The circle of light above the boy blinded him as he groped. He shifted his gaze
from the light, down to the darkness around him. As the transitions became more painful,
the boy simply stopped looking up.
He spun slowly, trying to sense what was around him. The boy cautiously lifted a
hand and reached to his side. The blackness swallowed his hand as it extended outward.
His heart raced in the moments it took for his hand to make contact.
His fingers slid across a smooth, yet uneven surface. It gave no sense of what it
was, other than being cold and damp. The boy turned quickly, leaning in the direction
that his hand had made contact. As he pivoted, he found no deviation in the surface.
It was uniform in its irregularity, unyielding. As he finished pivoting, the boy also
discovered that it surrounded him.
It was then that the boy heard the sloshing below his knees. He could not feel his
feet. The boy slowly crouched and dipped a finger down below his thigh. What he
touched was like ice, yet it yielded to the finger’s penetration. As he lifted the numb
finger, drips echoed loudly around him.
He began to pivot quickly in place. He spun, and spun, and spun. The water
below him formed a whirlpool, which tugged at the boy’s calves. His foot snagged an
uneven stone on the surface below, tipping the boy to the side. He instinctively reached
out and braced himself as he fell.
As he came to rest against the hard surface, the boy inhaled deeply. A smell
permeated his nose, then his pallet. He gagged reflexively as he pushed himself away
from the wall. His hands grasped his knees as he crouched in the darkness, the water still
sloshing beneath him. By now, the smell was deep within him. He wretched dryly,
staggering as he attempted to stand.
The boy did not recognize the smell as poo or pee. It was more foul. It was
fouler than the breeze that sometimes blew over the bog. It was almost the opposite of a
smell. The odor of no life, stillness. It was smell of nothingness.
Something welled-up within the boy. As his body stiffened, he felt pain in parts
of his body. He could not remember why he hurt, and the pain was somewhat deadened
by his cold and dank surroundings. Yet, the pain was there. And it became more
pronounced as that Something continued to build-up within him.
When the Something erupted, it seemed to flow through the boy; from his numb
toes to his aching head. As it erupted, the boy lifted his face to the light circle above him.
His eyes opened wide first, then his jaw unhinged like a garden snake…
The scream rose upward, like a shot from a cannon. It climbed like a bird riding
an updraft on a summer day. It rolled like a storm up the stone walls. It rose, and rose,
When it reached The Light, it continued to rise.
Then, it began to fade.
High above, as the scream dissipated like shadow eaten by light. A raven flew
above the hole where the scream erupted. The sun felt good on his dark feathers as he
drifted care-free above the earth. Yet, the sound irritated the raven. He felt obliged to
vocalize his discontent.
The raven’s cries drifted slowly down, echoing dully along the stone walls in the
ground. The boy’s unhinged jaw creaked back into position as he lowered his head. His
eyes were still wide open as he contemplated the darkness around him. He was
momentarily startled by the sound of a drip below him. He lifted a dirty hand to his face,
and realized that the drip came from one of his wide-eyes.
His eyes remained wide as he lowered himself into the murky, cold water at his
feet. The icy bite was temporary, but the numbing chill that followed was comforting.
As he settled into place, the water stopped moving around him. A din of silence
enveloped the boy. He breathed-in deep of the lifelessness around him.
High above, the raven angled off toward a berry patch on a nearby hill. A cloud
meandered carelessly infront of the sun, casting the countryside in a gray pall.
Far below, the lighted dimmed as the boy remained still. He did not notice. He
no longer looked upward.