This story is one of the February Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
I fold in upon myself,
A closed book no longer worth reading,
No longer worth trying to understand
Dark slimy walls drip with tar, leaching with misery, my soul at rest
Within these walls, but not at peace.
I feel myself sinking lower and lower into the abyss, and my eyes glimpse upward,
Catching reflections of sunlight, shards of yellow glass disappearing into thick dark ooze.
Its brightness stings my eyes.
I’d rather remain here, untouched by the light, entombed in a void of my own creation.
But I still question,
Where am I? and How did I get here?
To this place of confusion, anger, remorse, and worst of all
For myself and what I have become,
Nothing more than pale arms reaching for the sky and catching nothing but stale air,
Once breathed and exhaled in a hateful word,
And thoughts clouded by ruminations of what I could have been.
I am a failure, and rightfully so, I belong in a failure’s tomb, an abyss.
I am Nothingness.
Tears emerge, clutching my throat with regret,
They flow around my crumpled form, waves of soft benevolence,
Welling up, carrying me in swells,
A vault of water threatening to drown me.
But instead it carries me upward,
Ripples of sadness becoming tides of relief
Fingers of warm sunlight stretch to reach my untouched face
No longer do they burn my eyes, but caress that which has for so long
Been hidden from the sun.
They wipe my tears with gentle strokes, and ease my weary hands from a wet and penitent face, reminding me,
You are not who you once were.
But you can be better.
Healing is waiting.
Yet a tarry feeling emerges from my chest,
Creeping up my throat,
Urging me to stop the flood and clutch those blackened walls,
To remain in darkness.
To clasp regret in my hands, my control, and let its black tendrils creep into my soul,
Until I disappear under waves of black water.
To swim to the top, to clutch the edge,
To allow those sanguine curls to lift me over, leaving behind a familiar yet torturing world
To cast off despondency and grasp at hope,
However far it may be.