The girl came to with a drowsy moan, and leaned her body forward but was stopped as her wrists were tied behind some board. She gently shook her head and tried to move her legs next, but took notice they were tied together as well. She moved her mouth freely and mentally sighed that she didn’t have a gag or a piece of cloth to hinder her mouth.
She finally opened her eyes and looked around the dimly lit room; candles flickered around her on short stools around her in a circular shape, and one lone one standing in front of her. A lone chair just rested opposite to her and the locked metal cage reflected the candles’ gentle, warm light to her left. She instantly knew she was in the gym equipment room as she read sign hanging on the criss-crossing cage. Then she took notice of what she feared most; the pitch black corners.
She started hyperventilate as immense fear started building up inside her; she wanted to be anywhere but here as her mind started imagining up hideous, slobbering monsters hiding in one of them, ready to jump out at her and shred her body to tiny pieces while she’s still conscious. She could hear her own thumping heart in her ears while she started to struggle against her binds in a futile attempt to escape this nightmare of a room. Her mind was so blind with terror of her phobia that she didn’t notice a darkened figure quietly walking towards her, that is until said figure snapped his thumb and finger, gaining her attention. The figure stepped forward to show a teenage boy, just about her age with his easily recognizable, mixed hazel-green eyes. His face didn’t show much emotion to start with and his upper body was lacking any large muscles, but she knew better than to take a foot race against him.
“Good to see you’re awake.” He broke the silence and sat himself down on the remaining chair with his arms and legs crossed. “I guess you’re wondering why you’re in here?” he simply asked.
“Let Me Go!” she yelled angrily, her face turning red in the process as she continued to struggle.
“Why should I?” he said and looked around the room, “It’s not so bad in here, yah know? I always wondered why you didn’t like it here. Or any space with no prominent light source for that matter.” That caused her to suddenly stop struggling, dread and embarrassment slowly taking over her already frail mind. “Yes, I figured out what you most fear.”
“H-how did…” she murmured shakily as she tried to shrink into the chair.
“I know you like to observe and question other students to find out what they fear most so you could use them to your advantage. I like to observe as well, but more out of curiosity than anything else. I’ve been very observant as long as I can remember, and when you started frightening the living crap out of me and others for laughs, I started noticing how you ticked in the head.” he tapped a finger on his head with a small smile. “I don’t know if you haven’t noticed yet, but I can figure things out way faster than others would. I figured out how all the teachers ticked, I know at least eighty percent of the students’ behavior patterns in the school, and now, at long last, I know how you tick.” He chuckled as he leaned his head back, “You were fun to observe during our school hours. You kept your secrets very well, but your little slip ups betrayed you.”
He stood up and starts walking around the small lit circle of candles on stools, looking at each one like it was an interesting specimen.
“I’ll admit, it was a waste of my time to figure you out, but it needed to be done. You got the whole school to fear you, and you took advantage of it like a greedy, spoiled child.” He snorts and takes out one of the candles by blowing it out, making her eyes widen in fear, then he strolled on over to another. “People like you who uses fear as a tool to get what you want… I have a hard time seeing the bright side to their personalities. So far I observed, you’ve been selfish,” he takes out another candle, “cruel,” another light out, making her squeak as the darkness started to gradually close in when he takes out another, “heartless,” he blows out three more, making her start hyperventilating. He walks up to the two on her sides while licking his fingers and thumbs, “ignorant, witch.” and takes them out with a pinch.
The last candle stood still lit in front of her, but her sight started to blur as her tears starts to well-up, her lower lip quivering with. He walks back over to his seat and yet again crossed his arms and legs. He just stared at her for what felt an eternity to her as the last light in front of her flickered with her ragged breaths. She wanted to go home and stay there with her favourite plush Zebra.
“What do you know about my fear?” he asked calmly.
She blinked her tears away as she looked up at him, “W-what?” she didn’t know how it happened, but the moment she looked at him she wanted to flee like a prey from its hungry predator. She wanted out.
“What do you know about my own fear?” he asked once more.
“Um… uh…” she searched through her mind; the words just at the tip of her tongue but couldn’t remember clearly with her clouded mind.
“Optophobia.” He called out. “The fear of opening ones’ eyes. But I don’t have it that bad, not anymore. I’ve learned to live with it by taking little baby steps each day, while you on the other hand, you have a bad.” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, “We’re two of the opposites, you n’ I. I fear the eternal light, but you fear the eternal darkness.” He chuckled and leaned back on his chair, “I’m a curious person, learning as much about everything that there is to know. It’s fun for me to answer hard questions. I like to know how things work, and like any scientist, I under estimate my knowledge because there’s so many more to know about everything. I don’t know everything, easy as that, but the more I know, the more I am in the dark.” He chuckled, “And I like it that way. Answer one question, but a dozen more arises to replace it, which means more questions to answer.” He tipped his chair back towards the dark room, resting his head on his palms, “The more you’re in the light about things, the more you are blind and ignorant to the rest of the world and people around you, but unlike you and other blind individuals, I would like to see everything there is to witness, both good and bad.” He looked at her neutrally, “How do you think I got so wise at this age?” he set his seat back down on all of its four legs with a chuckle. “Ever wondered why the phrase ‘in the dark’, was created? Because someone in the past admitted they didn’t know everything there is to know, and that applies to everything single living being on this little planet of ours. No wonder how hard you try and act like you know with the simplest of things, you’ll still be ‘in the dark’, because there’s chaos and unpredictability everywhere we go. We can’t predict everything that’s going to happen because we don’t understand how everything works.” He chuckled at himself and shook his head, “Man, by this rate, I might become the youngest philosopher in the world with a PHD to boot it.”
He leans in towards the candle with a small smile, propping his chin with his palm, starring at the flickering flame, no smell to be smelt as the white wax slowly oozed down its stem like a bleeding tree.
“Oh, how easy it would be to blow out this little candle to make myself more comfortable and leave you in the dark.” Her eyes widen in terror at his comment, but he continued on, “But what benefits would I gain by scaring the soul out of one of the most feared bullies in school? Respect, fame and attention, I guess, but I can live without those just fine. If I want respect, I would earn it with a hard days work, not taking it from someone else. Fame is something I’m not too fond of, as well as the attention from every student in school.” He quickly grazed the tip of the small fire with his finger tip, “One can live just fine without those things. I like to live a relaxing life; get a job that I could enjoy, live in a small, quaint little home and maybe find someone special to enjoy it with.” he chuckled at himself with a big smile. “But I guess I just moved ahead of my plan with the latter. I’m sure you heard the news about me and my old friend Kelly a few months back. Kind of hard to miss sense every guy in the building was seriously jealous of me, some even tried to pick fights just because I and Kelly started dating.” He said with a tiny blush on his cheeks, while he rubbed his right cheek in remembrance.
With a sniffle, she speaks up, “W-why are you doing this, then? You’re one of the k-kindest people I know of.” she asked with another sniffle, her eyes bloodshot with tear drenched cheeks. He takes out a napkin from his pocket, reached out, but she flinched away with a wince like she was about to be hit by someone powerful. He hushed soothingly for a moment before he gently wiped away her tears from her cheek with a sad expression.
“You gave me no choice. Someone needed to let you see of what you were doing to them. Let you look through the dark for once, even if your phobia goes against it.” He rubbed both his hands together and looked straight at her, “I never wanted this to happen, mind you, not in the slightest bit. I’ll never forgive myself for terrifying you like this in a place you never wanted to be in.” he started rubbing both his eyes with his hands, “I just wanted to get the point across, simple as that.” He sighed, “You know I wouldn’t do harm to others, violence and torture are only last resorts, but if someone else found out about your fear, they would most likely just leave you here with no light whatsoever. I listen to my conscience very often, and with a little help from a close friend, I became who I am today, and the same can happen to you. You just needed someone to point the way, is all. I’m kind to the people who are kind to me, and I look out for the people I care about. I saw something in you that needed my attention, so I took it upon myself to show you the way. So scaring you is going against my own moral code. This is eating me away and would most likely stay with me forever, but it had to be done.” He looked at her with sad eyes, “I’m very sorry for scaring you like this, but if someone else did this, you might not ever see the light of day and live happily with a bright future.”
They both sat in silence for some time, just occasionally glancing at the lit candle between them, trying to contemplate on how they should continue.
Finally, the boy cleared his throat and sat up on his chair, “So… have my point went across?” he asked politely.
She shakily nodded with a sniffle, “Y-ye… Yeah, I see where you’re pointing at.” She answered and swallowed a lump in her throat. She starts to fidget around in her binds, taking quick glances at him as her cheeks lightly flushed, “C-can… can you keep this… you know…”
He zipped his lips shut, “I was never going to release your personal information anyway, so there’s no need to worry.” He answered with a smile.
She smiled back, but after a moment, shut her eyes with a wince for a few moments before she looked to the side at the dark, foreboding corner for a few seconds before quickly looking back at the lit candle. The boy smiled proudly at her as she took deep breaths to calm herself.
She chuckled lamely at her attempt, “L-like you sa-said…” she took a deep breath and slowly breathed out before looking back up at him with a crooked smile, “Baby steps.”
“Nice to see you’re moving forward.” He said before getting up and walking over to a dark corner. A second later, the lights above lit up brightly. The girl gave a sigh of relief and looked at the boy, seeing as he was just standing at the light switches with his back turned to her.
“Are… are you okay?” she asked, her fear quickly replaced by worry for her new guide.
He looked back at her with a small smile, “I’m still coping with my own fears too, Sarah.” He then put on a pair of sunglasses and walked up behind her, “Still don’t like flashing lights.” He said to her, and untied her wrists and ankles with a single pull of a string.
Sarah rubbed her wrists and ankles to relieve the self inflect rope burns, and smiled back at him thankfully. He nodded at her before he started putting the candles in his hidden away backpack and put the stools away in neat rows in a corner. They both strolled on over to the double doors and he gestures her out, making her smile with a nod. The boy turned out the light before going out himself. He looks up at the twilight sky with a deep breath, while taking his glasses off; hues of orange, pink, blue and purple painting the clouds and horizon beautifully. He then looked down at the open, and eerily empty soccer field. It never seems to stop creeping him even after all these years of living here.
Sarah clears her throat, gaining his attention as he closes the doors behind him, seeing she was yet again, fidgeting nervously, playing with her fingers and thumbs with a light blush.
“Um… is-is it okay if you… you know… uh…” she looked out into the darkening streets, streetlights now starting to flicker to life.
“Sure. No problem.” he answered happily, swinging his backpack over his shoulder with a caring smile.
She smiles cheekily, “Thanks, Marcus.” She thanked him and both walked out the empty field. But as they walked, she speaks up, “Uh… is it… is it okay if-um… is…” her cheeks flared to life while she rubbed her right elbow anxiously. “Is-is it okay if we… you know, can hang out some times?” her voice died down at the end, but the message was sent as Marcus chuckled at her shy demeanor.
“Of course it’s okay, Sarah. Just be a little mindful of Kelly. She tends to… how do I say it? ‘Suspicious’ with girls around me, Silvia as well.” He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, making her squeak like a mouse.
She clears her throat, “Um… about your new sister, Silvia… uh, no offence, but… she’s a little strange, and… scary.” She hugged her waist as the coming darkness started to linger closer with the approaching night.
He chuckled good heartedly, reached into his pocket and gave her a small flashlight, making her smile once again, “Oh, you have no idea, Sarah.” He replied as the two new friends continue on, “You have no idea.”.
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