Volume One


Home is behind,
The world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows
To the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight…
Mist and twilight,
Cloud and shade,
All shall fade,
All shall fade.

-"A Walking Song"
The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien


It surrounds me, yet it is nowhere I need it to be. And to think, it all started on one night. Never in my seventeen naïve years would I have guessed that one's life could be so consumed with such blackness—much less that one could learn to withstand it. But I have. As with so many other things in this world, I am living proof against my old doubts and disbeliefs.

I've learned to live with the darkness. You could say that when one is given nothing but one thing, they must either embrace it, or give up. In this tale, I'm not fortunate enough to have that second option. Almost without knowing it, I have come to live in the darkness in what one could pass of as comfort. It doesn't exactly feel like comfort to me; it is more a…temporary feeling, like I'm meant to be dragged out of it sometime soon. So, without the second option, I've slid into the first. I've gotten used to it to the point that I don't notice it. It is my world, unbreakable, unchanging.

Well, not unchanging. That's another thing. You're faced with something that is of the exact opposite texture as your soul and, naturally, every fiber of your being protests against it. That's me and the darkness. I never thought there could be anything worse than that. However, the worst moments of my existence are when I encounter just the tiniest speck of something even more hellish than this uncomfortable dark: light. When those pinpricks of light come into view, my soul, the soul that has formed its very self around existence in the darkness, wrenches my every blood cell away, anywhere but here.

I never thought things could get any worse. They did. I never thought one could live a life of such darkness. It is just another thing I was wrong about. I never thought that I would cringe so at the sight of light, want to tear myself into nothingness the second it comes into view, to retreat back into my hole.

It is the one thing I must embrace.