“Why, hello there.” – Short Story

I make my way in the darkness slowly. It is pitch black. I keep one foot ahead at a time. My hands are stretched in front as I gingerly test the floorboards with each step I take. My heart is pounding hard in anticipation of the danger that lures around me. I make my way, with no light to guide me forward. It is as good as if my eyes were shut. Such darkness? Not even a star in the sky, that is if there was a sky above me.

There is no sound.

No noise at all.

Not one word…

Not even the rustling of leaves, or chirping of birds, or insects sweeping past. Nothing at all. None of the whisperings my heart was expecting in situations like these. Damn it, even the wooden floor wasn’t creaking! I am beginning to hear my own thoughts. Maybe I have gone deaf somehow. How can there be such dead silence around me?

“Why, hello there.” A voice is heard, startling me to my very core.

“Hi. I’m here!” I call out, waving my hand in response. I stop when it occurs to me that nothing is visible anyway.

“What are you here for?” the voice booms. It is an omnipresent sort, echoing from all around me. I couldn’t pinpoint its source even if I wanted to.

“I don’t know,” I answer honestly. For all I know is that I woke up this way, lost in the mind-numbing blackness.

“What do you want from me?” the voice asks, in a non-threatening tone. I maybe scared out of my wits with my surrounding, but the voice managed to calm down my racing heart. It reminds me of a long lost friend.

“I don’t know really. I am stuck.”

“Stuck?”

“Yes, stuck. I don’t know what to do. I can’t see anything. There is no light ahead. I don’t know where to go from here.”

“How do you feel?”

“Helpless, to be honest. I don’t know how I got here in the first place. How do I get out of this now? Is there a way out at all?”

“Have you left like this before?” the voice asks, empathy oozing out of every word.

“A lot lately,” I confess, trying to avoid where my thoughts were heading.

“So, you have been stuck before?” The question sends my mind racing to the events of last month. That fateful dark night was similar to this one, but with a starry sky above, a dimly lit road ahead and two empty bottles of wine at the backseat. It was a night of heartbreak, of frustration and of regretful decisions.

“Yes, I have. Countless times.”

“When was the last time you were stuck like this?”

The sound of those screeching tyres, the burnt smell that engulfed my nostrils, the scream that shattered my eardrums that night and all my dreams thereafter, the splash of blood on my windscreen that trailed down into my soul, staining my conscience – everything came rushing back to me just then. I loosened my collar and answered, “A month back.”

“What did you do then?” the voice asks. I hate it for asking the very thing that had bothered me for weeks.

“I ran,” I answered in a whisper.

“Louder,” the voice rebuked.

“I ran ok? I ran, and ran, and ran,” I screamed back.

There was a moment of deafening silence before the voice asked, “What now?”

There was no judgment in its tone, not a hint of reproach. “What now, I ask?”

I sighed and answered, “I am tired now. Tired of running.”

“What will you do now?”

I bit my lower lip and answered, “Something that I should’ve done a long time ago.”

There was a burst of light and the sound of curtains being pulled away. My eyes flinched in defense as I tried opening them.

“Wake up honey. Your tea is getting cold,” my wife informed me as she removed the covers aside and placed the bed tray with a steaming cup of tea and a plate of homemade biscuits. The morning newspaper lay by the side of the tray.

“What are you going to do today?” my wife asked as the headline caught my eye.

No leads in hit-and-run case.

“Something that I should’ve done a long time ago.”

 

 

 

 

Image copyright with Amanda-Sage

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