The Safety of Darkness (Short Story)

She felt darkness approaching upon that godforsaken place. A frigid shade began to slowly erase from her mind the warm noon sunlight that rested upon her exposed neck.

Her head was heavy. She felt it pulled downward toward the earth below, as if her sorrowful gaze was being swallowed up by the dirt beneath her.

She dare not look up.

She dare not see what they would do to him.

She remembered the first time she saw his face. She had been unaware until that very moment what it meant to be alive. It was as if she had spent the first two decades of life as nothing more than a walking crypt, frail and fragile, sorrowful and empty. But then, looking across a merchant table, things were suddenly different. His sharp brown-eyed-gaze met hers and spring blossomed beneath the wasteland of her winter. With a sudden heave her long dormant lungs found breath and expanded for what felt like the the first time. Life exploded inside her, and love and warmth too. She felt safe and new, in the light of his Sun.

But that was so far away now. The Sun was dimming quickly, and she knew as well as he did that it would soon be extinguished, and her safety would be gone.

The crowd around her grew excited. They laughed and jeered in anxious anticipation. She could feel them pushing around her, frantically fighting for the best view. Their eyes looked ravenous and hungry, evil, and menacing, as they scoured the city for any sign of the condemned. She was disgusted by it all, and by their reaction to it. Some of the same ones who had celebrated her marriage with wine and feast, now were half starved for blood and death.

Their excitement continued in waves, as she tried desperately to fall backward in the tide of commotion. It was but a feeble attempt to escape the reality of the moment, yet still, she wanted to be swallowed up by it. She wanted to drown beneath the current of bodies around her. It was all she wanted anymore. a long time ago, even before she met him, she has wanted children, and a home, and a garden. Now she only wanted this one thing, to be pulled under by the vicious tide and never resurface.

The sounds around her grew louder, a sign that the business at hand was finally commencing. There were shouts and cries, but she could not make out what they said.  Their yells were muffled and incoherent, like a persistently deafening buzz in her ear that she couldn’t escape. It grew louder and louder, and she couldn’t bear it anymore. Their cheers impaled her head in such a maddening way that she found herself screaming aloud for them to make it all stop. But then, it did stop. And in its place, there was silence.

Beautiful, sweet silence.

The silence was so pure that she believed at first that she had become deaf. It made logical sense to her. The steadily increasing crescendo of noise had damaged her ears so much that they had finally, and mercifully, burst. She was convinced that this was case, and even welcomed it. This meant that she wouldn’t have to suffer the sound to come. The one that she had been dreading.

The silence would be her safety. It would be her sanctuary. And for a brief moment she felt the faint feeling of relief.

Safety, however, was not found in silence, and her relief was short lived. A booming voice echoed out among the crowd and her worst fear was realized. Before she could cover her ears she heard a terrible slicing sound, followed by a profoundly weighted thud upon the ground. This was followed by an eruption of noise from crowd.

She knew it was over.

And they were applauding it.

She would never see his face again. She would never feel his embrace. She would never feel life in its fullest form. They had taken her safety, with it, they had killed her along with him.

She slowly fought her way out of the now ravenous crowd, never looking up.

After a tumultuous battle, she escaped the horde and broke free from their mob-like grasp.

She paced quickly up the street, and then turned down a side alley, clinging to the slim veil of shadows that ran along the cobblestone pathway. At the end of the alley, she entered through the door of the place she had once felt safe. The place where they had been married, and the place that they had worshiped the deity who failed to save them.

A priest was waiting at the altar, and beckoned toward her. He had been expecting her, knowing of the execution, and assumed that her emotional state would be severely devastated, and in need of counsel and prayer.

She averted her gaze away from him, ignoring his calls to her, and instead took a sharp left, which led to a dimly lit stair case. The priest, finding this as odd, started after her, saying something that sounded very distant and foreign to her.

At the top of the stairs, 4 flights up, she found a slim landing. At the end of it was a beautiful stained glass fixture that depicted the patron saint of the cathedral. She had once thought it was beautiful. Her husband had even wrote poems about it, saying the the martyrdom of the figure embellished inspired him in life and faith.

Now though, she was the one that felt martyrs inspiring touch. He called out to her in a poetic way. He called out to her in her husbands voice.

Without hesitation, she walked to it, lifting a heavy stone that was resting beside the window. With one strong heave, she forcefully slammed it through the chest of the image of the martyr, and the glass shattered around her in a violent storm of shards that cut her fragile body.

Somewhere behind her, the priest yelled out to her. It may have been a reprimand, or a maybe a warning, but to her, it sounded miles away. She politely ignored it, and then calmly stepped out into the real safety of the darkness.

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