The Endarkening

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Sometimes the darkness and I sit under trees and try to become enlightened.

Or, well, I do. The darkness looks at me sitting cross-legged under the tree, and it says “I am already endarkened.”

I close my eyes and try to breathe and be still.

The darkness roams around the trees. I hear its claws scraping against bark. Then I feel the trunk of my tree vibrating, and I hear small branches snapping and leaves shaking. It is climbing the tree I am sitting under.

I say “How am I supposed to become enlightened if you won’t leave me in peace?”

The darkness hisses from the branches above me, but the noise stops. I think it has settled down.

Time passes.

More time passes.

I sit with my eyes closed and I feel a slight breeze and I feel the trunk of the tree against my back and I feel the dirt beneath me and I feel the sap running through the tree and the worms moving in the earth and the birds flying through the sky and then there is no me, there is just the tree and the dirt and the sap and the worms and the birds and the sky.

“Worms are going to eat you one day, you know.”

I open my eyes and look up above me, and there is the darkness in its gatorskin, its red eyes peering down at me through the branches and leaves.

I say, “Yes, I know, and that is okay.”

The darkness flips over, and I am reminded that it is not really a gator, that it just borrowed a gatorskin, and that there is nothing inside the skin, nothing to weigh down the branches until they break and fall on my head. There is nothing there but an absence of light.

I am full of light.

The darkness hisses again, its words pointed at the sky.

“Do you want to know how I became endarkened?”

I am full of light and nothing can touch me because I am everything, and so I close my eyes and I say “Yes, I would like to know.”

The light disappears, and it takes the tree and the birds and the worms and the sky with it, and suddenly I am small and alone and afraid in a dark nothingness, and I am empty, and the emptiness hurts. It hurts and it hurts and I curl around the pain, but it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop.

“Let me show you”, says the darkness.

I open my eyes, and I scream.

I used to love her

Sometimes the darkness and I scream in the night.

I am nothing and the ground is nothing and the sky is nothing and the lack of things stretches on and on into infinity. I scream and I beat my fists against the nothingness but I can’t feel it. I can’t even feel my fists. I am closed in and there is no way out, no way back to the tree and the worms and the birds and the light. My heart hammers in my chest and I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe and I’m shut in and it’s dark and I’m alone and I’m nothing, and I scream.

Bones close around my wrists. I hear a familiar hissing, but there’s something else behind it.

“You can breathe. Idiot.”

I am not alone. The darkness is here, and it’s holding on to my wrists, and I can feel its finger bones.

I take deep breaths, and I try to focus on getting my heart rate down. My hands are shaking and my legs feel like water, but I can breathe.

The darkness is sitting cross-legged in front of me. I look at it. It is not wearing the gatorskin. It is not wearing any skin. This is where it lives. This is where it wears its real self, its gray bones and its red red eyes.

Its voice is a hiss like the gatorhiss but it’s not the same. It speaks again, and there is death in that hiss.

“Welcome to the endarkening.”

It stands up, its finger bones still on my wrists, and it pulls me up with it.

My vision goes gray and blurry. When the gray blur clears I see the darkness standing in front of me, and behind it is a vast darkling plain.

The darkness drops my left wrist. My skin prickles where the gray bones had been.

It says “Come on” in its hiss of death, and it turns and stalks off into the nothingness, still holding my right wrist, dragging me along behind it.

But I had to kill her

Sometimes the darkness and I talk about nothing.

“Where are we?”, I say.

“What is this place?”, I ask.

“This conversation is very one-sided”, I observe.

The darkness stalks ahead of me, one skeletal hand still wrapped around my wrist.

The darkling plain has grown trees. And rocks. And a horizon. These things were not here before, I know. Before it was a vast nothingness.

“Why are there things here now when there wasn’t anything before?”, I…query. Query is a nice word.

The darkness stalks some more, and I stumble along behind it. I am tired. I want to take a break. I want to catch my breath.

“Don’t make me get querulous”, I admonish.

The darkness stops suddenly, and I bump into it. The gray bones are hard and smooth and cold.

It doesn’t say anything. I want it to say things. I can think of so many pretty ways to describe saying things.

It turns its skull towards me. Its red eyes burn.

It hisses at me.

“Do you want to lament? Do you want to moan? Do you, perhaps, want to gush?”

I look into the red eyes, and I know that by “gush” it means “spout fountains of blood”, so I say “No, I don’t want to gush.”

“Good.”

It turns and jerks me forward again. No rest for the verbose, I suppose.

The darkness says, “We are in Reality.”

The darkness says, “It is what lies behind everything you see.”

The darkness says, “Your human brain cannot handle Reality, so it has created images for you to deceive yourself with.”

“I am going to destroy those images”, the darkness gushes.

I had to put her six feet under

Sometimes the darkness and I walk along the edge of meaning.

I look up at the trees that aren’t there, and I think.

Everything wears a skin. These trees are a skin that Reality wears. The darkness wears all sorts of skins. The worms and the trees and the sky and the birds and the dirt, from before, those were all just skins.

I look down at my arm. At my skin.

I look at the gray bones that the darkness is wearing, and I think maybe that the bones are just another skin.

Is the darkness beyond the treeskins real?

I remember the graveyard, and the darkness saying that it would flow always and cover all things.

Its grip on my wrist tightens. It speeds up, and I have to walk faster to keep up.

I don’t feel a breeze, but the branches of the trees are moving slightly. I think they’re waving goodbye.

and I can still hear her complain

Sometimes the darkness and I visit strange new worlds.

“Where are we?”, I ask. “Is this Reality?”

Perhaps my images have been destroyed, and there was always this brightness and beauty in the world. I just couldn’t see it, because I had imagined a dark monotone world for myself.

Maybe I like dark and monotone. Maybe that’s who I am. I feel itchy here, with the bright blue sky and the vivid green trees.

I use my free hand to scratch the back of my neck.

The darkness releases its death grip on my wrist. I look at it. It is still wearing the gray bones.

Surely this isn’t Reality? This is no home for the darkness. This is a home for laughing children and clapping fairies. This is a place past death.

“Is any of this here? Is this place real?”

The darkness ignores my questions. I sit on a nearby bench. The bench, at least, seems to be real.

“I thought you were going to destroy my illusions, not take me on a nice vacation.”

The darkness looks at me, finally. It doesn’t say anything.

It just barks.

going up to the spirit in the sky

Sometimes the darkness and I wander through colorful utopian landscapes which become oddly dimmer and foggier as we proceed.

I have deduced that when the darkness barked at me, it meant that we were not in Midnight Hollow anymore. And certainly we appear to be on a yellow road.

I wonder if maybe the darkness is a wizard, and we are passing through its curtain. This isn’t Reality. This is the borderland between Illusion and Reality.

The darkness is still wearing the bones. They look dark yellow in this light. Its eyes burn a deep dark red in its dark yellow skull.

It notices me looking at it.

It barks at me again.

going to go to the place that's the best

Sometimes the darkness and I bark at nothing for hours.

I follow its bones through the grass. I feel like we have been walking forever. Everything was dark, and then there were some trees, and then there was the bright happy place, and then now…

Now we bark.

The darkness just kept barking at me, so I started barking back. This seems to be the way we communicate now.

I am thinking about how its calcaneus bones look dark yellow against the lighter yellow tufts of grass when I smell barbecue.

Is there someone else here? Is there a cookout going on here in the borderlands? I wonder if the winged kittens will be there. I miss them.

I look at the darkness and bark an inquiry.

It looks back at me. It hisses “Be quiet, fool.”

We walk, and the barbecue smell grows stronger.

haha pig

Sometimes the darkness and I follow the smell of barbecue through suburban streets the color of blood.

We arrive at a giant blue pig.

The darkness stops walking. I stop too. I wonder if maybe I should ask the darkness what’s going on, or where we are, or if I should maybe bark at it again.

I think I will bark. I am so tired of asking questions. Barking is a nice change. Barking is, I think, the most logical response to this situation.

I bark. It rings out in the silent red neighborhood.

The darkness glares at me. It hisses an angry wordless hiss.

The pig oinks.

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11 Responses to The Endarkening

  1. Shannon says:

    No rest for the verbose. And at the beginning, I thought the narrator was going to overcome the darkness, being so full of light, but maybe the darkness was hiding in the light, after that, the way you said in the second part, how it likes to hide in full view on a retail shelf.

    I think a lot of people have felt that Willow Creek has no room for the darkness; it really doesn’t, yet.

    “I thought you were going to destroy my illusions, not take me on a nice vacation.”

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      I can make anything dark! 🙂 And yeah, I was poking fun at both myself and at the various ways that people make clumsy substitutions for the word “said” there. 😉

      The narrator and the darkness have a complicated relationship. 😉

      Yay thank you for the more reading and the more comments!

      Like

  2. Echo Weaver says:

    “Don’t make me get querulous”, I admonish.

    That one line grabbed the whole chapter for me. I don’t know why it made me laugh so hard. I think the dark, disturbing nature of the story makes the humor all the more powerful.

    I don’t know what to make of the blue pig. I think that might win an award for most unexpected surrealist twist in a surreal story.

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      I really do like that bit. I’m glad you liked it too. 🙂

      Haha, the pig was me wanting to play around with being able to make the yard statues as big as you want. 🙂

      Like

  3. raerei says:

    Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely. I feel like barking. (And yes, I do read your work slower. :D)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah… I’ve missed your writing. I really just need to buckle down and read it all at once, but I get lost in your words and it’s hard to move on when I still want to process everything and relish the words. No rest for the verbose. I loved that line. I chuckled at the “worms are going to eat you one day, you know” line, as if that was a veiled threat or the darkness was trying to destroy a nice moment. I physically ached when you talked about the emptiness hurting. I think we can all relate to that at some times. I loved the sitting under the trees scene at the beginning of the chapter and becoming one with nature. There is something beautiful and peaceful about sitting beneath a tree as if the world melts away with all its cares and you can just rest in sweet repose and become your true self. I love trees, if you can’t tell. The strange world was beautiful. What world did you use for that first strange world picture? I loved the effects of your pictures, especially the tree one that looks like its a photo negative. The tree branches almost looked like bone, but perhaps I’m interpreting it as such since you were just talking about the darkness and its bones. The blue pig was an interesting touch, strange and unexpected. I’m assuming you photoshopped or overlayed the image somehow because I do not recall a blue pig existing in the Sims world. Is there a particular reason you picked a pig? Am I missing some symbolism? Another great chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      *hugs you a lot*

      That pic is one of my favorites, with all the wordplay. 🙂

      I think that was just the darkness being the darkness. 😉 It likes to say things like that to the narrator.

      I know the emptiness well. I am glad it got across. *hugs you some more*

      I was thinking a bit about Buddha there maybe, with his sitting under a tree to reach enlightenment.

      You mean when I switched to Sims 4? Willow Creek – Sims 4 was new then and it only had Willow Creek and Oasis Springs. If you mean the pic after the moon, that’s Sunset Valley. It’s actually the lot that Seth and Sarah live on. 🙂

      Ooooh, I like that thought about the trees looking like bone in that pic!!!! 🙂 Very appropriate!

      Oh, the blue pig is indeed a blue pig! I was playing around with the ability to make the garden statuary as big as you want in Sims 4. So that pic is totally in-game. Then I made it all red but I erased the red layer over the pig to show the original blue. No particular reason or symbolism. I just felt like it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you’re right about the darkness just saying things to the narrator.

        You captured the emptiness perfectly.

        I didn’t realize you switched to Sims 4. I still haven’t played TS4 so I get a little lost when others reference it. Like the blue pig… I had no idea there was an option to make an item as big as you want in TS4. I would have fun with that option. I think you did too with the blue pig. The worlds in TS4 look very pretty. It’s cool that you were switching in between TS3 and TS4.

        It really did look like bone to me.

        I was thinking the blue pig could’ve represented many things, but that’s me putting my over-analyzing glasses on and reading into things.

        You talk about Seth frequently. I still have to read your other stories and I’m looking forward to it. I just have such a hard time keeping up with all the SimLit I want to read. *sigh* Someday… soon… hopefully.

        Like

        • medleymisty says:

          From here on it’s mostly Sims 4. Maybe a couple Sims 3 pics here and there. The switch to Sims 4 is actually a large part of the plot, because it means that the narrator can’t go home to Midnight Hollow and has a different skin now. The universes are all save files in the game, and the black is the space and time when the game isn’t being played. Very occasionally the player might load up Sims 3, but for the most part they’re playing Sims 4 now. As for the narrator traveling between games – hey, I have both Sims 3 and Sims 4 versions of Seth and Sarah. 😉

          TS4 is a gorgeous game, but it also has some disturbing claustrophobic elements. You’ll see those in the later chapters.

          The blue pig does show up again – well, not the physical representation, but the narrator thinks about it fairly often.

          All the Seth stuff is Sims 3, so far. And yeah – he’s my baby and I love him. I have a fair bit of non-Sims text-only stuff with him too. I kind of haven’t really been in the mental space to write him for quite some time now, though, whereas the narrator and the darkness feel right.

          Like

          • I like that… the narrator can’t go home and is in a different skin. You have such a unique way with words. I love it!

            That’s cool they moved over to TS4. The claustrophobic aspects are one of the critiques I’ve heard about the TS4 game, mostly because it’s not open world.

            I get what you mean about needing to be in the right mental space to write certain characters or stories. I’ve hit a wall with Kass’s story, and I still adore her, but I’m thinking now’s the time for a spinoff chapter to freshen things up a bit.

            Looking forward to reading more about the blue pig and the story in general.

            Like

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