Are You Afraid Of The Dark? By Adam Harris
Adam Harris is a 17 year old who has been here in Canada for 10 years since moving from England. He is a passionate writer who loves story craft. As well, he enjoys music, video games and rainstorms. In his written piece, Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, he represents self confidence and strength found within. Through the story, Jake, the protagonist, finds courage to stand up against fear.
The room spoke, a choked, scratchy growl.
The girl looked up from her FaceTime call. “Who’s there?”
On the other end of the phone, “who is it, El?”
The room spoke again.
“Hello?” Her voice starts to shake.
“Who’s there?” A definite tremble. “El, is someone there?”
“Are you…… scared of the dark, Ellie…?”
“I’m not scared of you.” She spat.
“Ellie, baby, what’s going on?”
“Don’t…… lie to me….”
“I’m not lying.” She protested.
The metal latch on the gate was melted. The boards on the fence around it were charred black. Jake grabbed the gate and shook it. It crumbled, the reddish soot staining his fingers. He stepped through the gap, the soot staining his shoes too. He walked up to the front door. The wood was just as burnt as the fence, and the handle was in the same misshapen state as the latch. Jake tapped the back of his hand against it, hissing in pain when he discovered it was still hot. This meant whoever had come in was probably still there. He pushed at the door with his foot and it splintered loudly.
“Ellie!” he winced as his voice broke with anxiety. The whole house was pitch black; every beam of moonlight frozen just outside the windows. Jake got his phone out and unlocked it, trying not to think about her scream. Whatever had made her scream also turned her phone off, because his calls and texts weren’t going through. He clicked on the flashlight and shone it into the front hall. Nothing changed. Still pitch black. The cold white light barely even left the phone before being swallowed by the darkness.
Shoving his phone back into his pocket, Jake stepped into the house blind. He reached for the light switch that was just inside the door, only to find a hole in the wall. Cursing in his head, Jake shuffled forward, guiding himself with the wall until he reached the stairs. One at a time. Take it easy. Two down. Five. Eight. Halfway. Breathe. Ten. Fifteen. One left. And of course, it was the last stair that creaked. Jake froze. Then, reasoning that kicking in the door and shouting probably gave him away, he kept going. He got up onto the landing. As he was easing his way to Ellie’s room, light! Red. Barely enough to be seen, seeping under the door. Jake froze again. “El?” he whispered.
“No.” A strangled, scratchy voice scuttled down the hall towards him. Chills crept up his spine, and a wave of cold made him recoil. The door to Ellie’s room flew backwards off its hinges, exploding into a thousand splinters. Dull red light spilled into the hallway, washing over Jake. He tried to breathe, but the air felt sluggish and prickly. A towering black figure loomed in the doorway. Pitch black, shaped like the end of a sword, silhouetted in bloody light. Jake tried to take a step back, but his limbs wouldn’t obey him. He stared at the figure in terror.
“What the hell are you?” he managed to croak, his voice shaky. A white crescent line broke the smooth black visage. It grew wider and longer, baring pearly white fangs. It was smiling.
“I would have…… thought you could have…… guessed by now…… Jake.” The voice grated on the inside of Jake’s skull, stabbing the back of his eyes. He tried to squeeze his eyes shut, but they wouldn’t move. Instead, they were forced to watch as the figure unfolded itself. Draped around it, breaking its true outline, were massive leathery wings, cruelly spiked at the ends. They stretched out ten feet either way, cutting through the walls with ease. The light behind it displayed the rest. Slender, bony arms, ending in vicious claws. Backwards knees on skeletal legs and huge taloned feet to support its towering frame. Every inch was covered in black leathery skin that glittered like obsidian. Above the terrifying grin, two eyes flared, glowing with cold blue fire. They narrowed, piercing the petrified child in front of them.
“I am…… the dark.” It growled. “Specifically, Jake……your dark.” It flexed its entire body, and the shockwave it caused made the entire world disintegrate around it, leaving a teenage boy floating in nothingness, staring down the living embodiment of his worst fear. Jake could barely breathe; he was so terrified. “Are you…… scared of the dark, Jake?” the creature asked. Jake couldn’t do anything, let alone respond. “She…… claimed she wasn’t.” It tilted its head slightly. Jake found his eyes drawn to the monster’s left. The source of the red light. Ellie. Laid out on her bed, the sheets missing. A scream of terror painted across her face. Her arms limp by her sides, her phone still in her hand. Three massive claw marks through her torso, rending her into pieces. Anywhere the blood had spilled and stained glowed red.
Jake looked back to the monster.
“Are you going to kill me, too?” He spat.
“Only…… if you are afraid. Do not…. lie to me, Jake.” It retorted. Jake didn’t try to respond. The monster tensed up, growling. It opened its mouth wide, and Ellie’s voice came out.
“It’s a test, Jakey, I’m testing you!” The red light glowed brighter, and a faint ghost of the house faded into view. Jake saw bloody claw prints tracked around the bed. They began to glow. He looked down. Reddish-black soot still coated his shoes. As he watched, they also began to glow. Looking behind him, he saw a trail of sooty footprints leading down the stairs, through the front hall, and out to the gate. Each of the prints glowed the same bloody red light as Ellie’s body. Jake looked back up at the monster.
“You’re testing me. To see if I can beat you.”
It appeared to tilt its head. “Yes.”
“That’s it. That’s all you are. Fear, needing to be conquered.” He muttered. The creature twitched,
“No one ever…. truly wins. You have to carry me…… forever. Until I carry you away.
“I don’t have to win to beat you. I only have to live without you dragging me down. Force you to chase me rather than cowering behind you.” Jake straightened, staring the monster down.
“No one ever…… really lets go. I always get the last word.” It snarled, visibly agitated. Jake grinned at it. Then a phone rang. The monster’s face clouded, an unfamiliar sensation overtaking it. Jake kept his eyes on the monster as he answered.
“Jakey? Did your internet die or something?” Ellie. Jake and the creature both turned to look at the bed. Bare. Clean. The dull red light fading steadily, being replaced by a warm pink.
“What…..how?” A shaky growl escaped the monster. It turned to face Jake, who just smirked and shrugged.
“No idea,” he said. “Can you give me a couple seconds, babe? I just have to do something quickly.”
“Yeah, for sure,” she said. “Just call me back. I love you.” Jake smiled.
“I love you too, El.” Hanging up, Jake looked back at the monster. “You try to prey on my fear, but you don’t know what I’ve been through. You think you can put me down with a vision and some scary thoughts. You couldn’t even imagine what I’ve gone through. What I’ve put myself through. What I’ve pushed through and helped others push through. I’m stronger than you could ever be. You try and prey on
me at my lowest, but you have no idea how many times I’ve fought out of it before. This time will actually be easier because I’m not fighting myself.” The creature screamed, starting to charge Jake down. Jake just smiled and put his fists up. A fight he knew he could win was a welcome change.