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
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 | sixteen
The grating turned slowly, then came free. He lifted it and, with care, laid it on the sand next to the hole that now lay beneath him. A fragment of lyrics from a long forgotten song ripped through his mind without warning
‘Want an axe to break the ice Wanna come down right now..’ 1
Looking into the hole he had opened, he took a step forward. One small step for a man. Or, as would realise, much later, perhaps a giant leap. Into the dark.
Falling through the freshly opened hole, the sandy floor flashed past his eyes as he fell.
She lay still. Unmoving. The gentle movement of her breast stilled as her breathing had ceased. Wherever she was now she was beyond caring, beyond help. Beyond pain. Gone.
He hit the bottom. Ahead of him a sandy path. His arm hurt, again, the impact as he hit the unforgiving ground had ripped into him, hurt him in places that already hurt too much. His thoughts muddled, he lifted himself, one foot in front of the other, he set off, the only way he could. Forward.
The path twisted ahead of him. The walls narrow, the passage tight, constricting, claustrophobic. The path seemed to angle towards the right and upward. One foot in front of the other, no thought, just one foot, then the other, over and over, over and over. Again and again.
The path spiralled upward, ahead of him he saw glowing sickly yellow light. The walls opened around him, he was in a chamber, a circular portal in one wall looked down into the spherical chamber he had just left through the grating. The path he had taken had wound around the outside of that sphere. In the chamber he now found himself in, the floor was rough stone and uneven. At the centre, another box, a casket, fashioned from dark splintered wood. At the head of the casket a wooden carving, a figure with empty birdlike eyes and a crooked broken nose stared lifelessly back at him. In the wall on the far side, a heavy iron door.
He walked to the casket. Again took the key, slid the key into the narrow opening at the head of the casket. It vibrated in his fingers as it turned, the mechanism clicked. Once more he raised the lid.
This time she was there.
Grief welled inside him as he took in her shattered lifeless form, ragged finger nails, torn and stained white shift. Eyes wide open frozen in terror. He bent down, kissed her cold cheek. Tears stained his face, he made no sound, he was beyond words, beyond any pain he had ever felt.
He bent into the casket, his arms around her, he lifted her broken body. Standing, his back wrenched, he held her body in front of him, and staggered across the rough stone floor, towards the door. As he approached, the metal door began to swing open.
He stumbled across the threshold.
1 Lyrics from Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
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.
sixteen | fiftytwo