NOTHING IN THE DARK

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SHORT STORY Oct. 21, 2020

Sarah read somewhere that what scares you  about the dark is not the darkness itself, but what lies in the darkness. So, now, alone in the darkness of her room, with nothing but a pair of shorts and a large t-shirt on, she is understandably terrified.

When the lights first went out a few minutes ago, she had glanced at her phone, hoping that it had at least charged enough to last her a few minutes. It hadn’t. In fact, just as soon as she had glanced at it, it had shut down, claiming low battery.

She could have charged it using her laptop, but then, that old precious thing was more of a desktop than a laptop, and it had also shut down faster than she could say: Oh Fuck.

Candles. She needed candles, but then again, wasn’t it today that she had just dismissed buying them from the shop?

Well, fuck, every dog has its day, and every Sarah has her night, she says to herself under her breath then immediately regrets how lame she sounds.

She decides to sleep. It is after all 9.30 P.M. Some people sleep at nine. Not her, but well, she could try.

First, she shuffles around in the dark for her laptop, removes it from her bed and places it safely on her carpet. Then she reaches for the duvet, lies down on her bed, and covers herself with it.

Time to sleep.

Close your eyes.

She closes them.

One, two, three, four, five, six...she counts.

Nothing. No sleep.

Open your eyes.

She opens them.  

She sits up.

She looks around in the darkness, her eyes trying to adjust to the blackness.

She has never been one to fear the dark. Not really. But since she read that quote, whatever hellish place she read it, she has been scared, terrified even of walking late in the night.

Now, her eyes are reaching for figures that are not there, for sounds that are imagined and for movements that are not moving.

Her heartbeat is increasing ever so steadily, waiting for something, anything.

When it fails to come, she decides to force sleep.

Time to sleep.

Close your eyes.

She closes them.

One, two, three, four, five, six…she counts.

 Nothing. No sleep.

Open your eyes.

She opens them.

This time, she does not sit up.

She lies still, in bed, her heart pounding fast.

There is someone in here, she tells herself.

She commands herself to be quiet. So quiet that she cannot hear herself breathe. She waits.

Nothing.

She sits up, the goose bumps on her arms making her wish she had a sweater on.

She looks.

Nothing.

There is nothing in the dark. There is nothing in the dark. There is nothing in the dark, she repeatedly mumbles under her breath then she decides, finally, that this time she is really going to sleep.

Time to sleep.

Close your eyes.

She closes them.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine….

Look at that. She is drifting off.

How peaceful.

But we all know about the calm before the storm, right?

Ten minutes pass, then Clang!

Was that a sufuria falling down?

Sarah is now fully awake; armpits furiously sweating, heart rapidly pounding, body clearly shaking.

Someone is there; she knows it, she does not doubt anymore.

“Who is there? “her voice comes out as a whisper.

 A terrified whisper.

Obviously, she receives no answer. I don’t know what she expects. That someone would sweetly come out and say:

“Hey, it’s me, a creep in the dark. Nice to meet you. Do you mind if I continue tormenting you?”

And then she would say:

“Oh, nice to meet you too creep-in-the-dark. Sure, carry on as you were.”

And then they would continue playing the game of opening eyes, closing them, sufurias falling, heart pounding, body sweating?

Well, if that is what she expected, she has no luck.

The person in the dark is quiet again. So quiet that Sarah thinks she must have imagined the sound of her sufuria falling down and when she reminds herself that the sound was clear as day, she dismisses it off as unstable utensils in her utensil rack.

For now, she tells herself, she must sleep. She must. Morning is the only thing that can save her from her own mind. Morning or the lights coming back on.

God, how she misses the light.

Anyway, time to try to sleep again.

Close your eyes.

She closes them.

One, two, three, four, five six…she counts.

Nothing. No sleep.

Open your eyes.

She opens them.

She sits up.

Something has changed about her. Her goose bumps are gone, her body sweats are over, her heartbeat is steady.

Is she…? Is she fearless now? No way.

But then, her voice. Her strong unshaken voice that comes out more than a whisper says:

“I know who you are.”

Fuck. What has made this fearless?

She almost wins my approval, but then when the silence persists, the goose bumps come back.

She shakes her head. She must be going crazy. She must.

What she has to do is just close her eyes, let her mind drift off and sleep.

She needs to sleep and when morning comes, all this would be gone.

She lies down, pulls the duvet over her head and waits.

Time to sleep.

Close your eyes.

She closes them.

One, two, three…

Fuck, is someone tugging at her duvet?

She swears she can feel someone is tugging at the end of her duvet slowly, gradually.

She continues forcing her eyes shut so hard she feels them hurting.

There is nothing in the dark. There is nothing in the dark. There is nothing in the dark, she mumbles.

She would have been convinced by her own mumbles, except, there really is someone tugging at the end of her duvet and whoever it is, has just left her feet exposed, cold.

Her heart stops beating for a moment, and she is now more scared than she has been the entire night. She wriggles her feet back into the warmth of the duvet, her breaths short and fast, her goose bumps rising, rising, rising.

A minute of nothingness passes, and then the tugging starts again.

She immediately pulls the duvet to herself, terrified.

The person, clearly excited with this tug-of-the-duvet game going on, pulls it to themselves.

Sarah pulls forward.

The person pulls back.

Forward. Backwards.

Forward. Backwards.

Sarah’s hands are now shaking uncontrollably.

Scream, she tells her brain. She has to scream. Maybe someone in this building might hear her and come to her rescue.

But she does not scream. She cannot scream because the person tugging at her duvet suddenly stops and once again, Sarah thinks herself crazy.

She continues lying in bed for a few seconds, her hands holding onto her duvet so tight she can feel her nails ripping a part of it apart.

She does not want to open her eyes, afraid that she will find the person staring down at her. It takes some convincing of her own self, and slowly, she decides to open them.

There is no one in the dark.

 No dark looming scary figure.

 Nothing.

She sighs, and then sits up.

She closes her eyes, takes a very deep breath, then breathes out.

She does this thrice, and when she is done, she seems fearless, almost confident on what she is about to do next.

“I know who you are,” she says in that unshaken voice from before.

This time, when the silence persists, she does not dismiss herself.

Instead, she continues;

“What do you want? Because if you are looking for more, I have nothing else to give.”

Her voice. The courageous, audacious, unapologetic tone she takes.

What happened to the shaking, sweating, scared Sarah that was here two minutes ago?

Her eyes are now looking into the dark, but not searching as before. She looks as if she knows where to look, knows exactly where the person she is talking to is standing in the darkness.

Silence.

Sarah waits, and waits.

“I am not scared of you, you know,” she says when she cannot handle the silence any longer.

Nothing. No movement, no figure in the dark.

“You have nothing on me, you hear? Nothing. I am not scared of you. I am not!”

Her voice is now angry, shouting.

I am almost afraid she will stand up and head over to the figure in the dark, but she does not.

Instead, she lies back down, pulls the duvet over her head and shuts her eyes.

Time to sleep.

Close your eyes.

Oh, wait, she has already closed them.

One, two, three…

Why is she not counting?

Open your eyes.

Open your eyes.

Open your eyes Sarah.

She does not open them.

A spoon falls to her tiled floor.

Nothing.

There is someone tugging at her duvet.

Nothing.

Someone is humming a nursery rhyme softly in the dark.

Nothing.

Someone is calling her name over and over and over again in a creepy whispery voice.

Nothing.

There is a cold breeze getting closer and closer to her.

Nothing.

The cold breeze, the person in the dark, reaches her and they almost yank the duvet off her, reduced to this one scare tactic that will finally elicit a response when suddenly, Sarah opens her eyes, angry, seething, fed up.

“I AM NOT SCARED OF YOU JACOB!!!” she shouts so loudly she is afraid she would wake up the rest of the building.

But she doesn’t wake them up. She wakes herself up, and suddenly, her room is flooding with light, her body is sitting up, her heart is still pounding.

Her eyes take a while to adjust to the light, then they roam around, studying her environment.

Her shattered laptop on her couch, her broken phone beside her bed, her room in shambles- broken glasses, overturned utensils, torn books - an aftermath of a storm.

Someone is snoring peacefully next to her. Jacob. How sweet he looks now that he is asleep.

Nothing like the monster who, a few hours ago, was breaking her glasses, tearing her books, shattering her laptop, breaking her heart.

Nothing like the monster who slapped her once, then twice, then thrice, then repeatedly until he couldn’t no more.

Nothing like the monster who demanded they fuck afterwards because violence turns him on, and if she loved him, he had said, it should also turn her on.

Nothing like the Jacob that she is terrified of. Terrified of leaving him, terrified of raising her voice at him, terrified of cooking food he won’t like, terrified of how she still loved him despite of it all.

She looks at him, a tear falling down her right cheek involuntarily.

“I am not scared of you Jacob.” She whispers then as if she is not satisfied with it:

“I am not scared of you Jacob.” her voice rises.

Then,

“I AM NOT SCARED OF YOU JACOB!!!” she is now shouting angrily, furious, waking the sleeping monster-sweet Jacob up with a start.

by Amanda Nechesa 42

Comments

  • Olumide

    Sept. 16, 2020, 7:11 a.m.

    A terrifying, gripping and fast moving story. You limit your “ tools” yet it turned out to a tale that dropped on an edge. You rock Amanda. And by the way that a weird lover.

    Amanda

    Sept. 25, 2020, 8:21 a.m.

    Thank you....thank you 😊

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    Sept. 28, 2020, 4:16 a.m.

    Truly relatable. The calm before a storm😂; this story had me hooked. I've been ignoring these posts but now I'll be checking them out. "I'm not scared of you Jacob"😂🔥 Hata I'm glad I read this high af

    Amanda

    Oct. 8, 2020, 10:58 p.m.

    Hehe, thank you Anonymous person. And there is no better way to enjoy a story than reading it high..if I am making any sense😅😅 And I hope you won't be ignoring my posts anymore 😅😅

    Reply
  • Q.w

    Oct. 13, 2020, 8:36 a.m.

    Gripping, had me in the first half, not gonna lie

    Reply

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