Remember how I told you about this story contest? Well, I didn’t win (big surprise; I have horrible contest luck and there were lots of entrants), but I am very happy with the story I wrote and for the first time, perhaps, didn’t feel like any less of a writer or beat myself up after reading the winning entries (you can find them on Endever’s Facebook page here). Anyway, so after all that work, I still wanted my story to be shared. So here you go.
Where I Belong
Darkness. The eternal gaping mouth, stretching to devour me. I can’t let it catch me. Not that I can stop it. I can’t fight it, but only run. Forever.
I stagger into the street of a hole-in-the-wall town. It is the only one for uncounted miles, besides one vital exception. I stop, clutching my knees as I fight to keep my ribs together against the wracking breaths. I glance over my shoulder. The sky is dimming with dusk.
Blackness like clouds rise into my vision behind me. They are fingers, stretching to catch me up and devour me. They do not hurry. They don’t need to.
Already I’m turning, sobbing for breath. How long have I been running? A day? A year? It doesn’t matter. Only staying out of reach of that darkness matters. I swipe the sweat from my eyes and ignore how slowly the town is crawling by. Lazy town. Why won’t it pass by faster when I need it to the most?
I force my burning legs towards the sunset. I had to reach the City of Light. I can’t face another night out here. And tonight, there would be no street lamp shields and no flashlight swords. My flashlight is dead in my pocket and I am alone. So terribly alone.
“There is no darkness. You’re seeing things. Relax, and we’ll find you a counsellor.” I push my best friend’s voice from my head. She was wrong. My parents hadn’t denied the darkness when it came after them. That probably saved them. I close my mind’s eye against the image struggling to be remembered: when the darkness took my best friend. I shiver, driven on. I can’t let that happen to me.
My hair slaps into my mouth as I snake a look back. The darkness is closer. Steadily, inexorably, the darkness is reaching for me.
“You can’t have me!” I wail, hoping it’s true. I don’t have the magic of my mother or the strength of my father. I cannot fight this darkness. Only run.
I strain my eyes, searching for the city. It has to be there. I must be inside it before nightfall, I must be!
The sun is a red flame on my back, scarcely there. Ahead in the swooping night, I glimpse it. The City of Light, all but invisible to my mortal eyes.
A sob is torn from me. I turn to face the darkness. It is almost upon me.
“You can’t have me!” I shout, knowing it’s true. “I belong to the City of Light!”
Did the darkness recoil a little? I charge on, fueled by hope. I’m almost there. The darkness roars, rearing up to strike. The gates ahead open. I am inside. I am safe. The darkness cannot reach me. The gates close. Looking up, I see two people I know.
“Mother! Father!” For once, I don’t try to hide the tears that insist on blooming in my eyes. I am home.
This is where I belong.
I had more to this story originally (an extra 200 words kind of more), but the 500 word limit really made it hard. Since I normally write all-knowing, and in the past-tense, this story format kind of came out on accident. But it seemed to suit, so, whatever. 😛