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 | seventeen
He stumbled across the threshold. Her body heavy in his arms. His heart full of grief, a grief he had never imagined possible, a grief so strong he could not breathe, his fingers numb, his chest tight. He found it hard to think, his mind full of dark clouds and conflicting claustrophobic imaginings. The stone floor beneath his feet cold and unyielding, like the body in his arms. A body that he had known when it was warm, soft, yielding, alive. A body, a person, a woman he would never know again. He missed her. And what she had meant to him. Once. He would miss her for the rest of his days. He would regret words spoken, unspoken, deeds done, not done.
The door had opened of its own accord. The chamber he had entered was rectangular with rough stone walls. Scattered across the room were rows of wooden chairs, six rows of six chairs, plain wooden seats, high backs, narrow spindly legs. He walked around the chairs, at the rear of the room a wooden staircase spiralled up to another level. Carrying his terrible burden he began to climb the steps, each step drawing on his depleted reserves, breaking his spirit, deepening his despair.
At the top of the staircase lay another chamber. At irregular intervals he saw narrow trestle stands, some low, some high, some with three legs, some four, at the top of each a square wooden platter. On each platter lay a white porcelain plate. Each plate bore the imprint of a hand, an imprint fashioned from fresh bright red blood. Small hands, large hands, slim fingers, coarse fingers. Each one splayed out on their white porcelain frame. The effect was overwhelming, nightmarish.
And across the room stood two figures. One a man dressed in black, his face hidden in shadow, the other a stone figure with a featureless face and open outspread hands. Both stared at him. In front of them, on another trestle table, a bundle of rags which contained something he dared not imagine.
He inched forward, his heart pounding, his breathing forced, his arms hurting from the sad burden they supported. A pain ripped through the front of his mind and down, down through his arms. He dropped her body, she fell with a dull thud, dust rising from the stone floor.
His mind reeled, nausea overcame him, he turned, ran back to the spiral wooden staircase, descending in terror he tripped, as he did he saw a large burning candle beneath him, plummeting towards it he knew he would feel the flame of the candle, feel it catch his feet, his legs, the fire searing and burning him as he fell.
He turned, looked back up the staircase, a veiled shadow, a woman, looked back at him, her arms folded across her chest.
Her face turned down to look at him, her expression empty, her eyes blank, and at her side, a man dressed in black, her hand in his.
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.
seventeen | fiftytwo