; every fiber in my body shakes with anticipation and dread as I take each step…

I ignore these glaring signs and push on, as if a little string tugs on my body, urging me away from this presence.
I make a turn, and then, I crash; something in front of me shocks my movement, and I fall back. Before the dizziness takes over, a few defined bright shapes start to appear on the creases of my vision, permeating the darkness…

You’re up.

I wake. What I thought was a figure is now just a voice echoing in the chambers of this dark, godforsaken place. I rub my face, still shaken from the fall. I smear some cement off my cheek, the cause of my stumble revealing itself.
But I still can’t find the source of the voice. Who is talking to me?

You’ll find out soon enough.
With the marginal strength I have, drained from the fear that has exhausted me these last few hours, I push myself off the ground. My unstable, clueless legs try to guide me somewhere, anywhere, but I fall back down.

Calm down.
I give in to the soothing voice, ready to accept whatever’s coming. I take in another shaky breath and sit down, enveloping myself into the cool shadows.

You’ve suppressed me all your life, but no more. You can’t escape me.

I feel around me, and it’s the familiar texture as of my recent crash. Suddenly, these walls seem to squish farther in on me. My heart races as I scream, my surroundings spinning out of control. The cement swivels and distorts itself, shrinking…now the powerful darkness fortifies itself on all sides of me. The tunnel is gone, and a sea of gloom crashes over me as my world shrinks, fast like a wave hitting the shore.
I now have full control.
Suddenly, a fragment of a memory simmers in my mind. I seemed to have forgotten my life until now, and it unfolds in a flash of a second. The last thing I remember: the crash. My wheel spinning out of control, my Dad in the front seat, my Mom taking care of my brother in the back…the bright shapes of my life.
So now you get it.
The black box collapses, slowly but surely…