Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Into the darkness

Tommy stopped on the threshold. A dim light poured out from the half-closed door. It was not enough to illuminate the black corridor ahead. The darkness seemed to eat it all, and the floor disappeared in an obscure nothingness just inches beyond his feet.
Don't be afraid, mum always said. Don't be afraid: there are no monsters in the dark, the light lacks but everything else is just the same. Don't be afraid.
But the darkness was just ahead of him, untouchable, and Tommy wasn't able to make a single step. She might be right, sure. No monsters.
But how can he know?
In the darkness there can be anything. A trapdoor. A killer. A vampire. And things far worse. Things that cannot be named, those things that jump and crawl into every night from the beginning of the world.
Children know this. Children are not like the grown-up boys, eager to launch themselves into the uncertain and the unknown. Children are fragile, and they know it very well. Children are afraid.
And Tommy hesitated on the threshold, and only the knowledge that he must go on and reach the end of the corridor, that it was what they expected from him, kept him from running away.
He froze, and withheld his breath. Was it a noise? There was a noise, ahead? Something in the darkness?
I have been bad, he thought. If I would have been a good boy now I wouldn't be so afraid.
The noise, or the feeling of a noise, again.
He sharpened his eyes, but the long corridor was a pit of blackness. Nothing could be seen in it, and unspeakable horrors were lurking in its deeps.
He wanted to run away. He wanted to escape. He wanted to have been a good boy, or to be one of those mighty heroes of the fantasy tales.
But he was not one of them, and his legs were now heavier than concrete, struck in the floor. Just like sinking in the mud of a putrid swamp.
A noise, again.
No mistake.
Something was coming.
Again. Louder.
Coming this way.
Big. Something big.
Steps are coming this way.
Heavy, forceful.
Steps are coming nearer.
They are near.
Very near.
Too much near.
He wanted to scream.
He wanted to say "I am a good boy", also if it was a lie.
He wanted to cry mercy.
He wanted to cry forgiveness.
But his mouth was dry, spitless.
His legs like deadwood.
And, suddenly, something big, huge, enormous came out of the darkness and stopped in front of him.
His heart stopped.
Then he rose his head and saw, in the dim light just outside the threshold, his father's face.
Smiling at him.
And stretching his forceful, huge hand towards him.
Tommy felt the knot inside him melt away. No matter if he hasn't been a good boy. No matter if horrors lurked in the darkness. He was now with his father, and with him he can go anywhere.
He took the hand that was given to him, and stepped out along that corridor that now seemed not so dark.

The surgeon sighed. The pen worked badly and the writing was blotted. "Okay, let's see. Hour of death...8:35 PM. What was his name?
"Thomas" said the nurse, looking at the still face of the old man. It was white and tense in what could be a last spasm, or perhaps a smile.

Original text here

1 comment:

NightOwl87 said...

Thanks to have written this post and double thanks to have translated it.
It's wonderful! I think it's a good example to look at death from a good point of view.