There is a common misconception that the night is absolute, but there is depth to darkness. It’s stunning how it can come in a variety of shades, a neverending spectrum of shadows. I often escape into them. Something comes over me, and darkness will spill out of my sternum. I get stuck in a trance, trying to understand and discover the subtleties of black. I’m always trying to uncover the meaning of each color. There has to be meaning, right? I’m not too sure that matters much anymore. The darkness always blinds my vision.
I don’t know how I came to be at this particular shade, but here I am. It’s the darkest shade I have come across in centuries, and I cannot remember the last time I’ve seen my hands. It’s a shame. I’ve missed having a sense of mortality. A sense of feeling alive. A use for a body. Breathing, eating, and touch. Right now, I merely exist encapsulated in the shadows, floating into an abyss.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore the shadows. The night lives inside of me, and I am the night. However, I’ve been wrapped up in the folds of darkness for so long I’ve forgotten the importance of balance. The night needs the day.
I couldn’t tell you what drove me to these depths. I find it maddening how deep I have gone and have nothing profound to show for it. Hidden in the night, it’s what I do. It takes little for me to get lost and spiral through the shades. I crave it. I swam deep to get away, as I often do in times of pain. However, now I find myself hoping for a sliver of light or a twinkling star, anything to help me break out of my own chambers.
I miss feeling alive. I miss my children.
And what bothers me the most is that I cannot remember why I had banished the light. I cannot remember the events leading up to my spiral. The only thing I can remember is how I felt, the rage. Rage took over my will, and my thoughts ran wild in a realm of delusion. My chest ruptured, and an inferno of darkness coiled out from within me, shattering the light. There is comfort in the dark. It’s why I seek it. It’s why others, at times, seek me. Too much of the day can be as bad as too much night. It’s the balance that works.
I’m not sure who was there or why my anger took over. I can remember only the feeling. It has haunted me and chased me into this dark space. I was sinking deeper and deeper within. I know I thought about how I wanted to exile day for all of eternity. How I wanted the night to dominate the land, but that’s the rage speaking.
I’ve been floating here in the darkest of the night, trying to forget the fire. Something remains burning within my ribcage, my heart no doubt blackened and scarred. However, I cannot deny it does hurt less now. Scar tissue, most likely, but I am not convinced infernos ever fully heal.
I know I lack control over my emotions at times. Explosive. Intense. However, for as dangerous as my rage is, my joy is equally powerful. Emotions are my power and my weakness. Just like night and day. Black and white.
I decide to plant my feet, force my blood to pump and pound, my muscles to constrict and contract. There is an ache in my knees and weight in my head, throbbing pains. My physical body has not been used in some time, and it howls for me to continue to drift amongst the shadows. Why ache when I can swim? But I know the clock hands have traveled far too many rotations. Too many timelines have come and gone without my knowledge. Something is calling for me, and I feel drawn to shift through the shadows and leave. It’s time.
I’ve weakened during my retreat. My rule of the night is pathetic. I’ve allowed for too much night to pour out, and it fears to go back in. It fears the unknown. It cannot protect me while trapped inside my bones.
Yet, as I command for the night to evacuate back within, it does follow suit. In a slow and dreadful manner, it flees into my chest. It breeds a fury with the knowledge that I am not what I used to be. How have I gotten so weak? Why do I struggle to contain what is me? The night is mine to control.
The shades of black absorb into me, and I wait, impatient and irritable. Stretching my hands and feet, I remember how to use them. I can feel the stiffness that has built up, and it dawns on me that I am unsure where I’ll be. Where am I once I find the light? I sincerely cannot remember.
As the shades sink away, I can hear the screams and cries of the unknown, the sound of rushing water, and I can feel the wetness of my feet. A spark of remembrance spawns in my head. I had been seeking the pain of others to compare to my own.
With the night almost gone, I see that much of the darkness surrounding me is not of my doing. As the veil lifts, I stand in the rapid waters of the Cocytus river. Water and arms reach for my shins, and I look down to greet their flails and kick them back to where they belong. The howls of depraved souls is a dead giveaway that I must be in the Underworld. Mortals typically scream in silence, souls howl.
I feel isolated, but I know I am not alone. There is no indication of why I stand here, but here I am.
The souls trapped in the river, seeking my hand to help lift them out of their dark, rapid waters. They can sense I have done this on my own, but that is not what I am. I am not their savior. I am merely a survivor of my own drowning waters. It’s up to them to survive on their own.
I must leave this place. Something is calling me.