Short Fiction- The New Dark.
This darkness surrounds. Ever encroaching. Nulling. It claws at my sanity. Tendrils lick, binding heart that threatens to cease. I’ve been trapped here for months now. I track my time here, crudely etching lines into a tree stump that has become my place of comfort. This one didn’t seem alive, however. This tree didn’t seem alive, not in the new sense of the word, anyway. They are the new dark. They appeared in the space of a fortnight. At first it was an invasion of vine and sapling. They grew exponentially. Within days they were fully grown oaks, writhing with ominous life. By the second week, they changed. The exuberance of life replaced by death. They grew to twice that of expectance, creating carnage in their wake. Everything humanity built, tossed aside like playthings in a matter days. No, the life they once resembled was gone. Greens and browns replaced with black and grey. They are ashen in appearance, although red with fury beneath. Yes, they are the new dark, for what’s beyond, I can no longer see.
I managed to escape. I left my home as it was crushed beneath root and claw-like branch. Brick to dust. Wood to splinter. Glass to shard. It was unstoppable. Undeniable. Inevitable. I had the foresight that the many lacked on that day. A pack of the essentials to survive. An instinct born of a survivalist mind and a passion for the world outside the artificially constructed. I seem to be safe here. I don’t know why or how, but I seem safe. I find myself questioning the whys and hows before sleep. It’s strange. There’s nothing of significance here. I’m alone. A ring of stone marks the space in which I create a fire for warmth. A tattered tent reinforced with an old and overused tarp for comfort. A pile of empty cans from a dwindling food supply. This paper and pen with which I am scrawling my possible last words. Nothing of importance here. Nothing except a mind that will not subside and a heart that will refuse to fade.
It’s not just the trees…
There’s something else. Something lurking. Something watching. Them. They. It. I’m not sure which. Sometimes it’s one, other times it’s many. It seems to mimic and alter, dependent on my fear. I was afraid at first, but now it’s like a familiar friend. A familiar darkness as my shadow once was. I can see the whites of its eyes when it chooses to show me. I can hear the clicks in its throat like it’s trying to say something. I can see it bound and scuttle between the deathly vegetation, but it’s only ever a shadow. No amount of light seems to penetrate the beyond and reveal its secrets. I’m here, but only for as long as they choose. I know it. Perhaps they’re toying with the destroyer. Mankind. Maybe this is revenge. A balance being restored.
I will remain, as is their choosing. I will record my findings, as is my choosing. This is my control in the chaos. My last strand of mind as it’s pulled thin… But for now, I must go. They grow restless the longer my eyes inquisite. I must sleep… or at least feign it until they are satiated.
To be continued…
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