All the Darkness in the Darkness
It was the middle of the night, one week after it happened, and Anthony and Cindy were asleep. I was wide awake and being tortured by my thoughts. The Elena girl, she meant for all of it to happen, didn’t she? Somehow I knew that she did. I was feeling better now than I felt during the first few days after the incident. The bruises were beginning to heal.
Maybe I should stop talking to all of the other kids at school too. I remembered Anna. We had happy times, didn’t we? Then they took her away. We got away from Mother and Father but we weren’t able to escape the rest of civilization. No matter how hard we tried, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t escape from humanity.
“It can be caused by traumatic events, maybe a chemical imbalance. Things like this are a bit tricky to pinpoint.” These strange words echoed in my ears. I wasn’t quite sure what they meant, or why I had heard them. They came from a man wearing a white coat who stood just inside the limits of my peripheral vision. Who was he? Was he a doctor?
I got out of bed. It felt like I was sleep walking, only I wasn’t asleep. I went into the garage and rummaged through the different metal parts and pieces in Anthony’s toolbox. There it was: a box cutter. I took it. I was now in the bathroom. I somehow teleported there instantly, arriving in less than a second…
I unbuttoned my pants and set them on top of the porcelain toilet seat. One of my socks came off along the way. That was fine. Up next were my underwear. I set them neatly on top of the pants, then decided to take my shirt off too. It went on top of the other things. Now I was fully nude, except for one sock. Wink, wink, ladies…yeah right…I almost smiled. It was a little bit funny. I picked up the box cutter and looked at it for a moment. It shone with a bright silvery shiny-shine in the light from the bathroom lightbulbs.
“Stupid shit!” It was the boy from the children’s home yet again. He had come back to play. I dragged the blade across my thigh because it had to be somewhere no one would see. It pulled the skin more than it cut it, though there was a tiny bit of a cut there. After a second it bled, but only a little. The skin was too dry. This would never do.
I turned on the faucet. Hot water…very hot. It was nice. I cupped one of my hands and moved it into the stream of water, then splashed the steaming liquid down onto my legs. I did the same thing one more time, then slid the blade across my thigh again. I didn’t see anything at first. Was a not doing it right? But then it started to bleed. A little red stream began inching down my leg. I thought of father, so I did it again. I held my breath.
“You’re fucking sick!” It was Hector. He was sleeping right now, but I could still hear him say it. Again. Again. The blade slid across. Next up was the other leg, but first would be the water.
“Now you’ll learn boy;” it was Mrs. M. now. “Now you’ll fucking learn.” Soon the streams running down my legs crept down onto the floor.
“See ya later, babe”. Elena.
“Fucking bitch!” I didn’t say it loud enough for anyone to hear me. I couldn’t imagine what Anthony would do if he heard me say that. Well…that isn’t true. I could, but I would rather not. I splashed my chest. Slice. That one hurt and bled immediately. No pause. I looked in the mirror. I was covered in blood. I laughed a laugh heavily sprinkled with sarcasm. “Stupid shit,” I said to my reflection…or did my reflection say it to me? Maybe it was both. I agreed with the boy who tore apart my picture.
My face wibbly-wobbled for a second and everything disappeared, but then it came back. I was very dizzy. I reached over and grabbed the roll of toilet paper. I had to push in the plastic bar that held it in place and then slide the whole thing out. It was extremely annoying. First I cleaned the tile floor, then my legs, then my chest. Everything was still bleeding. I grabbed my shirt from atop the toilet seat pile and put it back on. I pressed it against my chest, try to stop the bleeding. If I passed out, Cindy and Anthony would know.
I put my underwear back on. These would have to be thrown away so that no one would find the rust-colored spots that had formed upon them. They were dark blue boxers, but the spots still showed. I put the pants back on, turned the light off, and walked back into the kitchen. I poured a glass of water and drank it there, standing alone in the dark. My legs stung when I walked around the room, but that was okay. It was nice. It helped me forget.
I imagined what Cindy and Anthony would think if they were to find out. Anthony might believe that I had started worshipping Satan. Maybe he would come up with some kind of horrible punishment, like trying to send me off to military school. I hoped not.
Cindy would be upset, but she would say that it was just a phase. She would probably give up her opinion, however, for she seemed to believe that a good wife should. But I felt that she at least wanted me to be okay. She always seemed to think that the things she wished were true were true, so I knew I would be okay in her eyes. She was one of many who I noticed were that way.
I walked back up to bed, wishing that it could be night time twenty-four hours a day. I loved the dark. I was much more afraid of the light than I was of the dark. Daytime was when all of the dangerous things came out. I noticed the silver and white, metal and glass clock that hung in the hallway. It was on the left side of the wall near the entrance to my room. It read 12:30p.m. I quietly got into my bed.
“Tristan.” A very low voice echoed all around me. I had heard it somewhere before. “It isn’t going to get any easier for you, child. Whatever shall you do about that?” I thought for a moment. I wasn’t sure, but I had a few questions for whoever this person was. The voice seemed to be coming from the closet…but monsters in the closet? Really? I was too old for that. Had someone actually snuck into the house? I began to breathe heavily.
“Who are you?” My voice was soft and shaky. I was clearly no threat to him.
“Why do you expect me to answer your questions when you won’t answer mine?”
“You’ve broken into my house, whoever you are,” I replied. “I should call the police.”
“Look in your closet, then. Go on, go ahead. That is where you believe that I am, hmm? Look out your window and out into the hallway too, if you must.” And so I did. I got out of bed and peered into the closet. I could feel the liquid fear dripping into my brain.
“Oops, nothing,” the voice said in an eerily playful way. No one was there. I walked over to the window next to my bed and looked out toward the street. “Again, nothing!” All I saw was the glowing streetlight and white houses, a few stars shining in the night sky above them. There was no one there at all, and the stars made me feel horribly lonely. I walked out into the hallway and listened to the clock on the wall. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
“And what do we see? What might it be? Oh yes, that’s right. Nothing!” I got back into my bed, shivering more violently than before.
“Okay. So who are you?”
“No, no. Not yet. Esmerelda! Could you bring me something to drink please? Hold on for just a moment, Tristan.” I had seriously just been put on hold by…something. What the hell was happening? “Good, yes, yes, this will do just fine. Now go away…Tristan, the boy of many questions, the boy of many concerns…you’re not quite like the others, are you? Tell me, child, are you happy?”
“No.” Unfortunately that was an easy question to answer. But who was I talking to? Whoever it was chuckled for a brief moment. Did he find my lack of happiness funny?
“Of course you aren’t fucking happy. And why is that?”
“Do you know what I’m going to say?”
“Why of course. You can’t hide anything from me, child.” This whole situation was growing more disturbing with every passing second.
“Then why do I need to tell you?”
“You’re quite bright, aren’t you? You have to play my game. Otherwise I’ll be going away.”
“You’ll go away? What makes you think I wouldn’t want you to?”
“Of course you wouldn’t, and you don’t. Tell me, are you really anything at all?”
“Yes. I’m a person. I’m alive…”
“Somewhat alive,” it interrupted.
“…I’m a student too. Are you really anything at all?”
“What do you think?”
“I don’t know.”
“Of course you don’t know. Once can never be sure.” It giggled again. “You live in fear, child, as do many others. But you’re not meant to be like the others. You’re meant to be…made by them, I should say. You don’t have to live a life consumed by fear. It would be better for you to die. Eventually they will have given you enough fuel and you will be ready to ignite a fire. Then you come to me.” I was confused, but as I thought about it it started to make sense. It wanted me to retaliate, but against what?
Retaliate against the boys at school? I wasn’t strong enough. Against the adults who told me that the time I felt the happiest was sinful and filthy? The ones who took Anna away, chose my appearance for me, and told me that I’m dirty and need to be cleansed? I couldn’t do that either. I was fifteen. I was a ‘child’, a subhuman, a lowly peasant. The world was automatically biased toward me simply because of my age. I’d never win.
To society, my desires and opinions mattered about as much as a rotten egg or a carton of spoiled milk. I had no rights, no choices…none that meant anything to me. If I just shut up and pretended to be like everyone else, the way they wanted me to be, then maybe I’d be allowed to be happy.
“All of the experiences that you’ve had, or will have, are necessary. We’ve much to do, child. You just need a hard enough push.” Something in the air changed.
“What do you mean?” No answer. “Hello?” No answer. Maybe he was gone, whatever he was. I closed my eyes. My heartbeat began to slow. My mind began to wander off into the murky depths of my subconscious, eventually sinking down into a dream.