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Dakness (standard:horror, 1738 words)
Author: Finn McKoolAdded: Apr 18 2003Views/Reads: 1708/991Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story about fear personified. But then, aren't they all? Needs revisions, I know. Be kind, gentle reader.

-"Don't look, don't look, 

The shadow's breathe!" 

The Cure 


-"...the darkness had borne that away, too." 

Stephen King 

Needful Things 

Shawn lay in the dark.  He hated it.  At night when he went to bed he
left a little night-light on.  In that timeless period that lay between 
the moment your head hit the pillow and the moment your mind switched 
over was agony for him.  His imagination would grant him no peace in 
this space between conscious and unconscious.  His mom said it was 
because he was a very creative and imaginative little boy.  His dad 
just said,"...he's a little pansy's what he is.  He's a damned sight to 
old to be scared of the friggin' bogeyman, he's eight years old, by 

So his mom took out the night-light.  He wasn't surprised.  His dad was
quite persuasive.  His back hand punctuated and accredited every 
argument.  When they made their arguments you could say the pint always 
struck home.  So when his mom tucked him in, her black eye swelling, 
Shawn gave no argument.  So here he lay, in the dark.  It seemed to him 
that every shadow was alive.  The little light that came from the 
streetlamp outside his window wasn't really helping.  It simply gave 
the dark stranger shapes.  However he did prefer it to that absolute 
dark in the corner, where no light reached.  He stared at that corner.  
It held his eye like a snake, ready to strike.  He had to shake himself 
awake.  He remembered what Mrs. Watts had told him. 

"Black is not a color.  Dark is not a thing," he reminded himself," They
are the absence of color and light.  They are nothing.  Nothing at all. 
 Not a..."  but they were something.  He heard a rustling sound, like a 
dozen tongues hissing and clacking.  And he heard the beat of a savage 
drum.  Not the kind the rock stars used, like the one-armed guy in Def 
Lepard, but the kind you hit with your hand.  They beat in time with 
his heart which began to quicken.  And so did they.  It not only 
quickened, it got louder.  It crescendoed from a dozen tongues to a 
score.  And from a score to a hundred, and from a hundred to a 
thousand.  The inky blackness slithered toward him with oily speed.  He 
tried to scream but couldn't.  He was too scared.  But as the darkness 
reached him, he screamed, but it was too late.  It was cut off as the 
blackness surged over him. 

Mike lay in bed next to his wife.  She had just cried herself to sleep. 
 Dear God she was weak.  It infuriated him how weak she was.  Her damn 
cryin' had kept him up and he was tempted to just jump up and scream," 
Listen, if you want to cry I will give you something to, by-God, cry 
about!" and then beat her until she couldn't cry.  But he hadn't done 
that yet.  Yet.  One day he'd finally toughen her up.  When he gave her 
her medicine to take she would do it and she would be thankful for it.  
She was such a dishrag, always had been and always would be.  She was 
going to actually let that little snot keep his frigid' night-light.  
He'd call her a whore and worse but he was a Christian.  And his son?  
Dear God his son was a pansy.  He was going to have to toughen him up 
as well. 

Then he heard the scream.  No, correction.  He'd heard part of a scream.
  If it had been a whole one he would have assumed Shawn was just being 
a crybaby and Mike would go in there and show him what happened when 
you woke up daddy.  But it was just part of a scream.  And that scared 
him, awakening some long-buried, paternal instinct.  He jumped out of 
bed.  He was sat up. 

"What's happening?"  she asked, staring at him stupidly and frightened
with her weary eyes.  Man she was useless.  He was out the door and in 
the hall and to the bedroom door before she was even out of bed.  He 
threw the door open and as the hall light softly spilled in he thought 
he'd heard some hissing curse.  He flipped the light on and the 

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