dark | side | thursday | fortythree

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | fortythree

The hills were alive with the sound of music.

That much he could remember. That sweet sugar coated music that covered up the horror beneath like a thin plastic caul.

The hills were alive with other sounds too. The howling wind, the ever present droning of the dreary rain, driving down in thick rivulets, from the dark moor above, smearing against the plate glass window.

The sky a thick roiling grey green blanket that stole away his childish hopes.

And the sirens, the sirens and the slamming doors, the curses of the men who searched. Searched in vain. He did not see these things, they were hidden, at least they were supposed to be hidden. Snatched glimpses of flashing lights on the TV screen, stern faced men and so many tears. He heard, he felt those tears. Felt the fear. The fear of the slamming door, the fake smile, the lost ones. The rain, the loss of hope. And, the fear.

He was not supposed to see, or hear, or know about these things. Not to hear the things that had been done to them.

But, he did, of course. They all did. All those who were supposed to be safe. They all knew it was a  lie. They could never be protected by ‘them’ from the dark, the smiles.

Their fake false smiles.

And sugar coated promises.

Perhaps it was the wasp, the wasp in the curtains, that whispered in his sleeping ear. Told him the things he must not know, told him as it prepared to sting.

And then, morning broke again.

He stopped typing.

Remembering all this was pointless. Maybe it explained some of the anger he felt inside, maybe it didn’t. He closed the lid on his Mac, stood and walked to the low white shelf to his right. He picked up his keys, selected one and walked to the glass door, he inserted and turned the key, walked out and closed the door behind him.  He strode along the exposed and rain soaked walkway and, turning left, he began to descend the concrete staircase. Rainwater pooled in the dark places where the staircase turned back on itself. He reached the bottom, the lights were off, broken. Water dripped and he heard the rattling and whispering of the things that lived in the dark, he felt their beady eyes watch as he walked into their domain.  He knew the way.

The room was dark and dank, the smell of days old rubbish, hidden away in plastic skips, rank and fetid. It always made him smile, as he imagined them all, eager faces, transfixed by flickering TV screens, oblivious to the decay and rot that gathered beneath their freshly vacuumed rugs and wood-panelled floors.

He approached the thick base of the chimney. His fingers searching in the dark for that one loose brick.  He found it, slid a finger into the loose mortar.

He pulled out the loose brick. Reached inside.

The box was still there.


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.

fortythree | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | fortytwo

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | fortytwo

Of course, he never did see it, nor feel it’s cold dead fingers touching his shoulders. Perhaps if he had, then things might have been different.

Maybe a beast realised, visceral and present, would have been harder to contend with. He would never know, of course.

He did remember the fear though, the endless nights, the longing for that sliver of light, the longing for the voices to welcome him. Voices he knew were never welcoming, but raised and angry, cold and cruel. The light a deceit. The nights that ended in the cold break of day, the longing again for the night. An endless cycle.

He remembered the longing he felt when the bird that was blue, and named pinkie, flew free. And how (back then) he had wanted to be that little bird, to fly to be free.

As he continued typing, he could smell the ripe odour of rampant rhododendrons.

Wet leaves, oozing under the constant rain, giant green sentinels guarding another world, through to which he could never pass.

His thin, scrawny little legs pedalling as hard as he could make them, the wobbling wheels of his bicycle spinning in the air as he rolled to one side and the rattling stabiliser wheels sparing him (once again) more bloodstained knees.

Guiding the bicycle along the rain slickened and bumpy ash filled path that lay between the forest of rhododendrons. Fear filling him as he knew that he was off the path, the path where they could find him. He was alone. Alone to face the dark wet green leaves, the shapes that moved behind their cold embrace.

He could hear the rusted creaking of the swings.

He (thought he) could hear the swishing of the bird’s bright blue feathers as it escaped.

He pedalled quickly past the row of red and blue painted (rusted) swings that towered above him, streaked and covered in slime accumulated under the endless rain. Echoes of long gone children, laughing and crying as they swung (out to dry – he thought).

And ahead, at the top of the rise, across the grass. The bandstand.

He had to reach the bandstand.

He knew he had to reach the bandstand.

Before it, or they, could stop him.

As he typed, he remembered the terror as his little wobbly wheels shot out from under him. Felt again the pain as his head hit the gnarled root of a tree that had been the cause of his tumble, felt the trickle of blood seeping from the gash on his forehead and running into his eyes. Remembered how he had sniffled and forced back the tears, remembered how he had stood again and walked towards the bandstand.

He could hear the music still. Off key and stilted. He could not recall the tune.

The slumped shoulders of the solitary pianist, the way the figures frail fingers fought to slash out the fragmented refrain.

He turned away from his keyboard.

He realised that had been when it began.


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.

fortytwo | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | fortyone

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | fortyone

The clocked ticked over, it was 12:52, nothing had changed.

Or, perhaps, everything had changed.

He began to type, the only thing he could think to do at this point was to get the words out of his head and on to the screen. Only that way could he buy himself some time to think, some freedom from the ghosts, and shades, that haunted him. His fingers flew across the keyboard. The words spewing out and into the hard (unforgiving) drive that spun mindlessly inside the sculpted aluminium case of his Mac.

His recollection of events had become hard to piece together. Distorted and curved. He remembered things that had happened to him when he had been a child, insanely trivial things that remained imprinted on his circuits, trivial things that seemed to have (at least for now) some deeper meaning. Things that happened yesterday he could barely remember. The sequence of events that had resulted in him sitting at this desk, under the dark shadow of the chimney, could well have been shrouded in the thick black smoke that he imagined had once belched from the open throat of that, now defunct, pillar.

His mind wandered as he typed.

He remembered a snake and a tiger, at least that is what he thought he remembered. There had also been a stuffed elephant, with cold dark eyes. The snake and the tiger locked in an eternal power struggle, the thick cord of the snake wrapped around the tiger both terrifying and somehow beguiling. The stained white fangs of the tiger prominent in his mind, the open maw of the animal frozen in a silent and terrible, never ending, roar of pain. The snake’s dripping fangs only seconds away from tearing at the throat of the beast. And all this behind cold glass in an old house that no longer echoed with the laughter of children or the anguish of those who once held sway there.

The buzz of the giant wasp that he (had always known) inhabited the dark space behind the curtains, in the corner of the window. The bloated wasp that he knew scrabbled for freedom against the cold frame of the darkened window. The wasp that he knew would, in the long passage of the night, realise that all it had to do to find freedom was to turn, to fly beneath the curtains, to feast on the flesh of the small human shape that lay shaking beneath the bedsheets night after night.

He remembered rising from his bed, the long walk across his bedroom, turning the cold handle of the door. The voices at the end of the corridor, the light shining at the foot of the door. The promise of safety. The faltering steps along the corridor that lengthened as he began to walk toward that sliver of light. Feeling the ground liquify beneath his dragging feet.

And knowing what he would see as he turned, what he would feel as it reached out.


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.

fortyone | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | forty

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | forty

‘I will break you, do you understand?’

The lips of the figure looking back at him barely moved. The shock of hearing such cold, brutal, words from a simulacrum of his self, separated by seconds, seared his (lost) soul. More than ever, he needed a shot, needed so much more. Never mind internal warming, he needed a meltdown. He needed to lose himself. If he wasn’t already lost.

The thin man coughed, briefly.

He turned his eyes away from the replicant, the simulacrum, the imposter. Turned his eyes to the thin man. The thin man, in the white coat.

‘It’s 12:51, it’s time, it’s no longer seven minutes past one. Maybe you remember that time, the time you crossed the street, in a distant northern town, the man asked you (innocently) the time, you told him it was seven minutes past one, you knew it wasn’t, but, even then, you knew. You knew that it was time. And yes, you knew that it was 12:51, and that it always would be. It is written.’

The thin man turned away. With his right hand he reached down into the left pocket of his white coat. His fingers found what he needed. He popped one of the round white pills, took it between his finger and thumb, brought his hand out of his pocket and turned and faced them both.

‘My part in this is over. The time has come, the time is 12:51, the end has no end, you know – both of you – what you must do. She knew too, you knew that she always knew, it conditioned her every action. You both know (and knew) that. And, you both know that only one of you can survive what will come next. When the time comes to make the choice. I wish you all you wish for yourselves’

With a swift movement the thin man popped the pill, bit down hard. His eyes rolled back in their sockets. He fell to the ground.

He looked at his shadowy simulacrum, their eyes met. They both raised their right hand, index fingers extended. Their fingers touched. Their fingers pressed together. There was a brief, intense flash of light, a low rumbling noise, a searing pain flared in (their) left arm.

Then, nothing. (Again).

He felt the cold smooth surface pressed into his forehead. The familiar geography of his desk. He raised his head with care, his eyes unable (unwilling) to open. The familiar hum of the fan (of his Mac) taunting, teasing him. Rain lashed against the windows. The chimney towered above.

He sensed these things, he did not see. Not yet.

With trepidation, he opened his eyes, pain blasting him as he did. He squinted at the screen on the desk. Searching for the menu bar, his eyes gummed and inflamed, he found the row of sparse black numbers, he struggled to focus, he struggled to take it all in.

Though the mist, he saw the time.

12:51


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.

forty | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | thirtynine

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | thirtynine

One second was all that stood between them.

Between success and failure, between darkness and light.

One second.

Two worlds (more).

Separated by one single, solitary, second. Less than a blink of an eye.

And yet, world’s apart.

Two universes separated by a second.

As he watched the two figures approach the hole he knew, that, from where he stood, he would see the two parallel scenarios unfolding.

‘Your mind is just a program. And I’m the virus’*

The thin man, no longer smiling, continued to look at the screen, continued to speak.

‘You have been programmed for this moment. You are mine. You have no thought that is not mine. No will, no desire, no fear, no happiness, no lust. Nothing, that is not mine. Do you understand?’

He looked back at the screen. The image had frozen, then stuttered back to life. The couple were no longer together. The taller figure, dressed in black, had approached the hole in the ground.  The second figure had retreated, into the distance, into the ether.

‘What you are seeing is what might have happened, or, more precisely you are observing two parallel moments that might have happened, separated by a single second. I could show you more, much more. If I were I to do so, you would almost surely not survive the experience. Did you know that there is no single flow of time? Not one time, but an infinite number of times, separated by a single second, backwards and forwards. An infinite sequence of times, separated one from the other, each by a single second. Each time differing from the next by the decisions taken in a split second. Can you imagine what might happen if it were possible to travel between those moments?’

He watched as the taller figure lay prone on that cold ground, watched as the figure, dressed in black, groped into the darkness, his fingers scrabbling at the edge of that cold hole.

‘He is not aware of his destiny, for him time travels in a simple linear fashion, one second follows the next. As he gropes in the dark, he can’t see the shades of his infinite past, present and future states that might exist (or not). For him, there is only his now, always his now, no past, no present and no future.’

The thin man turned away from the screen. With a swift click of his fingers the screen faded and disappeared.

‘It’s now time for you to learn more. And yes, it is natural for you to be confused. You have suffered much, and you have caused much suffering. I think you know that there are consequences. There are always consequences. You do know that, don’t you?’

He looked at the thin man, unable to comment, unable to think.

The thin man turned and, with a gentle susurration, a door opened.

A figure stood at the door, a dark figure.

He looked at that figure.

The figure looked back.

At himself.


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.

thirtynine | fiftytwo

* Lyrics from Psycho, by Muse

dark | side | thursday | thirtyeight

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | thirtyeight

It was time.

Wake up.

He heard insistent clicking. Dry fingers snapping together. His command to return.

He opened his eyes. A large bladed circular fan attached to the ceiling rotated unevenly, moving the desultory air around the room, otherwise seeming to achieve very little else.

A motor, hidden below the leather couch, on which he reclined, hummed as it returned him to an (almost) upright position.

A tall thin man in a white coat drew in a short breath, adjusted his heavy framed black glasses with his left hand, coughed, and offered him a long glass filled with a colourless liquid, and a single thin red straw. He observed that the straw was ribbed. A couple of centimetres from the end, to allow it to bend.

‘Take a sip, this may help you.’

He took the offered glass and, holding the straw with a trembling hand, took a slow tentative sip.

‘I think I need more than this to help me, guess you can’t add a dash of scotch to it?’

The thin man smiled briefly, he didn’t reply, took the glass and placed it, with great care and precision, on a low white plastic table at the side of the leather couch.

Sitting down, in a narrow wooden framed chair, with square cream cushions, a slim aluminium light fitting curving around his right shoulder, the man in the white coat looked at him. He said nothing. His eyes were cold, grey and piercing. He brought his hands up, fingers pressed tightly together at their tips (he noticed the man had six on each hand). The man’s fingers formed a tent, a refuge. He drew his steepled fingers up to his mouth, thin and cruel lips, and gently pressed his fingers against the slit where those lips joined, his brow furrowed. The man leaned back, the chair rocked a little, he took another breath, deeper this time. He opened his mouth, as if to speak, then stopped. He pushed himself up from the chair, stood and walked towards the wall to the left of the leather couch.

He raised his hand and placed his palm full against what seemed to be a random patch of nothing on the smooth clean white wall.

A rectangular section of the wall shimmered, the air seemed to vibrate for a moment, and an image began to resolve on the wall.

He looked at the man in white, opened his mouth, as if to speak. The man in white turned to him, raised a single finger to his mouth and turned to the screen.

The picture was blurred, greens and greys, blurred and unclear. Then, pixel by pixel, the scene became clear.

A man and a woman, walking, together and yet apart, distant, dislocated. Pausing to read inscriptions, photograph plastic flowers, wandering among cold stone. Their paths diverged and digressed, then, again, converged.

On the screen on the wall the two figures approached a hole in the ground.

And he saw the shadow.

Darkening.


 

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.

thirtyeight | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | thirtyseven

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | thirtyseven

Blood rushed to his head.

His legs grasped in a firm grip, strong fingers encircling both calves, he was swaying. His eyes closed, tight, against the piercing white light. Fighting the nausea and trauma.

He felt the slap, cold, from the hand, the huge hand, striking his buttocks hard. He didn’t want to cry, didn’t want to show fear. But cry he did, one short, sharp, yelp, and his eyes opened, sticky, blinking.

He felt himself being spun round, not roughly, but still he imagined he was looping around inside a (far from) funfair ride.

And he was cold. Shivering. His body was damp, the air around him a stark contrast to the place from which he had been torn.

All around him was blurred. In that white light shapes moved, sometimes approaching, more often receding. Muffled voices. Machines humming, bleeping.

He was pushed down onto a firm surface covered in a rough white fabric. One of those huge hands loomed out of blurred white clouds and held his body down as another wrapped him tight in yet more of the rough white fabric. His arms pinned in front of him, his legs held tight together. Only his head left untouched. He tried to move, he could only manage slight turns of his head. He opened his mouth to speak, to demand an explanation, all he could manage was a pitiful mewling noise, not a single word could he form. Trying again, he succeeded only in making louder versions of the same mewling noise. The shadowy shapes around him moved closer. A huge face pressing down at him, dark eyes looking into his. He was lifted. Rocked from side to side, whilst dark eyes held him tight, making what he imagined dark eyes thought were soothing noises. They weren’t. Suddenly, in a swift vertigo inducing movement, he was placed back down on the white fabric covered surface.

Another shape approached. Holding something in its hands. The air around him thickened and his vision blurred as what seemed to be a plastic lid or tent was placed above and around him. Unable to speak, he decided to practice his mewling. Fitful mewling that this time appeared to elicit no response. He gave up. Struggled a little, trying to free himself, gave up. Again.

A hand lifted the lid, reached toward him and he felt a slim tube inserted into his nose. Air rushed in. More mewling. More struggling. Giving up, again, he managed to roll on to his side, still tightly bound.

Another shape approached him. Seeming smaller than the others. Less sure, less confident, less threatening. The shape reached out towards the roof above him. An arm resting on the blurred surface of the plastic. Fingers splayed out, pressing against the plastic, as if seeking to touch him. Unable to do so.

Again he heard those words ‘Don’t let them take him…’

The hand lifted away.

The light above flickered through the plastic, the surface below vibrated.

He was moving.


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.

thirtyseven | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | thirtysix

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | thirtysix

He was the man in black.

There was no going back. He had to fight back.

Back to what? Back in black? Or should he swear allegiance to the cowardly white. He had no damned idea. He floated in a none place, somewhere between here and there, not quite anywhere. Full of fear. Flags fluttering, symbols, colours, meaningless. All of it.

Floating.

And yet, he was damned if he was going to give in, not now. Not after all he had been through, not after all the endless circles he seemed to have circumnavigated, ceaselessly . In search of, in search of, what exactly? In search of her. The woman that had haunted him since that time long ago, that warm evening, that hole. In the ground.  The fake plastic flowers. Taking photographs. How much of what he could recall was real?

His mind curled into a virtual ball inside the walls of his polished skull, pulling deeper inside, tighter and tighter. Quivering deep inside him. Afraid of what, he could no longer remember.

Floating.

And then? Then it had all become confused. His dreams, his nightmares had converged, conflated, collapsed. He could no longer tell reality from fantasy, night from day. Life from death.

There had been flames, fierce burning flames, and old flames. Plates. Plates with bloodstained handprints, stairways and airways. Constricted airways. Hands held tight. Taunting, teasing, not wanted. Statues and towers. Flowers and towers. The tower of death. He had climbed. He had lost. His way. He couldn’t stay. Not welcome. His time had come, and passed away.

His mind clenched into a fist. A startled sphincter, repelling entry. The world, a tight hard ball, deep inside his empty skull.

Nursery rhymes. Adult crimes.

Janet and John. Humpty Dumpty. Snakes and Ladders. Beauty and the Beast. Jack and the Beanstalk. The Magic Roundabout. Winnie the Pooh. Gingerbread cottages. Wolves, with dripping fangs. Red haired beauties. Barbie, Ken and Action Man. Plastic threesome. Not so winsome.

White faces, and long white incisors. Howling at the moon. Stories, gory stories. Wrapped in candy, and spread with poison. Happy endings. Stories never ending. Frauds and fallacies. Favours and Quavers. Chuppa chups. Will o’ the wisps.

Out there. Sounds. Muffled, far away sounds. Booming and slurring.

Ahead of him, the light. Sirens calling. Sensuous and embracing. Come hither. Don’t dither. The light is right. Don’t fear, we have beer. And good cheer. Forget the pain. Don’t strain. Relax. Let go.

Pictures, words, fragments filled his mind, a showreel from hell, spinning, out of control.

Sound intensifying. A strident shrieking. A bell blaring. And voices, could those be voices? Really, in the land of the nonny nonny no. No.

Wrapped up tight, inside. He floated. The light pulled.

The voices entreating.

Rhythmic pulsing. Pushing and straining.

Resisting.

Tightening. Darkening. Sounds, becoming frightening.

The light approaching. Pushed to the light. Intense white light. No longer squeezed and confined.

And those words. Again. Squeezed into the light.

‘Don’t let him’

Lungs opening. He cried.


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.

thirtysix | fiftytwo

dark | side | thursday | thirtyfive

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?

AJT_6650-EditOr, 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 | thirtyfive

‘…realityytilaer

hisfingerssregnifsih…’

Melting into the wall, the white wall rippled, a stone flicking across a pond. Plink, plink, plink. His arm vanished in front of his eyes, sucked into the white wall, melting, dissolving, vanishing. Un-being. Words flickered in his mind, un-flickered, flickered again, brighter, coalesced, flared, bloomed and dissipated, words incoherent, yet full of meaning. Words he knew, word he had heard.

Before.

Her voice, fading, swirling, water flowing in antipodean swirls down a white drain. Swirling, straining, becoming. Nothing.

His arm had gone. The white wall approached his shoulder.  Enveloped his shoulder. Engulfed him. He felt older. Colder. The white wall took his head. He stopped thinking.

He was not older. Younger. Bolder. Smoulder.

He was now all white. Like the room, the wall, the whole world. The world as it seemed to him. White, not right, no, so so not right. He could not write. He had to be right to write, right?

No longer observing the world. He was, the world. White rippling waves coursed through him. Unfolding, spreading, tightening. Not frightening. Pulsating, enfolding, enclosing.

Memories of the black plastic mask hovering above his face, the tube in his throat. They thought he was out. They thought he was all white.

All around him, white.

And then. And then, the voice.

Her voice again. He closed his eyes, but it made no difference, all was white. There was no dark. No light. No wrong, no right. Only the white.

The pain in his arm, that familiar pain, flared and snaked through his incorporeal body.

‘Close the pod doors Hal’.

White, all around him, white.

Memories of films and books and plays and poems. All white. Words blurred into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, chapters into books, books into lives. Lives into whiteness. Always the whiteness. Nowhere else. All was white.

Reality.

Was no more.

There was only the path through the white place.

And the cloying sweet smell, of the black mask.

Hovering.

Waiting.

He wanted the button, the sweet promise of being able to push the button. To unleash relief. To let all that whiteness suffuse him. Push the button.

He drifted away, through the whiteness. White walls, imperceptible, white walls closing in on him, taking his breath. Making him want, the black mask.

The man in black, lost in the white, wanted and needed the black mask. Needed to draw deep on the sweet dark promise of the mask. Needed to suck on the dark life inside, needed the dark infusion to balance the white confusion that suffocated and took him deeper, away, out, from all he knew.

Inside the white, a part of him, buried deep, knew he was losing his mind. Knew that the white illusion, that was growing inside, was no more than that, an illusion.

Like her.

Why, did it all come back to her. Why did she fill his mind. Obscure his thoughts.

He was the man in black. He feared nothing.

Only the white.


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.

thirtyfive | fiftytwo