This was written for an English short story assignment. I don't know why I chose this topic or what it has to do with anything, but I was depressed when I wrote it so I guess it shaped from there. Did I mention I received an 'A' for it? Ok, hope you enjoy it.
The Darkness of Memories.
Rain stood deathly still and looked at the crumbling house that stood before her. Things had changed so much since she last stood in this exact same spot, looking at the open door so many years ago. The door was open now, but only through the fact that the wind had made it so, and it hung loosely on its hinges creaking occasionally. Instead of the soft glow of light that used to spill from within, all she could see was darkness. A choking darkness that swept through her and tore at her heart, making her bottom lip quiver involuntarily.
With a harsh unspoken word telling herself to get it together, she reached out and took hold of the handrail of the large Queenslander home. The rotting wood was cold to the touch, and even under her light grip, she felt some of the weaker parts crumble away to fall to the grassless ground at her feet. Drawing in a staggered breath, she slowly stepped up to the first step. 'Only nine more to go,' she reassured herself while closing her eyes and taking another step. Eight, seven, six…it was so hard just to keep going forward, to keep going into that blackness. It was not that she was scared of the dark, at least she had not been for a very long time, it was just that she was scared of the memory, of the terrifying things that had haunted her for the twenty years she had been living on her own. Five, four, three…with each step her pulse quickened, a sharp and heavy reminder of the fear she felt pulsating through her veins. 'Almost there, keep going!' she urged herself onwards to become closer to the darkened doorway, battling the want to turn and flee. But she had run before, and had been running ever since. Now all Rain wanted was for it to end, to be able to sleep at night, and this was the only way she could see how. Two…sweat dripped down her forehead, plastering her long dark fringe to the sides of her face…one…she could feel her hand start to shake on the railing and as she took her last step towards the veranda, she mentally braced herself.
Yet nothing happened. Rain stood there, her whole body trembling slightly, contemplating what to do next. She felt that as soon as she had reached the veranda it would all come back to her, but it hadn't. She looked quickly to the left, followed by the right and yet there was nothing. With her confidence slightly lifted, she walked forward slowly to the doorway, keeping her eyes locked on the window that was directly in line with her at the end of the hall.
Without noticing it, she was just inside the entry, standing at the beginning of the long darkened hallway of her childhood home. The only light came streaming through the window at the end of the corridor, of which her eyes had not yet left. She knew the house well: three doors to the right, four to the left, and with that in mind she tread softly forward, leaning against the right wall for support.
She turned into the first room and flicked the light switch hopefully, yet no light chased away the eerie gloom and she realized that there must not have been any electricity.
A crash filled her ears and she spun around, pressing herself against the wall while searching the vespertine darkened room with terror filled eyes as if it were the depths of a dungeon. All was quiet and still. Nothing moved, not even a cockroach scampered across the floor, and with a sickening feeling Rain started to think that this was the best of ideas.
While slowly backing out of the room, she heard yet another bang and her heart leapt into her mouth while the acidic taste of bile crept up the back of her throat. The loud noises were coming from the kitchen, the one room she feared the most and had long decided never to return to. But she could not leave now, not like this, not with these thoughts and questions still racing around in her head.
On legs that felt like jelly, she advanced tediously down the long corridor to the last door on the left, her fear glazed eyes once again refocused on the windows light. Her steps, soft though they were, echoed in her head and counteracted the beatings of her heart. Rain was there, at the end of her journey, and she felt like she had been sent to the firing squad or marched down death row itself. Her heart beat faster and faster until it felt like it would pump right out of her chest and the bile was becoming stronger in the back of her throat, burning it like fire.
With an uneasy glance back at the light and freedom of the window, she turned to face the room that had haunted her in her dreams. The old cream coloured door remained closed, even in the house's ruined state, and she forced herself to reach out and hold the handle in her clammy hand. It felt hot, like it had been heated with a flame to the point of branding her palm with the spiral imprint, a constant reminder of what she had left behind. Rain quickly pushed such thoughts out of her head, telling herself that she was being silly and ridiculous, and before she could convince herself otherwise, she wrenched down on the handle and threw the door open.
A rush of stale air invaded her nostrils and even though she peered hard into the large room, nothing could be seen through the gloom. Rain forced herself to take four quick steps into the room and then something made her stop dead in her tracks. Another bang sounded, right next to her left ear, and she felt herself freeze in horror, her entire body rigid and tense. She knew what the noises were now, and it made it worse. The sound of a bottle smashing against the bench or the floor made a slight gasp of dread push its way past her lips that were pressed together in a thin line, paling as the blood was forced out of them. Then a scream of alarm bounced off the walls to haunt her.
Tears started to well up in her eyes and, as soon as the first one escaped and trickled down her pale cheek, the others followed in an uncontrollable gush. Her breath come in quick and short gasps and she soon found herself sinking to the floor, her eyes squeezed shut.
She saw the bottle smash and the liquor flow out of it, spilling across the kitchen table, mixing with the blood that flowed freely from the hand that held it. A black booted foot stepped heavily on the wooden floorboards…
Rain was lying on the floor, convulsing quickly as the images assaulted her vision. Her tears ran down her face and made little plopping noises as they hit the floor, shattering as they did so and coming to an end.
…A shaky hand angrily brushed the top of the bench, flicking the bloody mixture on to the floor while the owner let out an enraged noise, like that of a growl of a wild dog advancing on its prey…
Rain forced herself onto her knees while gasping for air. She braced herself on shaky hands and arms and slowly pushed upwards. Reaching out for anything to support her, she found her hand on something stable. Relieved to be back on her feet, she looked to what had aided her, and when she saw it, she pulled away with a suppressed scream, tripping so that she was now resting against the sink on the far side of the room. A bench. The bench, the one that she saw every time she closed her eyes. Rain's hand tingled from the feeling and the knowledge of such horrors as she frantically wiped it against her jeans in an attempt to cleanse it, trying to purge the memories.
…A scream followed soon after, and something fell, blocking Rain's view of the kitchen that her mother and father where in. As she gazed at the thing restricting her view, she saw blond hair, long blond hair displayed on the floor around the object. Her mother. Rain stifled a small cry as she heard the woman in front of her sob quietly, and as she head the footsteps continue, she started to back out of her hiding place…
Rain frantically tried to press herself up closer against the sink but to no avail. Her hands searched crazily behind her for something to grab hold of, something to defend herself with. And then she found something – little though it was, it was something, and without a second thought she yanked it forward, ready to use it against her approaching father.
Light. A soft light flooded the room, causing its only occupant to cry out and shield her face from the blow that she felt sure was coming. But the blow did not come, and she could no longer hear the menacing footsteps that were advancing on her only moments ago. Rain soon realized that her eyes were still pressed tightly closed, and, as she wearily opened them, she saw the room flooded in the dying light of the afternoon sun. In her right hand she still tightly gripped a small object, that with a quick turn she saw was the ornamental handle of the window blinds.
She listened to the sounds of the no longer darkened room, but all she could hear was her heavy breathing and the thumping of her heart. The light had caused all the ghosts of her past to flee, forcing them back into the darkness from which they came and from which they had tried to drag her with them. But they could not. She was here, and she was fine. She was standing in the room where she had witness things that no child should have, and yet, she held the power; she held the light and ability to banish the horrors of the shadows away.
With a stilling hand, she wiped the tears from her face, and breathed in a deep breath while looking around her surroundings. Nothing threatening remained, and with this in mind, she paced around the large wooden furnished room. With each step her confidence heightened and her breathing became regular. When she had completed the second lap of the room, she made her way slowly to the door, and took the handle in her hand. It no longer felt hot but felt how it should, the cool smooth feel of fashioned metal. Pulling the door closed behind her, and without even a glance at the window, she calmly walked out of the house.
When she reached the veranda, something made her stop before she was able to start down the stairs. Something played in the back of her mind, and with a small smile she turned back to face the house. Quickly covering the distance between her and the doorway, she took the door gently in her hands and slowly lifted it. The top hinge had come off, but that mattered not; all Rain wanted to do was to close it. With a little effort, she maneuvered the door to a standing position in front of the doorway, closing the horror and darkness in for good.
With a triumphant sigh, she turned on her heels and started to walk down the stairs. Already she felt that her heart was lightened and that somehow, just somehow, she could go on, knowing that that part of her life was over, that it had finally come to a stop and the she had conquered it.