A. A Azariah-Kribbs – The Closet
I know it is alive.
Because it sleeps.
Day is when night sleeps. Daylight is cold, harsh, and clear, and lets you think; it is supposed to let you think. But darkness is self. It is It-self. It wraps and clings. It smothers. It stifles.
It must be alive.
There is no room for any being but darkness, in the dark. If it did not sleep, we might—go—out.
Sh-h. Don‘t be afraid. It may not like you, but it won‘t hurt you. Its dreams will hurt you. There are dreams that walk by day that would terrify you if they even breathed at night.
I wonder if—sometimes—they—like you—can‘t sleep.
I have looked at curtains, carpets, plaster and brick, and seen the sleeping darkness. There, in a splinter or a pulled thread, you can see the vague shapes of things you say you imagine. Imagine. No one fears imagination. They fear the dark – the living, faceless dark. I say faceless. It is faceless, in a sense. The dark has too many faces to round to one.
One of them is—
Someone is here.
You feel it. We can‘t see it. The dark is thick. It strangles. Your breathing stops, and I wish it wouldn‘t, because it is true what they say, that silence is loud, and darkness is its muse.
It suggests a whisper, a footstep. It makes the stillness ring with possibilities.
It makes you wonder.
Perhaps you shut the door. Perhaps you didn‘t. What matters is, you are afraid to look, but more afraid to turn.
Darkness must be a kind of light. It has to be. Could it be? It blinds. It tricks. It aches. The Sun can make-believe water on a bare dry road. But darkness can make- believe light.
You realize things that cannot be. I have felt many eyes that make me itch and tickle, and felt the strange color in them. There are teeth, and tongues, and long hands that grasp but never catch.
Your hands are shaking. You are shaking. I almost see it. It is only a worry that makes you hesitate, that same fear that has nibbled at you since childhood. You think it is ridiculous that it should bother you now. It‘s only the dark, it‘s only dark; and you are right.
The darkness cannot hurt you.
You open the door.
A. A. Azariah-Kribbs lives in Virginia with her Griffon, Fuffle, and her spotted frog Hardy. Her work has been featured in several venues, including Cicada and Fēlan. Her fiction is pending publication in Boston Accent Lit, Ghostlight, The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and The Donut Factory. Her blog, “Wallie‘s Wentletrap” features original speculative art and fiction.