The Sound of Darkness
I awoke with a start. Then I realized nothing scared me, I'd just woken up. Opening my eyes I felt a strange drift across my face. As if something was just moving on my eyelids and I'd startled it. But my eyes weren't open. They couldn't be; it was so impossibly dark. I blinked a few times to assure myself they were open. But nothing, I waited for them to adjust and still nothing. Had I gone blind? Why couldn't I see? That's when I heard it. Silence. I'd never known silence like this before. It was incredible. There wasn't a single sound. I couldn't be outside with this much silence. But if I was inside, where could I be? There wasn't even buzzing of an air conditioner, no other stirring sounds at all. I could feel panic setting in, someone put me into this impossibly quiet, unbelievably dark room. Standing up I started to stretch. I could feel my arms, legs, head, fingers, toes. Wait, toes? Hesitantly I stepped forward; the floor was soft, spongy. Kneeling down to feel it, it felt solid but it moved with my feet. What kind of game is this? Why can't I see? I bring my hand in front of what I'm sure are my eyes. I can't see it. But I'm sure my hand is there. I start to move around the room, imitating every blind person I've seen in movies, I can feel my arms outstretched but are they really there? There are things, pillars on the floor, and on the walls, the same spongy material. What is this stuff? Suddenly it feels cold, the pillars are getting cold! I'm going to freeze to death. They're going to freeze me in this room! I hear a thumping grow louder, then a rushing sound. That's it, the air conditioner! They are going to freeze me. I hear the rushing. It sounds so loud and so close. I must be right near a vent. I feel for a grate. Nothing, there are no vents, nothing in this room. But what is that sound? I sit down against what could only be the wall and take deep breaths. I'm blind, in a room. I'm alive, but for how long? I start to calm down and suddenly the rushing is gone. Subconsciously I feel warm again, they're playing with me. The bastards! They've got to be watching. I stand up again. I start tearing around the room, trying to move these weirdly shaped pillars, no, not pillars, more like cones. I'm in a cave. There must be a way out then. Even blind I know there must be a way out of a cave.
That’s when the slithering starts. I hear it in the back of my mind first. There's something else in here with me. I can hear its breath. It's slithering towards me. No matter where I move the slithering is always behind me, just an inkling of a feeling at the back of my neck, I can hear it. The thumping is back, so fast and loud the rushing returns with it. Then I recognize that rhythm, a heartbeat, my heartbeat. My heart is racing! How can I hear my own heart? That rushing, it must be, can it be; my blood? I can hear my blood rushing when I panic. But what's the slithering? Everywhere I turn it is right behind me. I start to remember the feeling of something on my eyes when I awoke. My eyes! They're rolling around the floor behind me. My eyeballs are following me. That's why I can't see, my eyes aren't in my head! I get down on my belly on the floor, feeling around every corner, every inch of this room. I'm going to find my eyes! I hit a corner and sit against it. Calm down, the rushing is making me dizzy. My heart is pounding and my eyes are missing. Then I think about it, if my eyes are missing I should be able to feel my skull. The sockets should be empty. I feel up my body, across my chest, my neck, chin, nose. My eyes are closed, when I open them I'll see my fingers or I'll feel empty space. Slowly I pull the eyelids back and darkness. I put one finger against my eyelashes, and then push forward a tiny bit. Do I feel something? Are my eyes there? I'm too afraid of the answer. I yank my hand back down to my side. How silly, my eyes are following me? Hold it together; we need to figure this out.
I stand up against the wall. The spongy wall, as I touch it, it grows cold again. But how can it grow cold to my touch? Maybe the walls are hot and I cool them down with my body. Then I feel something extraordinary on the wall, an ear! It was just a split second but I know I felt it. Is that an ear, in this wall like thing? How did an ear get there? Then I feel more of them. The wall is covered in ears. They're listening to me! The ears are listening to me! The rushing is back again. I know they can hear it. They're feeding on my panic. They're listening to my blood surge through my body. They've taken my eyes and put ears in the walls! I can't stand it. I stumble to another corner trying to get as far away from the ears as possible. I cautiously smooth my fingertips along this wall, feeling for more ears. There are none. My imagination is getting to me. How can there be ears on a wall? I place my palm flat against this wall and I rest against it trying to steady my nerves. Then the wall was feeling back, fingers intertwining my own. The wall is holding my hand, at first it's comforting. Some human touch other than my own; it feels so lovely to be touched. Then it's pulling my fingers, the wall hand is trying to grab me and suck me in. I can feel my arm sinking into the wall. It's pulling me to the other side. I tug my hand free and crawl along the floor, I feel for the middle of the room. The walls aren't walls. The spongy material; it's skin! The walls are littered with living skin! The ears, the hand, the slithering! It's the skin moving! The walls are closing in. But I won't go like that. I won't be absorbed into these walls. They can't make me a part of this place. My blood is flowing so fast now; I can hear it like I'm standing next to a waterfall. It's rushing through my veins. My heart is pounding so hard I can feel my chest moving. My heart is going to rip through my skin. My blood will spill out. If I'm dead, I can't be a part of the wall! They can't make me a living wall if I'm not living. I need a weapon, anything sharp! The slithering...it's faster now. They know my plan. They can hear my thoughts. The ears! They're going to stop me! The hand is going to absorb me! I find my wrist and put it to my ear. The blood is right there, so loud, if I can only get it out. My teeth! I put my wrist on my lips and I scream at them. The ears, I know they can hear me. My thoughts, they can hear those too. I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and I can't hear it. It sounds so muffled. I'm screaming louder! My throat hurts but if I stop they'll hear my thoughts. I stop for one second and bite as hard as I can right where I can feel the blood pumping. It's going faster now. The blood is pouring over my hand I can feel it. The slithering is getting closer. I have to die before they get to me! I bite the other wrist and claw at my throat. I'm screaming again. Maybe the sound will hurt them. Maybe the ears can't stand the screaming! I feel my skin break over my throat. Finally! I get the blood flowing there too. I keep screaming. Screaming until my voice falters. I can't yell anymore. But the slithering; I can hear it right on top of me. They got me. I couldn't die in time. The blood is rushing as fast as I can let it out. My heart is slowing. The pounding is just a beat now. It's slowing, slower, finally I hear it stop. Then I see a bright white light, a flood of sounds. The door opens.