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The Darkest Place in the World

By Maria Mahoney All Rights Reserved ©

Horror

The Darkest Place in the World

Some say that the San Pedro de Atacama region of Northern Chile is the darkest place on earth. It's where the stars shine brightest, some say. Some say that Flagstaff, Arizona, is the darkest place in the world. In fact, it was named the world’s first International Dark Sky City in October of 2001. Some might even say that the very bottom of the ocean, where we humans have not yet traversed nor discovered, is the darkest place on earth. So dark is it, that the fish have adapted and glow in the darkness. But none of these are truly the darkest place on earth.

I know, beyond a doubt, where the darkest place on earth is. Any living creature can travel there. In fact every human will travel there eventually. Usually..... usually, when someone goes there, they have no knowledge of it. They do not know, and will never know that they are in the darkest place in the world.

But I know. I know and I'm afraid. I'm afraid that this is how it will all end for me, cold and alone, scared and panicking, left to die alone, in the darkest place in the world. 

I beat my fists against the walls of my cage, kick my feet and scream, but with no result. How could there be a result? Who would hear me in the darkest place in the world?

I know it's all useless. I know, even as my breathing begins to slow, along with my heartbeat. I know it's too late. I know I'm very likely going to die, and when they find me, if they find me, all alone, in the darkest place in the world, I won't know. I'll never see the light again. My empty eye sockets won't even see the sun, for I'll be in one of those awful black body bags. I'll be sightless and spiritless and fleshless, all alone, and my soul will still be in the darkest place in the world. 

Where is this place? Do I have time left to say where I am, in the darkest place in the world? I feel faint, the air is getting thinner, I'm feeling sleepy. But I don't want to go this way. Not like this. It's not my time. Perhaps if I delay saying the words, perhaps I can stay a little longer. It's not my time yet. Not yet. Not in the darkest place in the world.

But considering the ways I could've died, in a car accident, in a mugging, in a war, with a hail of bullets pushing me off of this mortal coil, this doesn't seem like such a bad way to go. It's peaceful and painless at least. Even if the scent of my own metallic blood does permeate the air. Even if my fingers are broken and bleeding, my nails gone, from trying to claw my way out of the prison I'm trapped in. There are worse ways to die. There are. At least...... that's what I have to tell myself. I have to believe that, because if not...... if not... then what else do I have left, in this, the darkest place in the world? 

I'll be asleep soon. I won't know when it comes. When I die, I'll just slip away. I'll drift off like a feather on the summer breeze, or like a baby, lulled by a mother's humming lullaby, rocked in a warm embrace. It will be peaceful, soothing even.

But I haven't yet explained where I am. I haven't said it. The name. The title. The truth of the darkest place in the world. If I say it, it sounds so final. I don't want this to be the end.

As I drift away, I feel a slight trickle. It's nothing, really. It's the softest sound, the lightest feeling, as I feel it trickling through my fingers. My death.

That soft, slightly dusty, slightly moist, smothering substance. It's coming through the tiniest crack that I made with my protests and rage, and attempts at escape. It trickles through my broken fingers as I lift my hand to it, and I can smell it, over the copper tang of my blood, I can smell it. 

Dirt.

Earth.

A smell I once loved.

Once I spent hours of my time in my back garden, growing flowers, taking in the smell of the freshly turned earth. Now I loathe it, for it marks me as lost, in the darkest place in the world. 

What is this place? Before I completely drift away, I must name it once. The sleepiness is getting worse. I can barely keep my eyes open. Soon I'll be deep in the land of dreams and I won't have another chance.

The darkest place in the world...... is my grave.

A grave.

Buried alive, six feet under.

I'd be less concerned, if only......

If only you weren't here to join me in my eternal slumber, in the darkest place in the world.

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Clarissa: Very atmospheric and descriptive language, with good character development. This is a complex and interesting story - definitely worth a read.

Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

Shannon Rohrer: This is probably one of the most imaginative stories I've come across in a long time. You have hooking down to a fine art; every chapter has been as engaging as the one before it, the story unfurling in a way that is easy to follow and paced perfectly for each round of events or backstory. Lookin...

Colin Milroy: To begin, I don't think that the first review of this story was fair at all. Based on the popularity of this story, I would say the one-star review hasn't done much harm, but I still felt the need to address it. Now I will do my best to be constructive.I liked the concept of this story. I found i...

duggsy: This kept me intrigued, I only intended on reading 1 chapter but couldn't stop until I'd read the whole thing. The only let-down were a few spelling mistakes hence the 3 stars but otherwise a great read.

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shadowmaven: At first, the word "Dagon" threw me, making me think that this was going to be a story based on one of Lovecraft's, and was pleasantly surprised--no, make that thrilled--when it wasn't (honestly, I like your mythos more). Your writing is so lyrical, deftly capturing this tiny village and the rela...

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Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...

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