The computer screen flickered off. Soon, the rest of the lights followed. One by one they flickered off, bringing the dark closer and closer. As each light flickered off one by one I felt a feeling of dread well up in my throat. Sitting there, petrified in my office chair I watched each light diminish. I watched as the light left the glass containers which held it, like a soul leaving its body. I watched as people screamed and ran. I watched paper fly through the air as many ran into puddles of light, until they too disappeared. I watched as the dark took the room, an inky blackness that filled the room like water in a tank. I watched as each person slowly disappeared into the body of darkness.
I looked down at my hands, I felt them shaking, but I could not see them. It was as if my body had left my soul floating in an ocean of black. I checked to see if my eyes were still open. I blinked, no difference. Though there was no light, there was still sound. Sound coming from every corner of the darkness. Screaming, crying, and begging. People praying to that unidentifiable entity that looked over our tiny world and its tiny people.
"Everyone shut up!" I heard myself scream, my detached voice echoing in the dark.
No one headed my advice, so I screamed again, this time I received the attention that I desired.
"Crying will not make the situation better," I shouted. An unknown person gave a small whimper from somewhere to my right. Or was it my right? Was there direction in this infinite black? What is right, when you had no idea which way was up?
"It is just a blackout. The storm probably knocked out the lights," said the darkness with the voice of one of my colleagues.
"What storm?" asked the black once again.
I heard a murmur as many of the voices talked at once. I myself turned in the general direction of the windows, or where they would be and saw nothing of the sunny day that had first filled their panes only three minutes earlier. There was no storm, there was no light, nothing but the black. I fumbled through the darkness to where the windows were and reached out my hand blindly. At first I felt nothing, then my finger came into contact with the cold surface of the glass.
"Okay, I say that we all come together in the center of the room. Let's make sure everyone is okay," said a voice from the darkness. Heroes, there were no room for them in the black.
"Yeah, that's a good move," said another voice trying to stay calm, but fear bled through his voice.
I slowly felt my way to the center of the room, where I encountered the warm bodies of all my coworkers. The stench of fear was pungent on their skin.
"Is this everyone?" asked the voice, which seemed to be from right next to my ear.
"Help!" screamed a voice from faraway.
"What was that?" asked one.
"Who's there?" screamed another voice into the darkness.
"Help!" screamed the voice again.
"Someone's hurt," whispered the voice of a women.
"Should we go to help," said another.
The group fell silent. Then, suddenly, a conversation of whispers erupted, debating the identity of the hurt party as well as the person who would go to help. They hissed and whispered, talked and talked, while the voice from the darkness continued to scream in the background.
Finally, the discussion stopped when a man volunteered to rescue the distressed party. Though there were pats on the back for the volunteer, I could hear the relief in the voices of those who were spared the job.
"Help!" came the plea once more.
"I'm coming!" shouted back the rescuer as he detached from the main group to go in search of the voice.
Minutes passed as the voice continued to plea for help, and the rescuer continued to call back reassurance. Then the reassurance stopped. The rescuer's voice had vanished, his existence in the dark blown out like a candle. However, the pleas continued to sound through the dark.
The group went back to their whispers. They debated on what happened to the heroic man. Most said that he might have fallen. But others refuted them, saying that he would call for help himself. Then as they said this another voice cried out in the black. The voice of the rescuer. Both voices together cried out for help, but none of them would return answers to our questions. Finally, after a time another brave soul perked up and volunteered to go after the two. The voice belonged to a girl this time, the intern at the office. Then, as if her bravery had kindled the fires to another's soul, a man came up and volunteered as well.
Soon, the two of them embarked from the group to search for both voices in the dark. But, as with their predecessor, the two rescuer's voice also disappeared, soon to join the chorus of pleas for help.
Two more soon volunteered to go after the four who now echoed their pleas in perfect unison through the dark. However, their courage now closer to pure desperation; to silence those voices which now induced a deep sense of dread in the souls of the group. But, those two soon were silenced as well, their voice stolen by the darkness.
Now only five remained, six taken by the black. No more volunteers came forward. The group hung in silence; that silence only punctured by the sharp pleas by those engulfed in the dark. But, weren't we all in the same boat, all surrounded by that darkness. Everything that was ours was taken from us. Our appearance, out clothes, our watches, our jewelry, everything that was ours.
But, the fear, the fear was still there. It hung in the dark, dangling in front of our faces, rubbing off into our souls. The fear was overwhelming. The dark was nothing compared to the fear that took over our surroundings. The fear slowly permeated into the deepest recesses of our minds. I slowly was going made. The pleas just continued throughout our slow deterioration.
Then, a member of our group shouted, "Stop!" he snapped like a twig, "Please Stop it, all of you shut up! Stop the voices!" He paused, then I heard him grab someone by the shirt and push him out, stumbling into the dark. "You stop the voices!" he shouted at the man, "Please!"
I could hear the man stumble around trying to make it back to the group, shouting for assistance. No one returned his cries for help, no one but the chorus of voices from the dark. Soon, the only cry for help, was the single word, joined by the voices of six others. He had been consumed.
Now, two others began to cry, to beg the voices to stop. I remained quiet. The four remaining all began the final steps in their mental collapses. The man who had pushed the man previous to his consummation, ran, his footsteps vibrating as they hit the tiled floor. He raced for where he thought was the door. We heard a thumb as he ran into the wall. For several moments there was quiet. Then the chorus chimed, joined by a new voice.
Slowly one by one, each member began to detach themselves from the rest. Slowly being pulled away by the dark.. their warmth faded into cold. The cold of dark, the cold of death. I felt it, not the cold, not the numbing cold, but instead, I felt the gentle touch of death. I hadn't screamed, I hadn't cried, but now, as I felt myself being drawn away, my soul, the only thing that was left to me was slowly being dragged away.
I wanted scream, to shout for help, but I refused to let the dark break me. But the fear punctured by being, broke me down. Deconstructed every atom in my body. Then as it consumed the last bit of my essence I saw something. I saw something! Something in the darkness, what was it? A flash of light? That comical light that was accompanied by death? No, it something else. It was a face. A face more beautiful than anything I have ever seen. It had no race, no gender, no differ skin colors. His face reminded of someone and no one. Who was it? Who was the person behind the face? And only then, when I realized who I was looking at, did I feel the fear rip me apart. I screamed at the face for mercy.