Child of Darkness

by Katherine Sperry

The first thing the boy saw when he opened his small, beady eyes was darkness. His voice wailed out loudly, echoing and ricocheting like a bullet in the empty tunnel. He had no memory of who he was or where he was. The warmth of a mothers welcoming arms was unknown to him, the darkness was his mother and the cold of it swaddled and comforted him. The silence was his father, a stern hand and a quiet reminder.

And so the boy grew, living off of what his roaming hands found in front of him. As the years passed, he knew the tunnel backwards and forwards. He knew the safe areas to drink and consume. He spoke only to Echo, his brother, in his own warbled language learned from the cooing and rumbling of his mother. Life was peaceful. But one day, out of the blue, his father spoke. The moment the sound of his fathers voice reached his ears, the boy felt it tremble through his body. He collapsed to the floor, overwhelmed by the breaking of his fathers incessant silence. A cry fell from his mouth.

That was the day his mother died.

All in one sudden moment, the boys world was torn apart. He was blinded, his sight wiped clean. All he saw was white. He felt the greatest amount of fear that he had ever felt in his entire life. The intensity of his fear made him clutch his shaking hands to his head and rock back and forth. All that he had known, all that he had grown up with, was snatched out from under his blind feet.

No longer did he feel the comforting cold embrace of his mother. In place of her arms was a blinding contrast of white, unfamiliarly warm. His father seemed to be screaming in agony. A moan of terror escaped his lips. Then, his fathers voice split into many. The sound of a foreign language made the boy lift his head. He heard the thudding of footsteps and he trembled again.

Over the years, all the boy had heard was the sound of his own footsteps. The sound of many, so varied in their volume and strength, overwhelmed him. His senses heightened due to his temporary blindness, he could smell the different odors of these intruders. He could smell an unfamiliar scent, like the air down in the tunnel but lighter, around him as well.

He heard footsteps stop near him. He froze. A silence overtook the tunnel. The intruders didnt mutter a word or even shuffle their feet. Then there was a whisper that broke the silence. It was so soft that the boy thought that maybe it was just a pebble falling in the tunnel but then the tunnel exploded in sound. The intruders all started to talk at once. Their voices sounded hurried and desperate. Soft footsteps split off from the group and stopped in front of him. The boy shrunk back, only to hit a wall. He was cornered.

Slowly, his vision was starting to come back, but instead of blackness, shapes started to blur. He saw the blur in front of him reach toward him and he started. The blur spoke, its voice comforting. It was higher in tone than the rest of the voices. To the boys surprise, he felt himself calm. The voice seemed almost familiar. The blue, now starting to become more solid, touched his hand. The warmth of it spread through his body.

The blue was now starting to form details and the first thing the boy saw was the intruders blue eyes. They were gazing into his. He marveled at his new sigh and at this unfamiliar being. Was this what he looked like? The next that came into focus was the beings mouth that was showing its teeth and curved upwards. The gesture did not strangely seem hostile. The boy actually felt himself return it, though a little awkward in his movement. Water slipped from the beings eyes and the boy touched it curiously. The being wrapped its arms around the boy and for the first time he felt warm. It spread from the being all throughout his body. The mysterious water started to leak from the boys eyes and dropped down into the murky water of the tunnel, purifying the murky loneliness with the pure warmth he felt at that moment.

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