dark – side – thursday – five
It’s Thursday, so welcome to the dark side. This continuing story appears each Thursday…..
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The Invited: Part 5
She falls into an agitated sleep of dark places with cast iron gates at every turn blocking her way, and closing down the spaces. Always she comes back to the same scary and ominous place surrounded by tall gates. First it seems there is a way out, but then she is confronted by a red gate with the paint dripping and pooling on the ground. Then it starts to flow towards her. In it she can see, reflected, the moon, hanging there, accusing her like an all knowing red eye: ever present and watchful. The moon grows and grows, engulfing the dark forest until it fills her vision. Until it burns her with its pallid light.
Helen awakes with a start, and in confusion. The sun is shining directly into her eyes and it sparkles with a thousand points of light that create shimmering radiant rainbows around every splinter of light. Even when she tries to peer through her fingers the light is revealing her retina, orange-red and veined. She feels that it is examining her very soul, Turning her inside out, opening her up to scrutiny. She hears metallic sounds in her ears and though she tries to move, her limbs resist and she struggles to break free. Then her wrists are suddenly very painful. She looks down and sees that she has blood on her sleeve. She has banged them, somehow, on the edge of the stone slab on which she sits. Her left wrist has an abrasion that is beaded with droplets of blood. She sucks at it and this makes her realise how dry her mouth is. She is parched. She looks up. The sun is sparkling off the leaves of the trees which are covered in dew and she longs desperately for a drink of water.
Time has slipped her mind. How long is it now, since I came here? She shakes her head as if doing it will break the spell. Break the unreality of her being…..here……wherever here is.
A strange, but familiar sound breaks into her thoughts. It’s the sound of a drip; a drip of water, every five or six seconds. She waits and counts. Six seconds and there’s a plop as if water is dropping into a pool. But the sound has a strange echoing, cavern like quality that seems to be measuring out her time, and distracting her thoughts. She looks around for its source.
The coming of daylight has now revealed the interior of the building in which she sits. It is not quite as she remembered from yesterday, but then, she was standing outside. Now she sees, in front of the gate, in the centre of the rectangular interior is a stone plinth which carries carved scroll work, similar to the iron work of the gate, but more floral in quality, for she recognises what looks like honeysuckle flowers. Another plop of water causes her to rise to her feet, but then the world spins and in that moment she sees fleetingly, her room at home and everything seems suddenly insubstantial and unreal. With a hand steadying her against the wall she tries to grasp why such a memory should suddenly intrude into this stone mausoleum.
The metronomic plop calls again like an invitation to quench the dryness of her mouth and she edges slowly along the wall, past the stone plinth. As she reaches the far end of the tomb, Helen is amazed to find that it has an opening, with steps going down under the plinth. She stands motionless for a few moments until she’s certain that her dizziness has receded and then taking the few hesitant strides to the sandstone plinth, she looks down the steps.
The plop of water comes, she is certain, from down those steps and she peers……into the darkness below.