“Mornings are great for delaying afternoons.”
“It’s just something my da used to say.”
“Sounds like a wise man… not!”
“Wiser than you might think. He was a miner, my da. There were no mornings or afternoons down the pit. That’s why he said what he said. Mornings grow lighter, whilst afternoons only ever grow dark. Him and his mates never knew if they’d see the morning’s light again. The same each and every day. Makes you think.”
“Geez! And here’s you making candles for a living.”
“For da. Out of respect for him and his mates.”
“So those who fear the dark will always have a bit of morning with them.”
“Sometimes you’re deeper than I give you credit for.”
“Never as deep as them, John. Never as deep as them.”
Darkness held sway over the world, a cold an unyielding grip of frozen streams and frosted bluebells. Nothing stirred. Nothing breathed. Nothing!
Darkness smiled a perfect cosmic smile of dead stars and tumbling debris, an unseen epitaph to everything that wished to try.
Then, the dawn came. With it, hope.
The Space Between
The space between
Dark blue and black
Differing shades of forever
Where pointing fingers linger
And eyes do blink
The stuff of dreams gathering
Like nocturnal memories
No lights required
Just open minds
Stardust and magic
Little parcels of eternity
Destiny and hope
Children praying for shooting stars
Never has nothing held such value
Here, dwelling in held breaths
“There’s never been a day without darkness.”
I remember my dad’s words with a clarity not afforded much else. He’d adjusted his starched collar with one finger as he spoke them, a bead of sweat noticeable beside one eye. This was unlike him; he never got flustered.
As I’m sure you’re thinking, too, every day is followed by night, so why the need for such melodrama? Why the need for such histrionics?
Now, as the lights dim to a claret night and the fire burns behind my eyes, as bones crack and the animal appears, I understand the truth. Soon, so will you.
Why’s it in stories containing ghosts, vampires and werewolves, every torch, lantern and match will flicker out just when the hero needs illumination? Do they put it on the packet: disclaimer: matches may extinguish when most required. Do you know the answer? Because I want to see what’s biting me.
The night drips around me in liquid satin, a perfect black. I can taste its velvety texture, hear its thrumming silence, sense the still. The pause before the final breath, the hush before the breaking storm, darkness slips its fingers around my throat and squeezes with the subtle kindness of a misplaced love. I am choking. I want more.
Waking to dust mites caught in a single beam of gold, I wave the day away. Take me back, I whisper. Let me go. But the sun will not relinquish me; it never does. I pull up the covers and wait.
When you arrive all bloodshot eyes and scimitar smile, the darkness comes with you. This is your world, your eternity, and as I reveal the outline of my eager neck, I dream of it being mine too. I wait. You nod. It is.
The light drew back like a luminous tide, a flowing, undulating glow receding into endless night. The darkness pinched at light’s essence with the stubborn determination of mosquitos seeking blood. Light resisted, but not for long. I watched as the last of everything that ever had, was or would be pinged out of existence like a switched off bulb. All was dark. Nothing was everywhere and everything was nothing. Yet, where some would have despaired, I stayed strong. Moving as though through deepest ocean, I reached into the pocket I could not see, withdrew my salvation, shaking the matches as if their rattling would prove myself still alive, then lit one. In a blaze of new creation, light returned and the whole process began again. Not ideal, I know, but one way to break the oblivion.
Two in the morning and I still can’t sleep. The night stands silent bereft of even cicadas. Everything is still. My bedside alarm blinks in slow motion illuminating a small, green patch of table, then flicks to darkness. When it flicks back, you’re there. You’re always there bathed in green.