The Darkness: A Love Story


What if tonight, when you’re scared and alone, with one arm hanging off the edge of your bed, the darkness reaches up and holds your hand?

What if, instead of pulling back in fear, you hold onto the hand of darkness, and you tug. And what if you drag the darkness out from underneath the bed. It struggles and kicks, but you don’t let go. You drag it up onto your bed and throw your arms around it so that it can’t escape. You can hear both your heart and its heart pounding in fear but you don’t let go. And finally the darkness gives up the struggle and goes quiet.

Why did you touch my hand? you demand, trying to keep the fear out of your voice. Why are you always lurking down there, trying to scare the hell out of me?

The darkness doesn’t answer. Instead, it reaches out a hand you cannot see and touches your face. It’s a gentle, hesitant touch. The fingers of the darkness are cold, but not with malice, you realize. They are cold with fear, and longing.

The hand of the darkness moves again, takes your hand gently, and moves it to its own heart. You feel its heart beating frantically against your palm. 

Heart of darkness, you think. Like that story you had to read in high school, about the crazy guy up a river in Africa. You didn't get that story. Why did the guy have to go up a river to find darkness? You can find it anywhere. Like under your bed.

But that was before. When you thought darkness was your enemy. You know now what the darkness has felt all these nights, huddled under your bed, alone and longing and waiting but terrified also that this night would come. This night when you would finally meet face to face and the darkness would be forced to confess how it really feels about you. How much it needs you.

You pull your hand away. You’re afraid again, but not the same way as you were before. You want the darkness gone. You want it back where it was before, when it was the unknown. When it was the place you could fill with everything you were afraid of. And the darkness knows this. It moves away from you. It stands beside your bed, with no face that you can see. No eyes. No sign that you can read to tell you how it's feeling.

There’s a low rumbling from the darkness beyond the darkness. Then a pair of dim lights appear and grow. A vehicle of shadows pulls up beside your bed and stops. On its roof is a glowing silver disk, and on its side, in phosphorescent letters, the word Nightcab.

The darkness climbs into the backseat and the Nightcab drives off. You’re still sitting in your bed, and there’s light coming in through the window. A grey light, like dirty dishwater. It will be morning very soon. Time to get up and get ready for work.