“I can’t.”

The tears cascaded down her cheeks. She grasped the front of her navy blue T-shirt taking deep breaths, in and out, in and out. Her head was swimming and  the room was beginning to blur into nothing but a melting water color. Her knees gave out and she hit the ground. She tried to even out her breathing and slow her heart beat, the last thing she wanted to do was pass out right now.

She let go of her shirt and splayed her fingers on the ground below her. She scraped her nails over and over on the hard floor wishing she could make some type of mark in the hardwood. She couldn’t even make a knick let alone a scratch to mark her presence, to mark her pain and her complete and utter desolation. The world swam before her as if she was on the front of a ship being tossed around at sea. She knew she should want the whole thing to end, knew she should want the world to right itself but she just couldn’t bring herself to care.

Something should matter to her right now. Nothing was penetrating her pain, her completely hallowed out self. Everything had slipped through her fingers in a matter of minutes. She knew this pain well yet the desperation and hopelessness never got easier to handle.

Her head was light as air, and her neck rolled to the side as she fell to the ground like a rag doll. She curled up into the fetal position and let it all go. She didn’t try to breath or stop the sobbing. She didn’t try to tame the world around her, make it come back into a solid comprehensible reality. The room was nothing but waving lines and colors now peppered with black dots that were growing and expanding.

She saw the dots taking over the scenery in front of her. She knew she was going to succumb to the darkness any moment now. She knew she couldn’t hold on any longer. She didn’t care, she didn’t even want to try.

With one last whimper she let go. Black clouded over her vision and her body went still. She sank into a beautiful unconsciousness.

She opened her eyes, closed them and slowly pried them apart once again. Nothing had changed. She was in complete blackness. She stood up, rubbed her eyes, expecting to wince at the rawness but her eyes didn’t even sting a little bit. She pulled her hands down to examine them they were smooth and unblemished. There were no read marks from rubbing them together, no crescent shaped scratches or bruises from clenching them too tightly. There was no haze in her head no dizziness threatening to throw her to the floor.

She stood up looked down and instantly felt like she was going to return to the ground. Lying curled up in a ball at her feet was herself. She knew that dark brown tangled mess of hair. She knew that skinny barely shaped body, it could not be anyone else. She knelt down and tried to find a pulse to feel some warmth coming off her completely still form. She found nothing it was like touching a statue, completely cold and hard.

She stood up and rubbed her face over and over again. This was not real. Just some horrible dream from her exhausted and saddened mind. She was just hallucinating, she had to snap out of it.

She jumped up and down trying to get some blood flooding into her head. Nothing changed. She kicked her still form, nothing happened. She pinched and slapped her dead self, still nothing. She screamed at the top of her voice, stomped the ground and bellowed like a dinosaur, nothing. The darkness didn’t ebb and her dead body still didn’t spring to life or gain any type of warmth.

“Help,” she whimpered though knew that wouldn’t do anything either. She was utterly alone.

She took two steps to her right, intending to walk around until she found some sign of life or something other than her own dead body and utter darkness, when a flicker of light caught her eye.

At first she thought it was just her desperate mind messing with her but then it shone again brighter and more intense. It was about a hundred feet away, a ring of light that couldn’t be coming from anything bigger than a 60 watt bulb. It would glow as bright as it could then fade away. A minute later it would brighten once again then fade.

She had no idea what was over there, if she would be walking to her death or to her salvation. Hell, it could still be an act of her imagination. She didn’t care she needed something other than to stand next to a dead form of herself.

She left herself behind without a glance and walked quickly to where the light was coming to life and slowly dying. She reached it just as it went into its faded moment. She waited, rocking on her feet,  for the light to return and show her something, anything. The light glowed brightly, making her blink tears from her eyes before she could truly focus. She caught sight of what was in the ring of light just as it began to dim again. She let out a groan.

Lying in a curled ball was another body. She knelt down, and carefully removed the hands from the face and she let out a scream. It was her own face, only what appeared to be ten years older.

“What?” She fell back onto her heels, staring at the lifeless face before her. Was she really seeing what she thought she was seeing? Could her present age self really be lying a mere hundred feet away? She felt her head beginning to spin and ache.

She had understood her present form, it was who she was when she had collapsed. But this? This made no sense. Why would she dream up a dead form of her older self? She stood up and quickly backed away. The light was no longer growing and fading. It was hovering on the edge of dying. Just a low warm glow that was getting dimmer and dimmer each second that passed.

She retreated back into the darkness. She didn’t go back to her other self, she just wanted to get as far from these eerie beings as she could. She just wanted to wake up. Heart aching pain was better than whatever this was.

Her foot hit something hard making her fall backwards, hands barely catching her from smacking her head into the hard floor. Her legs were draped over whatever had tripped her, something cold and hard. She quickly scooted backwards on her hands, freeing her legs. She curled her feet underneath herself, terrified to take a closer look at the obstruction.

Her gut told her exactly what it was. She felt it in her blood, tingling though her veins. He heart beat sped up and her head got tight and hazy. She crossed her arms over her chest and tried to get the haunting faces out of her head.

She knew she had to look no matter how much it scared her. She couldn’t just sit here, staring, forever. She crawled forward and grasped the arm of the small body. She kept her eyes closed as she removed the arm and revealed the face.

Her heart sank directly into the heels of her feet as she opened her eyes. She knew this face, she had seen this face so many times before, her ten year old self. Her small little body was wrapped tightly into the now familiar ball, curled into itself, completely disconnected from the world. At first it just looked like she was hiding, until you saw the slackened face and dead eyes.

“I don’t understand,” she sobbed. She gently replaced the small hands over the young child’s eyes.

“Why?” she cried. She wanted to run, hide in some corner or hit a wall and just completely crumple into nothing but a heap. But she had no direction, no clue as to where to go or what to do. She knew what would happen if she kept aimlessly wandering around this graveyard, she would keep finding these things. Dead forms of herself, forms that never had a chance, or ones that had a chance and wasted them.

“Can’t I save them?” she asked the darkness. No grand voice or ghostly form came out to respond. No one showed up with a full satisfactory explanation, she got nothing but silence.

crying-out-in-darkness-300x203“I can’t,” she whispered. She couldn’t handle this, this failure, it was hitting too far deep down. Down in that hallow part of her, that part that had given up long ago. She stood up and began backing up, foot over foot until she stumbled and fell to the ground once again. She laid on her back, looking at the darkness above her, feeling a strange cool calm stealing over her.

The black was so comforting, all consuming. It was like looking into space but without the shining stars making you feel less alone. It was just absolutely nothing. No tears, no hurt, no fear, no screams, no nothing. A silent stillness that held out wide welcoming arms to her.

She pulled her legs up and tucked them into her side. She curled her arms around her legs and laid her head sideways. She watched the dark coming closer and closer. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around her head.

Posted on August 10, 2013, in Short stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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