Do you need, desire or crave a new challenge? Are you open to sharing your dark side? Then read on.
Do you have a dark side?
Or, think you may have one. Or indeed worry that you might have one. Or, for that matter, worry that you don’t and would like one? If so, join me here each week for dark | side | thursday.
Over a period of 52 weeks, I am writing a story. A dark story that will unfold as the weeks pass. Each Thursday, at 13:00 UTC, I will post a new chapter. Each chapter will be exactly 500 words long, and will be accompanied by a photograph. You can catch up on the story so far by clicking here on dark | side | thursday
This post is an “extra”, a condensed version of the first nine chapters, for those who wish to catch up with the narrative so far or who are new to dark | side | thursday
Share your dark side?
I invite you to join me either by writing your own dark story, week by week, or, if that is too much, by dropping by, now and then, perhaps when the mood suits you or, perhaps, when it doesn’t, and by sharing a photograph, poem or a suitably dark piece of prose. To cross over to dark | side | thursday create your post, tag it dark side thursday and link to it by clicking on the dark | side | thursday badge below, where you can also find all the contributions so far. Or you can simply share your link in the comments section of my weekly post. And, should the mood take you, you can add the badge to your post.
dark | side | thursday | condensed:one:nine
My story began with fragmented recollections of a walk through a cemetery. The narrator had gone there to learn, his past is not revealed, the background to why he was there is not yet clear. He was shocked by what he saw, what he felt. He is a photographer, he is losing his hair. Maybe he is also a writer, of sorts. He feels things, injustice, fear, emotion. He finds an open tomb filled with water, its opening covered with rough hewn boards. He is said to hear, feel what had been there, it is not clear how or what he hears and feels.
In the second chapter, the scene shifts, to a time long before the narrator opened his eyes. A man and a woman, as yet unnamed, no details given, walk together on a warm spring evening, they are described as being free, free from something yet to happen. Something terrible. The narrator’s perspective is weaved into the future, he knows the story and is recalling it, there is a reference to knowledge he has acquired. The concept of time and space is blurred and ambiguous. The man and the woman might have seen what was to come, there is a suggestion that things might have been different. The narrator is at his desk, there is a reference to a box on his desk. Both he, the man and the woman feel cold. The narrator is writing with pen and paper. He recalls finding the hole in the ground.
The narrator opens the box in the third chapter, removes a key and remembers discovering the box containing the key in the open tomb introduced in the opening chapter. Shifting in time, it is revealed that the couple also came across a key during their walk on that long ago spring evening. The key provokes powerful feelings, both in the narrator, and in the man and the woman. Again there is a reference to how things might have been different; if the characters had chosen, or acted, other than as they did. Holding the key, the woman sees something in the man’s eyes.
In the fourth chapter the key again plays a crucial role. This time the man’s eyes undergo a terrible transformation, turning from sparkling blue to black, as the woman holds the key and looks at him. She feels cold and a terrible emptiness, an emptiness that she will always feel. The story shifts back to the narrator who continues to write at his desk, he seems, somehow, to sense the woman’s emptiness, it is not clear how or why. He drinks a harsh shot of slivovitz and remembers ‘all of it’, before walking out into the corridor. The man’s eyes return to normal, the man and woman kiss, she still feels cold and empty. The narrator seems seduced by the power of the key in the box, a key that seems somehow to be alive, conscious.
In chapter five the narrator walks down the corridor, thoughts of the key, of release haunting him. There is a reference to things being lost, a sense that the narrator has been here before. The narrator is in terrible pain, the corridor collapses around him. The man and the woman kiss, the eyes of the man again change, turning black, she feels empty. The narrator awakens in a blackened wood, how or why is not clear, he is pain. The woman runs away, the man does not follow, she discovers a flight of stone steps leading down. The narrator, struggling with his pain, drinking slivovitz from a flask, sees a flight of stone steps rising ahead of him. Then he hears her.
At the opening of chapter six, the narrator awakens back in the corridor, cold, wet and in pain and feeling somehow the emptiness the woman feels, he recalls hearing her voice speak these words “Don’t let him, don’t let him take it, not now, it’s so close. Please…hear me…”. He returns to his room, there is a reflection here about how things might have been different, he walks to the desk, he picks up an old, leather bound, journal and reads words which are apparently both terrible and familiar to him. The woman wakes at the top of the flight of stone stairs and in pain tries to speak, uttering the words “Don’t let him…”. Time and space again seem distorted and confused.
Chapter seven sees the narrator reading a passage from the leather journal with this stark message “When the time comes, there will be no time, you will know what to do, inside, you will know, as I did. I tried, I wanted to stop it. It was too strong, she was too strong. I had no time, so please for Hid’s sake, when the time comes, don’t think, act, or you too will have no time…”. The woman is alone, she cries out the words the narrator had heard. She endures a traumatic nightmare in which she is being burned alive, the man returning to her as she wakes. He picks her up, their bodies close, there is tension, a dark passion between them, she feels an emptiness inside her. The narrator again opens the box, takes the key, once more walks out into the corridor. The man and woman descend the stone steps, they hear footsteps approach. The time is said to have come.
At the opening of chapter eight, the woman finds herself in darkness, her fingers slipping out of the man’s grip after they had reached the bottom of the flight of stone steps. The narrator walks back out into the corridor, expecting to be transported once more to the blackened wood. He is not. The woman falls into a dark void, screaming silently. The narrator walks to the end of the corridor, descends the staircase and walking out into the rain, filled with despair, he screams and screams.
Chapter nine opens with the woman alone in an empty, tiled, room, she struggles to regain consciousness. Her painful sensations on waking are described in some detail. It becomes clear that she rests on some kind of hospital bed. The narrator sitting in the rain in the street, seems confused and afraid about what has happened. He returns to the building, takes the lift, he is exhausted. The woman feels a pain in her belly. Touching her body she then realises they had taken it from her.
The portal to dark | side | thursday opened on the twenty first day of may in the year twenty hundred and fifteen and will remain open for fifty two weeks.
condensed:one:nine | fiftytwo