Phantasmagoria

The sun sunk low in the sky as she closed her eyes. Down, down, down, she fell – sucked into the deepest sleep. The desire to submit was too overpowering, so she let the darkness take over her body and mind.

As she allowed the feeling to sweep across her, she felt the sweetness of surrender. But as the darkness strengthened its hold, a chill ran up her body. The darkness moved swiftly upwards, paralyzing her legs and sliding around her torso, before creeping to her face, dowsing her in coldness. She tried to open her eyes but found they were shut tight. She opened her mouth to scream, but the darkness poured in, suffocating her as it wrapped around her like a shroud. The increasing fear forced her to try and pull herself up, but her frozen legs caused her to stumble onto her knees. Determined to escape, she began to crawl forwards. She reached out but there was nothing there. And all the while she could feel the darkness gnawing inside her, obliterating everything she knew of herself. She sobbed at the knowledge of this loss, crawling on. But it was hopeless. With every small movement forward, she was diminishing. Everything she had been was lost.

And once again, she fell. What was left of her once beautiful body disintegrated and began dissolving into the ground like grains of salt. There was nothing of her left. Everything was still and empty and gone. All but her heart; now that the darkness had taken all, it pulsed with a delicate light.

Very slowly her heart began to pull up each grain and rebuild her bit by bit. At first only the roots of her formed, but gradually it refashioned a new body quite exquisite. As her body took shape, she began to flinch with pain, as with the addition of each grain she felt the searing lack of all the others. But she knew the work must continue. She knew one day she would be all that she had been before and more.

The last grains to be added were those in her eyes. Through the blackness, the soft pulsing light illuminated an unending stretch of barren land. Though she had no idea where she was, she was no longer afraid. She looked upwards and saw black crows swooping above her. Ominous and foreboding, and yet the clear caw-caw of the birds seemed to be leading the way. She could make her way home.

For the last time, she fell. She yielded to a gentle soothing sleep and let the goodness restore her completely. When she woke dreamy and dazed, she smiled at her follies. She was bathed in dazzling sunlight and realised what her heart had known fully – the darkness had all been hers.

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Copyright 2018 Joon Haque. All rights reserved.

(First published in Fault Magazine 2013. Image by Robert Nilsson)