Tag Archive | darkness

Short Story: Dark

Story prompt: The story’s protagonist is female and an artist. Darkness plays a significant part in the story. The story is set in a nursery in the present. The story is about discovery.

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As the setting sun glowed red, she finished adding touches to the fabric and started cleaning up. She preferred to work while it was daylight, so the sun’s demise was her prompt to put things away. In the northern states, the sun stays up very late in the summertime. It was almost nine o’clock as the radiant orb sank through the haze on the horizon. It was still a good half an hour until dark, but the mosquitoes tend to like dusk and dawn for their foraging, so unless you like the sticky feel and chemical scent of insect repellent (and she didn’t), it is best to let them find another food source.

She had learned that many places don’t have screens on the windows – her first apartment in Chicago was a revelation. It was a third floor walkup in an older building with a grand marble staircase leading up from the ground floor. There were no screens and no air-conditioning, so she kept the windows open and propped a fan in one to try to move the sweat-soaked air into an illusion of coolness. The only bugs she had to worry about were the cockroaches that marched incessantly from the neighboring kitchen through the cracks in the boards into her space. She killed as many as she could personally. She put down a border of boric acid around the entire perimeter. She bought ant and roach spray and used it generously. (Many years later a new fragrance would be released that reminded her of the roach spray – and the scent would take her back to that summer in Chicago. She surmised that the women who wore the fragrance had never had to fight cockroaches personally.)

Back inside her screened porch, she sat in the swing and contemplated the growing darkness. Listening to the crickets and frogs waking. Watching the stars in ones and twos become uncountable in short order. The nursery spread out from her back porch in all directions. Trees to the north so they wouldn’t shade the smaller plants. Pots of fragrant flowers, herbs and tomatoes on tables closer to her house.

The fireflies were rising like little stars themselves. She had always been fascinated by them. Their mysterious light glowing and throbbing in the dark. She remembered a trick she had heard an old farmer tell about many years ago and grabbed a sweater and her keys. She pulled her pickup close to the backyard and turned the headlights on bright. After a few minutes she turned the lights off again and watched from the cab.

It only took a moment of darkness as she held her breath… and then she discovered the old farmer was right. Every firefly in the yard simultaneously lit and went dark in unison. Hundreds of little glowing bugs synchronized all across the landscape. She sighed with pleasure.

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With thanks for the story prompt to The Speculative Fiction Muse http://www.katfeete.net/writing/specfic.php

And to my writing partners, Mary C Sutton and D Anthony Brown danthonybrown.me for the support and the laughs.

What do you think? Did I honor the spirit or the letter of the writing prompt? Enter your thoughts in comments below.

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Voodoo Doll

Last night it happened again. Every nerve in my body fired at a different time and for a different reason. An itch here. A pang there. A cramp. A twinge. A poke. After four hours I swore someone had a voodoo doll of me and just kept poking it and twisting it so there was no way I could get comfortable.

I could blame the invisible aliens like they had in Star Trek Voyager where only 7 of 9 could see them torturing and experimenting on her crew mates.

It may be ghosts or otherworldly beings trying to get my attention. Problem is, I’m much more receptive to them when I get at least halfway toward a sleeping state.

And it always stops at dawn. As soon as the light comes I can sleep easily and then the alarm goes off and I drag my weary self into the day.

Mom says it’s because she worked nights while she was pregnant with me. So I am programmed to be awake at night and sleep during the day.

It doesn’t help. I can be dog tired and still unable to sleep. Some nights even sleeping pills don’t work. And I rotisserize and dream about sleeping.

I wonder what it would be like to sleep undisturbed from night until morning. Actually, lately I wonder what it would be like to just sleep undisturbed for more than two hours.

Story-A-Day Challenge Post 5: The Ring

She killed the engines allowing drift and gravity to pull the ship into the outer ring of the space station. She pulled together her equipment and costuming and entered the air dock.

Looking out the viewer she was struck again by the darkness of space, which is only broken by points of light. The space station was also dark with only enough light to keep visitors and staff from running into walls or each other. She followed the curve of the outer wall around to the main passageway to the inner ring. Entered the main terminal through the bioscanner ring, which validated her identity and her permission to be on the station.

This space station was referred to as Brachynexus Terminus V. Not terribly creative, but functional in that it referred to the station number and gave a rough orientation in the galaxy from Helios 1 and its third planet, ignominiously named “Earth.”

Sometimes she worked with the local replicators and holographic projectors, although in this case she was not familiar with their systems and since they seemed to be conserving power, she felt more secure carrying her gear. At least then she knew what she had to work with and she could generate enough energy from her pocket pack to manage her performances for the evening.

As she reached the hub, she found the requisite directioning personnel to tell her where to go and she proceeded down yet another dark corridor to the distraction center. These centers were designed to provide station personnel with entertainment and other means to distract themselves from being stuck in a space station millions of miles from the nearest inhabited planet. Since there is no such thing as being “off duty” when you are this far from the nearest colony, there were always station staff entering and leaving based on the current need for their services.

The first biped she encountered was female.

“Do you come here often?”

“No, it’s my first time on this station.”

“What would attract you to this bleak outpost?”

“Work.”

“They must pay you well. Do you offer androgenic tension relief?”

“No and no.

“Then what do you do?”

“You’ll see soon enough. Although a quick search of the universal tracker would give you the basics. Now could you please point me to the central emination point.”

“It’s right over there.

“Thanks.”

She set up her equipment and quickly changed her costume. Then she tapped into the ship’s communication center so that everyone would be able to hear her voice and anyone who was near a monitor would be able to see her, too.

“Hello everyone! My name is Desdemona and I will be your storyteller for this period.”

All around her glowed a ring of light that attracted them like moths. They walked, ran, stumbled and fell under her spell. She brought them to a different place and made them forget their dark circles.

Then she got in her ship and went to the next station. Spreading the light…

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With thanks to The Speculative Fiction Muse http://www.katfeete.net/writing/specfic.php

Story-A-Day Challenge is courtesy of Forward Motion for Writers http://www.fmwriters.com/

And to my writing partners, Mary C Sutton and D Anthony Brown danthonybrown.me for the support and the laughs.

Darkness

The nightmare is always the same – I am in the dark and I cannot summon the light. The light switches don’t work. The daylight is gone. It’s twilight and getting darker. Soon I will be unable to see…

Insufficient Illumination. Inadequate Luminescence. Not enough LIGHT! It is so easy to let the darkness seep in. To let it color the world.  Bitter, lonely, tortured darkness doesn’t really suit my personality. So I keep it confined and when it manages to seep out, I seek out the light.

Most recently I compared the muddy chocolate ooze at the bottom of my hot cocoa to the darkness in my soul – kind of sweet and gooey. That’s my kind of darkness – tempered with sweetness (and chocolate).

With thanks to Scott Adams for Dilbert and Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light who first appeared in this strip <a href=”http://dilbert.comhttp://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1989-05-03/” title=”Dilbert.com”><img src=”http://dilbert.com” border=”0″ alt=”Dilbert.com” /></a>

and to my friend David http://danthonybrown.me/ for the inspiration…