Friday, 21 February 2014

Darkness Disintegrating: Part One of A Strange Story

I woke up punching the air in an unfamiliar room; my skin damp with cold sweat. Relief washed over me when I remembered I was truly alone. 

The long, eerie shadows that had flickered in the moonlight and terrified me until exhaustion took over were gone; instead jewels of sunlight danced across the cracked grey walls and white light tinged with spring’s gold, streamed through a window with several broken panes. 

I knew the fractured light would heal my broken spirit, and although the day was cool, it was hopeful.

I pushed off a pile of scratchy blankets and shook winter’s pain from my aching bones. I could hear birdsong from the treetops and although I couldn’t see much, I was certain winter’s silence – that had mercilessly screamed through me for so long - was finally broken. 

I realised I wouldn't be pulled under the surface of life by darkness and I could breathe again. 

There was the promise of a new beginning. 

Taking a deep breath, I pushed myself up from the creaking red sofa where I’d slept a lifetime, and placed my feet onto the cold slate floor. I forced myself up onto my legs but I was unsteady, so I kept a hand on the wall until I could balance. 

I carefully walked towards the window to find the panes of glass covered in grime. I cleaned an unbroken pane with the edge of my sleeve and revealed fine spider silk on the outside of the glass that glittered with dew drops. I pressed my face to the glass and gasped through the gossamer; the budding verdant spring had finally burst through the hard winter. There were fresh new leaves on the branches and the dewy grass gently shook with life. The first flowers of spring blinked open in the sunlight; snowdrops punctuated the grass and a violet riot of crocuses peppered the land beyond. 

I blinked back tears and harshly reminded myself there would be no more crying. In the corner of the garden I saw two mature trees with gnarly branches like those of fruit trees - probably apple or pear - and the thought of blossom followed by fruit made me smile. 

Smiling hurt my face, not least because it had been a long time since I’d smiled at anything. To the left of the garden, butterflies and bumblebees danced across a hedgerow of field maple hawthorn and blackthorn. There was woodland in view, carpeted with blue and white flowers and lush green foliage. The dry stone wall around the cottage stood like a black defence against ‘the unimaginable’ in the darkness, but it was actually powdered with green moss and tiny yellow buds on stalks. 

I recalled a long track at the back of the cottage that wound its way more than two miles down the slope, but then it was nearly a mile to the next village. There was not a human around, but all around the cottage there was new life, as I got used to mine - death of the old ways. I had left the darkness behind but to get my new life in order, I needed to properly cleanse away the old one.

I walked into an adjacent room - a kitchen that had a heavy wooden table against a wall and a single chair with a brown cushion. The rectangular, ceramic sink only had a cold water tap, so I pulled a large pan from the shelf, filled it with water and placed it on the gas stove. I found a shoe box containing burn ointment, crepe bandages, aspirin, various plasters, a bottle of cough syrup and safety pins. I filled the sink with the heated water and stripped off, marginally warmed by the sunlight streaming through the window. 

I soaked two large rags in the warm water and washed as best I could, dabbing at the blackening bruises and tending to the bloody wounds on my legs and arms. I bandaged the largest gashes on my knees and elbows, and put plasters over the deep cuts on my face. As I soaked and wrung out the rags, the water in the sink changed through several shades of pink until it turned a murky red. 

It will be the last time I’ll see this, I told myself, the very last time. 

Nisha P Postlethwaite is the author of The First Sense eBook available from several online retailers. To find out more visit

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