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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Dark · #2191329
Where do shadows exist in a world without light and can you see the reality of the night?
Sojourn Within the Shadow Night By Xavier Cockroachal Damon

I believed I heard voices outside my window last night, but cannot tell for sure because they sounded as if they were the echoes of a dream, stirring me from the slumber of a comfortable sleep, tossing me into consciousness. I shook my head, consumed, though I didn't know why, with fear. But fear of what? And what had the voices been saying? I could not decipher the words, but there was something about them, something that led me to feel I knew the words were important, while also leaving me with a feeling that I should already know what the voices were saying. But I didn't. It was all just a disconnected, garbled mess. That is, if it was even ever there at all. Was I dreaming I remembered? Or was I remembering a dream? Am I dreaming now? What was it the voices were saying that I was supposed to already know? What was I missing?...
I sat up, upon my bed, turned on the lamp on the nightstand next to it and looked about the room. It was a low powered bulb so the room was very dimly lit. As I scanned the room, I had this peculiar feeling that everything seemed so silent and still, yet there was, of course, absolutely no reason any of the objects would possibly be moving or making any sort of sound at all. Yet still, all felt so eerily still. I shivered. It was cold, so very cold. Yet this was a late spring night, it certainly shouldn't be as cold as it was within the room. I don't know, I thought to myself, I suppose it could very likely be a cold front had just moved in over the area as I slept.

I picked up the bottle of vodka from my nightstand and poured a drink, which I started drinking. I looked over at my phone which was sitting on the bed. I had this feeling in my head, that I was expecting a call, but for some reason I could not remember who from. I stared at the phone. It remained silent. I stared at the phone some more, thinking that by the force of my intensity I could compel it to ring. But a ring coming from where? What could possibly be the place from which the call would come?
I turned off the light and lay back down upon the bed, to go back to sleep. I lay there for a while with my eyes closed. After a while I opened them again, it seeming clear that sleep was not going to come again. Within the darkness I just lay there and stared at the ceiling as the night continued pressing on. I sat back up again, dangling my legs over the side of the bed. I again turned on the lamp on the nightstand. I sat there for a moment, trying to map out the day to come. I had this feeling that there was something I was supposed to do, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was.

I looked ahead at the day to come and actually could not think of a single thing that I might do within it, or a single thing I had to do. Except for whatever it was that I could not remember at all. That is if it was even something at all, if I wasn't just imagining there being something I couldn't remember...Imagining nothing. A nothingness cradle where with wide eyes we sleep. Trying to discern within our heads the make believe and that which was never there in any way to be believed at all...

I shook my head, wondering what was that something I couldn't remember. I felt myself growing agitated and frustrated. I picked up the bottle of vodka and filled a cup. I quickly drank it down. I filled another and quickly drank that down as well. I filled a third cup then turned off the light and lay back down, and there within the darkness I just lay, staring at the ceiling, drinking...

Apparently I had slipped into another dream because I found myself standing outside on a field beneath the night. There was a pale moon up in the sky. I looked around, there was nothing, not even any trees, just the field I stood upon, and the field was surrounded by a fog, a mist, that clenched around the scene, squeezing it into a feel of unreality. The air was cold, frigid cold. The chill of the night bit into my skin as though the air was just an illusion, as though I was not standing still within a field, instead within a sea of vipers. Phantoms flowed across the scene, draping languidly, moving along the ground, then stopping all at the same time and facing me, speaking a word. But I could not tell what the word they were trying to say was. They repeated the word again but louder, yet still I could not understand. They floated there within the air for a moment then repeated the word again, loudly shouting it...

I opened my eyes and sat up upon my bed, feeling myself caught within a panic. I looked about the darkened room. I poured a drink to attempt to calm my frayed nerves. I found myself feeling the fear of everything and nothing at the same time. I didn't know why or what it was I was so afraid of. I just sat there and drank in the darkness. I looked through the darkened room, feeling an anxious uneasiness, uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt as if I just wanted to tear it from my body, discard it to the floor like an old costume worn at a masquerade ball, and then stare into the mirror at a skeleton. Seeing beyond pretentions, deceptions, egotisms, outside schisms crushing in, inner fractures within every new moment begin. A fault line forever cracking, the fissures of an ever crumbling soul.

I sank another cup of vodka, this blaring premonition in my thoughts that consciousness this night would lead to nothing good, feeling this sense that there were things closing in, ghouls, demons, monsters, gods, seeking to sweep my soul away, ambush, barrage, avalanche, annihilate, carrying me away to whatever land of hate from which they hailed...

I saw the future, and out into the abyss, alone I had sailed. Off into...Off into what?...

I swallowed another cup, and then another, and then another. Racing to reach the black and with this night be done with it. I sat there drinking cup after cup until I had reached a point where sleep seemed imminent, the impending erasing of the world that did surround, to slip into darkness without a sound. I laid back down upon the bed and shut my eyes, awaiting only that moment, the one that catches you by surprise, where you go from knowing you were lying there, and next you know you were again opening your eyes, having passed through the lyrical dirge of sleep, and that a new day had begun. But as I lay there on the bed with my eyes closed, I could feel the goal of sleep pulling further away. Still I could see it but it was appearing more in the distance with each passing moment.

I abruptly sat back up on the bed and poured another drink which I quickly downed, and then poured another which I downed as well. I then poured another, drinking it more slowly until it was gone. I then filled the cup again and lay back on the bed, carrying the cup in my hand, carrying the bottle with me in my other hand, and upon the bed I lay there, sipping from the cup within the darkness, thinking, really, no thoughts at all, finding it strange that I really couldn't think of any thoughts to think at all. I shrugged, finishing my cup, for finding no thoughts on which to dwell, in whatever manner and form they might take, could only be seen as a good thing, for my goal here was sleep, and nothing prevents passage into it like a thought twisting in the mind.

All was silent and still. And I felt so very tired, so very weary, sleep was certain to come at any moment. I filled the cup again from the bottle.
As I lay there on the bed drinking, I began to wonder what it was I had done this day, before it turned to the darkness of night. The odd thing was that I couldn't remember. A peculiar thought then occurred to me, when was the last time I had seen the daylight? When had I last seen the sun? I didn't think too much of this question, for if it hadn't been today, certainly it must have been the day before, and if for some reason it wasn't, it had to have been the day before that. But the question had this eerie quality to it, as if it was a question that could only be answered within the dreams of a child, one who dwelled their entire life within a dream, forever walking beneath the sun, praying for a darkness to consume the sky, burying the world beneath it under its rubble, to become the murmurs trapped beneath the wreckage, never to be found or rescued, for no one was ever even looking to see if they were there. 'What could that even possibly mean?' I wondered to myself, then shook my head, realizing I was leading myself down a path that could only serve to place roadblocks in the path to my goal.

I filled my cup again and quickly drank it, then filled it again and slowly sipped. The dam that stood in the way to my destination could not possibly withstand the surging rapids of the deluge hurled against it. And there I lay, continuing to drink for I know not how long, with each gulp, adding to the torrent building to be released as a flash flood to so shatter the walls of the dam and allow me passage into sleep. And then...
I felt the wall begin to crumble, as I felt myself shattering apart, a thousand arrows into my heart.

Liquid nightmares, rivers flow, to the only place that they can go, travelling blindly down a stream, life is only ever but a dream.

I found myself alone and sitting within a distant place, staring back into a blurred face, trying to remember that special place, which I had never seen.

The formless visage looked back upon me and spoke.

But they were words I had never before heard, dissertations from the absurd, pouring from mouth to air, into my mind, words when searched for you will never find, for the words were never spoken at all.

Just the memories of dreams you hear screaming in your ears, to try to silence ever raging tears.

But I stood there and I stared into her eyes, but it was as if staring into a void...
I awoke upon my bed, consumed by another panic, feeling as if everything was racing inside, shivering from the cold that consumed the room. I sat up on the bed and reached over and turned on the lamp. I exhaled, expecting to see my breath within the air, but there was nothing. Yet still, the room felt so very cold, it seemed it had to be below freezing. But how could that be? It was spring. It must be some sort of unexpected, record cold front that was clinging to the area, encasing it with the touch of ice from its wintry hand I had to assume. But, when was it this cold wave started? I could remember feeling this chill for days, but as I tried to think back to the last time the world held warmth I saw nothing. I could only remember the biting chill of the darkened room. I shrugged this question off, deciding not even to bother trying to answer it. Instead I sought the answer to a different question, that being, what would I do with the next day upon awaking from this night? I saw no answers of any kind? Then with a peculiar look I wondered, ‘Haven’t I asked this very same question before? And when was it I ever had an answer?...And when was the last time I saw the sun?...And why is it so cold in here?...Are these not the same questions I keep asking myself day in and day out, night in, night out?...I can’t remember...What do I remember?...I can’t remember...’ I shook my head and sat back up upon the bed, my feet touching the floor. I shook my head again as I looked about the room. I then noticed something slide into the room from beneath the door, entering with a light swooshing sound.

Thinking this peculiar, I arose from the bed and quickly moved to the door. I looked down at the floor, it was an envelope. I looked back up at the door. ‘Who could it have been that left the envelope’ I thought to myself? I looked back down again at the envelope then looked back up at the door. I stared at the door with a confused look, scrunching my face. I looked back down at the envelope. I reached down and picked it up then just stared at it within my hand. I looked at both sides of the envelope but there was nothing written on either side. I looked at it curiously then walked over and sat down on the bed. I set the envelope down on the nightstand and poured myself a drink.

I took a long gulp then set the cup down and picked the envelope back up. I opened it apprehensively. Inside there was a letter. I unfolded it and looked upon it. Typed upon the letter was only one sentence. The sentence said “Maybe you can’t remember because there was never anything there to remember at all.” I got a very startled look on my face. Had I not just been wondering why I couldn’t remember. But then, what could the sentence possibly mean? And who was it that had placed it under my door? What was going on here? I reached for my cup and took another large gulp. I looked back at the letter and turned it over and examined both sides, but there was only the one line “Maybe you can’t remember because there was never anything there to remember at all”. But what did that mean? Of course there was something there to remember, it was just, for reasons I did not understand, I couldn’t remember what it was.

I looked back at the door then turned and picked up my cup and took another drink. I set my cup back down and shook my head then crumpled the letter and threw it to the floor. It was nonsense. I decided to not even bother attempting to figure out what was going on here. I looked around the room, and at the window, seeing the world beyond, outside. It was still night. It was night when I had fallen back to sleep, would that then mean I had slept through the entire day and had awoken again into the night? Had I merely remained in bed, wasting another day? But, when was the last time I saw the day, when was it last I saw the sun? I tried to concentrate to come up with an answer, but in the end I came up with nothing.

I quickly whipped my head around and darted my gaze to the corner, having this odd intuition there would be something in it. The light in the room was so faint I couldn't tell for sure, but I could swear there was something, something large, amorphous, foreboding, blending in with the darkness, two eyes like knives piercing through the darkness, stabbing out from the corner and into my soul. It was like a fog mixing in with the surroundings, roaring up into a seemingly solid form then shifting back to a hanging cloud, like vapors drifting from within cracks in the wall, freezing once stepping foot into the ugliness of life, there remaining, glaring, staring, into your heart, until being ripped apart, vanishing within that moment that you wish you could forget, returning in a blink, for no matter what you try to think, you can never get away from what stares you in the face. Yet, even with this elaborate description, I couldn't say if I was maybe just staring into an empty space, while dreaming of a different place, that was burning before my eyes....

I quickly shot my gaze into another corner of the room, immediately feeling two red eyes cutting into me. I saw a momentary flash of gnashing teeth and a sinister smile. The frame they were contained within was like the other, a vapor, hanging within the air. There flashed another sharpened smile, razor teeth biting into the darkness as I darted my gaze into another of the corners, only to see another formless apparition hovering within it, staring back at me and clenching its teeth as the others had. I shot my gaze into the other corner, within it was a shadow within a shadow, the soul of the shadow taunting me with its glaring stare and wicked smile.

I quickly looked at another of the corners of the room. In it, like the others was the amorphous presence with cutting eyes and gnarling teeth, but
unlike the others it appeared to be growing even larger and its form becoming more solid. Feeling fear I looked into the final corner of the room, again was the phantom like shadow shapeless entity but it was growing even larger than the previous one had been, and its frame seemed entirely solid, and it was constantly growing outward, as if about to consume the entire room, and, 'wait a second, I thought to myself. 'The room has six corners? How can that be? My room doesn't have six corners.'

The next moment I found myself opening my eyes and raising up upon my bed in a panic. I frantically darted my gaze at all corners of the room. There were four, not six. ‘I guess I must have been dreaming.’ I figured. I closed my eyes again and lay back upon the bed. I quickly rose up again with a peculiar look on my face. I looked around the room, into all six of the corners. I stared into them with a look of bewilderment and apprehension, fearing I would again see the formless shadows, but I did not.

I filled my cup and began to drink. I tilted my head back, taking a large swig and when I returned my head to level I could see, sharpened, pronounced faces in each of the corners, their eyes were stabbing into me, teeth gnashing, thinking of the dinner upon they wished to feast, the final supper for the beast, parasites spilling into the soul, on a bridge, staring at the waiting troll. I felt myself swept over by a wave of rage. It flooded through my body like a blitzkrieg flash flood.

I stood from the bed and stalked through the room, I caught a reflection of the shadows in the corners in a full length mirror within the room, and through the air I lashed out with a clenched fist, striking it and smashing it as the broken pieces spilled to the floor. I looked into all of the corners of the room and the shadow phantoms were gone. I looked down at my hand, expecting to see a red stream flowing but there was no blood, not a drop. ‘Shouldn't there be?’ I thought to myself. Feeling puzzlement I returned to the bed and sat down on it again and poured another drink which I downed in a gulp then filled the cup again and started sipping from it.

I turned off the lamp and lay back down within the darkness, staring up at the ceiling. As I lay there, I thought to myself that maybe my hand had just collided with the mirror in such a way that it had shattered it without sustaining so much as a cut. I then wondered to myself whether when I had stared down at my hand expecting to see blood, was it that there had been no cuts, or had it been that there were cuts, only no blood was released from them? I got a quizzical look upon my face then sat back up, my legs hanging over the side of the bed. I looked to the lamp then at the bottle of vodka upon the nightstand. I reached toward the nightstand. I picked up the bottle of vodka and filled a cup. I quickly drank it then filled another and drank that as well then filled another. I looked at the lamp again then to my pillow. I lay back down upon the bed, cup in hand, and upon the bed I lay there sipping.

I then heard the light swooshing sound I had heard before from near the door. I sat up quickly and turned on the lamp. I looked over at the door then down on the floor in front of it. On the floor was an envelope. I stared at in with trepidation then looked back at the door. I picked up my cup in my hand and took a drink.

Slowly I stood up from the bed and walked over to the door. I just stared at the door a moment then reached down and picked up the envelope and then walked back to the bed with apprehensive steps. I sat upon the bed and set the envelope on the table, filled my cup and took a long drink. I picked the envelope back up and looked at it. I opened it and inside was a letter.

I pulled the letter out and took another drink. I unfolded the letter and read it. Upon the letter was only one typed sentence. The sentence said “What possible reason could there be, for one to be cut but not bleed.” That was all it said. And the sentence was obviously a question yet in terms of punctuation there was no question mark. That part seemed easy enough to explain, it must just be a grammatical error, but what of the question itself? It made no sense. And to receive the letter immediately after breaking the mirror? And who could it be that was slipping these envelopes under the door?

I looked back at the door with an astonished look. I took another long drink from my cup. This really was very odd. I couldn’t begin to make sense of it. What was going on here? I took another long drink. I tried to figure out what to do to understand what was going on but couldn’t think of any course of action that might possibly elucidate the situation. I sat there, drinking from my cup, scouring my brain for anything that I might do but coming up empty. I shook my head with confusion and took another drink. There really seemed to be nothing I could do to figure it out.
I decided the best thing to do was to get back to sleep. So I finished my drink, then poured another, drinking that one as well, then poured another, emptying it as I had the others, then poured another, turned off the lamp, and with my drink in my hand, lay back down upon my bed. I sipped from my cup then closed my eyes...

When I opened my eyes again I was standing in a six sided room, but the room was not my own, it was some different room. In the middle of the room was a figure sitting on a chair, it was wrapped in bandages, mummified, but aside from being wrapped in bandages it was also encased in a straightjacket. There was a candle on either side of it that was lit, the flames dancing slowly within the room. In front of the figure, on the floor was written one word in blood. The word that was written was “Dream”.

There were no windows within the room. There were no other objects within the room. There was a light haze rising up from the floor. The figure in the chair then un-expectantly turned its head to me and spoke one word. But the word was garbled, a phonetic oddity, unintelligible. I looked at the figure, trying to understand what the point of the word was. I blinked my eyes. But when they opened again from the blink, I saw that I was lying in my bed, within my darkened room.

I felt myself in a panic. I rapidly sat up, my legs hanging over the side of the bed. I poured and took a long drink. I sat there upon my bed, feeling everything racing inside. I took another very long drink. I looked about my room. There was nothing but the dimly lit darkness. The air was still so frigid. All was as it had been. I arose from the bed and walked around the room, trying to think of something to do, coming up with nothing. I saw the window. Outside, it was still night. What was I, only sleeping for minutes at a time? How long was this night going to go on? When was it, the sun would arise?

I shook my head, feeling confused agitation. I walked back to the nightstand. I poured myself a drink and began drinking from it. ‘But what was I going to do? What was there even to do?’ I contemplated and drank again from my cup. Something about all of this really just didn’t seem right. Something was amiss. But what? And it was so very, very cold. But, when was the last time I felt warmth? When was the last time I saw the sun?

I took a drink. ‘What was it I did today before it turned to darkness?’ I asked myself. I took a drink? How about the day before? I took another drink. The one before that? What was it I did that day before it turned to darkness? I took a long drink, finishing what was left in the cup. I looked around the dark, dimly lit room, feeling the chill of the air.

I walked back to the bed and sat down. I gripped my head in my hands, trying to understand what was happening here. There was something I wasn’t seeing, but what? What was I missing? I shook my head again, trying to figure it out. And what was with those one sentence letters I was receiving? Who was putting them under my door? And the things they said, they didn’t make any sense. None of this made any sense. And why can’t I remember anything other than being alone here in this cold darkened room. I tried with everything in me to force an actual memory of something, anything, out but all I saw was nothing. “Maybe you can’t remember because there was never anything there to remember at all.” The sentence makes no sense. And I do remember the sentence, I remember receiving the envelope within which it was written so that just proves that the sentence is rubbish.

And then, “What possible reason could there be for one to be cut but not bleed”. I contemplated the meaning of the sentence out loud “What a bizarre sentence. Why on earth would anyone write that to me? And how would I know the answer? Of course there was the grammatical error, or maybe a typo. Or, was the one who sent the envelope phrasing it rhetorically? Well, if so, you tell me the answer, because I have no idea, whoever you are who sent the letter.” So help me, all this confounding peculiarity was making me dizzy. It seemed I really needed to lie down again.

All these unanswerable questions made me just want to be done with consciousness. ‘Yes, that’s the answer, just get back to sleep and when I wake up tomorrow morning to start a new day, I can just put all this insanity behind me.’ I thought to myself. I sighed heavily with relief and poured myself a drink, drank it then poured another, then another, another, another. I poured another drink and turned off the lamp and lay down upon my bed with the cup in hand, I sipped from it as I lay there within the darkness...

I opened my eyes to find myself in a large six cornered banquet hall type room. In the center of the room was a man-made pond of green water. In the center of the pond was a rowboat. Sitting in the middle of the rowboat was a figure wrapped in bandages, mummified, but also encased by a straight jacket. At the opposite end of the pond from where I was standing were five wraiths, phantoms, fluid, amorphous, and they continuously swirled in a figure eight pattern.

The room was filled with a fog like mist. The figure on the boat just sat there with its head down, the chin pressed upon its chest. I just stood there and stared at the figure, the phantoms swirling in the background in their figure eight pattern. I stood there for a while, transfixed on the figure on the boat. And then, the figure raised its head. I felt as if it was staring straight at me, but, of course, with the bandages, there was no way for me to tell. It stared at me for a time then uttered a phrase but what that phrase was there was no way for me to tell, it was entirely incoherent.

I just called out to the figure, not really expecting an answer, or at least an answer I would be able to understand. “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you. What is it you are trying to say?” I asked. The figure just remained still for a moment then spoke again, repeating the same phrase. I could not make out a word, the phrase even more indecipherable than the first utterance. I called out again, “I’m sorry, I can tell that you’re trying to tell me something but I have no idea what you are trying to say. Please, help me understand” I pleaded. The figure just remained there on the boat, completely still, the phantoms behind it swirling in their figure eight pattern. Then, the figure nodded its head.

The figure stood up within the boat and then in an instant it outstretched its arms, breaking through the straight jacket, the straight jacket dropping down to the floor of the boat. The figure then raised its hands to its head and began unraveling the bandages that covered the head until they dropped to the floor of the boat.

I just stood there, staring at the figure standing upon the boat. What I was staring at was a figure, covered by bandages from the feet to the neck. Above the neck, where the bandages had been removed was a head. It appeared a human head except that its face was blank. It had ears and a nose but there were no eyes, nor mouth and no hair upon the head. It was an eerie figure to behold. I stared upon the figure and still could only assume it stared back at me as well, because even with the bandages removed there were still no eyes for me to look into. No way for me to try and tell what the essence of the figure was. After a time the figure spoke. The words were perfectly intelligible. It was a female’s voice. What she then said was, “Read the signs.”

“Read the signs?” I repeated, questioning.

At that moment, the entire scene, the walls of the six cornered banquet hall, the pond, and the boat erupted in flame and I just stood there looking into the non-existent eyes of the figure standing on the boat as the boat burned around it while the figure on the boat looked back into my eyes, or so I assumed. In the end, there really was no way to tell if I was even looking into its eyes at all...

I opened my eyes and sat up upon my bed in a panic. I looked around the room, darting my gaze to count the corners, seeing there were four, not six. I turned to the nightstand and turned on the light then poured myself a drink and started sipping from it. The air was bitter cold. I looked around the room again, seeing the window. Outside it was still dark. It was still night, ‘How long would this night go on?’ I wondered to myself. I drank some more from my cup. I remembered the words being spoken to me “Read the signs”. But what signs was I supposed to be reading, what did that mean? I felt the panic rising up inside of me again, a pressure building and pressing inward. I stood up from the bed and began pacing the room, feeling the biting sting of the air.

I actually remembered the dream, as a bizarre movie it remained in my mind. And as I paced I began to remember fragments of other dreams. They were all disjointed and chaotic but did they somehow have meaning or were they just some sort of surreal presentation of a sleeping mind venturing wherever it did, incomprehensible, without any point at all. I remembered my dreams, but then, why could I remember nothing else, nothing aside from being alone in this darkened room? There has to have been other parts of my days I exclaimed to myself. But then, why is it I could remember none of it? Just being alone and cold in this room, and going through seemingly the same actions over and over. It was like every day was the same, and it was like no matter what I did I was only ever just going through the same actions, walking the same steps where nothing ever changed. I got to sleep and then woke up, then go through it all, all over again, like a scene repeating, like a video camera caught in a loop. And always within the darkness of the night. “When the hell am I going to see the sun?” I grumbled out loud. I walked back to the nightstand and poured another drink, took a gulp then turned around with the cup in my hand.

As I turned I noticed the walls were rotating and when they stopped again in place with a grinding thud, there were six corners in the room instead of four. I stared into each of the six corners fearing the shadow presence would be in them but there was only darkness. I took another drink. “O.k., I really have to figure out what was going on here.” I anxiously pronounced to myself.

I began pacing the room again, releasing my inner discourse to the air. “Read the signs, read the signs, what signs, the walls turning into six instead of four, is that a sign, and what could that possibly mean? So what possible sign could that possibly be for me to read? But how is it even possible for that to happen? It would seem an impossibility, walls can’t just move? O.k., there’s too much to have to sort through to figure that out. Enough with that question, something else. What else, what else could be signs? The letters I suppose. Fine, then the first one “Maybe you can’t remember because there was never anything there to remember at all.” But how could there possibly have never been anything there to remember?”...In each of the six corners there began to form shadows within the darkness...

”I mean of course there was something there to remember. But then, why can’t I remember, remember anything other than being alone in this room? I keep thinking there must have been something else I did that day, but how do I actually know that there was? And why is it always night?” I shook my head, feeling flustered and took another drink...The shadows within the six corners of the dark room began to slowly rise upward, revealing piercing red slits for eyes...

”Maybe there was nothing else there to remember, nothing but this cold, dark room. But damn, how I hate this bloody room. To just walk the same steps day after day and never actually get anywhere, forever cold and alone. I tell you being trapped within these walls is a hell. It is a cell that more than anything I wish to be done with, to just walk out the door and never return. But then, those times I saw those envelopes slipped under the door, why didn’t I just open the door to try and see who had delivered them? When was the last time I did open the door? I can’t remember.”

I paced around the room even faster, but stopped in my tracks when I saw the window. “And why is it always night?” I angrily grumbled then began pacing the room again...The shadows in the corners continued to grow upward, limbs outstretching along the walls of the room...”O.k., so what of the other letter? “What possible reason is there for one to be cut but not bleed.”, that really is a vary bizarre question for someone to write, and the period instead of a question mark. Is that suggesting the answer was obvious?” I paced even faster through the room, taking another drink.

“Well, you know, I’m not even sure I did cut my hand when I punched the mirror. I really never checked or took notice of it. So why don’t I do that right now and prove the letter was just the ramblings of a crazy person with poor grammar.” I stopped and looked down at my right hand. There were obvious gashes upon the knuckles and other cuts about the hand. All the wounds were open but there was no blood...the shadows in the corners continued to stretch higher while their limbs continued to extend there reach around the walls of the room...

“Well, I’m sure it just dried is all, it wouldn’t still be bleeding now. But then wouldn’t I see dried blood?” I asked myself apprehensively then finished what was in my cup, walked over to the nightstand, poured another drink, took a gulp then turned around with my cup in my hand. Rattled, I shouted out “What the hell is going on with me! I just want to understand what is happening here!”

At that moment an envelope was slid under the door with a swooshing sound. I stood there with disbelief staring at the envelope on the floor. I took another drink. I stared back at the envelope then took another drink then slowly began walking cautiously up to the envelope. I reached the door and stood there and looked at it then looked down at the envelope on the floor. I reached down and picked the envelope up. I looked at the envelope in my hand with an ominous look. I hesitantly walked back to my bed and sat down. I placed the envelope on the nightstand and finished what was left in the cup then poured another drink and took a sip.

I set the cup down on the nightstand and picked up the envelope and looked at it. I opened it. Inside was a letter. I pulled it out and unfolded it. I examined the letter. Upon it was one typed sentence. The sentence said “If you don’t admit the truth of your situation, you will be trapped within this room forever”. I looked at it with a completely confounded expression. I blurted out, “The truth of my situation, what could that possibly mean? What situation, what?” I scratched my head with confusion and took another drink from my cup. Still speaking out loud I continued with my attempt to understand the letter. “Trapped within this room forever, trapped here forever if I don’t understand the truth of my situation. What in bloody hell could that mean? The truth of my situation is that I just want out of this damn room and this seeming endless dark night. That’s the truth of my situation.”

I gulped down what was left in my cup and then walked over to the nightstand and poured another...The shadows with sharpened red eyes continued spreading across the walls of the room, engulfing much of it...I turned around angrily with my cup in hand and ranted incredulously. “I mean, what is the reality of my situation? What the hell does that even mean? And the read the signs comment and the other notes. You’re obviously trying to tell me something, so why don’t you just come out and damn well say it rather than throwing riddles and questions and clues at me. Just tell me damn it! Why would it be so important to you, whoever you are, for me to see whatever answer you expect me to see? What is even the point of that? But fine, if you want to play that game, let me give you the answer.” I drank what was left in my cup and determinedly walked over to the nightstand and filled it again then turned and walked back to the center of the room.

I took a drink. “Let’s see. Start with that first letter I guess. The reason I can’t remember is because nothing was ever there to begin with. O.k., o.k., I guess that is easily answered, maybe it’s just that there was nothing memorable that would be worth remembering so as to be to the extent the same metaphorically as nothing having been there at all. Or, I have been drinking quite a lot lately, must be blackouts or I keep sleeping through the days, and that cryptic statement read the signs, very well then I will read the signs, I guess I really need to cut down. So, admit the reality of my situation, there, that part, done. And, um, how about, add to that, that I didn’t open the door when you left the letter, well I suppose I should have, stay more on my toes, I certainly could benefit from that. That’s another sign I guess I need to see. Be on top of the moment, don’t let it pass you by. So there, that too. And, well, why is it always night? Sort of like time has stopped moving. And, well, the other note you left me, I’m supposed to read the signs, then fine, let me attempt to read the signs for this one then, How can you have cuts on your hand but there is no blood. Again a strange question but I’ll give it a shot.”...the shadows continued to sweep across the walls of the room...
“You did use a period instead of a question mark, so let’s assume you were saying the question was rhetorical and the answer was obvious rather than some roundabout, intricate, brain twisting riddle. The simple and obvious answers then. So let’s see then, the most simple answers. When does a body get a cut but not bleed? Well, most obvious answer would be that not all cuts actually bleed, some just scrape the skin, leave marks only.” I looked down at my right hand. “But those are very deep wounds, they would be certain to, why they would be certain to bleed a river, so why didn’t they?”...

The shadows continued to sweep across the walls of the room...I shook my head and took a drink. “So then, other reasons, when else does a body sustain a cut but not bleed? Well, when the blood is no longer flowing I suppose, but for that to be the case the body would have to be dead.” A look of horror swept my face...The shadows continued to spread out over the walls...

“Wait. The, the, not remembering, the, the door, there being no blood. It always being night, never seeing the sun. Me seemingly locked within this room, every moment seeming exactly the same, nothing ever changing. Time no longer moving. And why is it always so cold, always so brutally cold even though it is spring? Could it be? Could that mean? Could that actually be a possible explanation for everything? No, it can’t be”...The shadows continued to spread across the walls of the room, having almost covered the entire room...I just looked ahead with a pained look. ”Could it be that I am actually dead?”...All six shadows engulfing the walls instantly stopped at their respective points on the ceiling, only a mere few feet from the center of the ceiling where all six had been converging upon, that space the only part of the room remaining that was untouched by the shadows...

I stood there frozen in a stupor, contemplating the possibility of the idea that this could maybe somehow be true, finding myself in total dismay by the way that so many of the bizarre aspects of my situation seemed they could fall into place if it were so. Was I now just a ghost, condemned to wander this cold, empty room forever, forever walking the same steps, nothing ever changing? Could that actually be the truth of my situation? I took a long drink from my cup. I stared ahead with a deeply contemplative, introspective look then shook my head dismissively. “No, that’s crazy, I’m not dead.”...The shadows with stabbing eyes all started moving again, connecting with each other in the center of the ceiling and upon doing so, a second shadow layer spilled out from the ceiling, spreading almost instantly over the ceiling and walls of the room with a solid layer that covered every surface, and covering over the door, covering over the window...

I took another drink from my cup, finishing it, then shook my head again and began walking over to my bed. “That’s just ridiculous, I’m not dead.” I sat down on my bed within the cold, dark room, alone. I poured myself another drink and began drinking it. “Just crazy, I’m not dead.” I drank from my cup until it was gone then poured another and drank it down with a gulp, I shook my head again and filled the cup again. “I’m not dead.” I drank the cup in a gulp and filled another. “I’m not dead.” I drank the cup in a gulp and filled another. “I’m not dead.” And there I remained, sitting and drinking, alone in my cold, dark room.

The End
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