I’m currently working towards a Certificate in Creative Writing with the University of York (Lifelong Learning). It’s a distance learning course which suits be perfectly because I can work from home around my other commitments. I completed the Core module last year and am working on Critical Analysis this year.
Last week we were asked to write no more than 500 words in response to the prompt ‘The darkness is overwhelming…’ The first idea that came to my mind was not my usual sort of thing at all, but it was a strong idea and wouldn’t quit until I’d written it. It was pretty dark, though, and I didn’t want to make that the first thing I shared with my fellow students, so I wrote something else and submitted that instead.
This is the original piece; 500 words with minimal editing. I can’t see myself expanding on this in the future, so thought I’d share it with you, Dear Reader 🙂
Trigger Warning: Suicide
I’d expected her to be more charismatic. I suppose I thought if she blazed bright enough to attract the dead, that she would be something special. The reality was that she just seemed…normal. I’d have walked past her in the street without a second glance, but tonight I’d paid £20 to sit there and hope she’d deliver a message from Toby.
I let the conversation go on around me as I cupped my empty glass. I felt out of step with the world around me, separated by my secrets.
Chelle nudged me as she got closer, I could feel the excitement rising from my colleagues. For them, this was a bit of fun, they wanted a good night out and a story to tell, nothing more. The pyschic was at the next table, touching someone’s shoulder compassionately before moving on to us.
My heart mushroomed as her inexorable gaze found me. Her smile wavered like a heat haze as our eyes met. Time slowed to detail; I saw her lips purse, her face creasing with empathy.
‘A lot of darkness,’ she said. ‘I can see you, walking into the darkness. I’m…sorry.’
Her forehead pinched itself to a frown and she took a step back, narrowing her eyes. She didn’t say another word, pressing her lips tightly together as though she was trying to keep something in. She walked off, taking the last of my hope with her.
‘Wow!’ said David, slipping an arm around Chelle’s shoulder. ‘Proof positive. She was right! You will be walking into darkness, we all will.’
‘We will?’ asked Chelle, eager to recapture her optimism after the disappointment of an aborted reading.
‘We will. Sunset was two hours ago.’
I don’t really remember the journey home, just the cold of the window pane against my cheek as the bus rumbled it’s way through the streets. Water droplets on the outside made brave starbursts of the streetlights, but the night was winning.
I was numb, empty. As last hopes go, it had been a small one but I had already learned the lesson that the size of a thing was no way to measure the loss of it.
I thanked the driver as I got off, walking away from the bright circle at the bus stop and into the shadows cast by buildings and bushes. Each step took me further into the black until I waded into a pool of it by the front door.
I went inside. I didn’t turn on the lights, I didn’t want the harshness of electricity to illuminate what I was about to do.
Everything was ready. I was prepared, because I’d known before I left tonight that if Toby couldn’t get a message to me, I would have to take one to him.
The note was on the table, next to a bottle of vodka and oh, so many pills.
Five minutes later, I closed my eyes.
The darkness overwhelmed me.