Dark

by Lori R. Lopez

A black hole is etched in my soul

Space has no end, no beginning

It bounces to the knife-edge of Nevermore

And beyond, perhaps too far

Past the scary old tree

At the end of the road

That you reach now and then; a dead end

I’ve been there.  Have you?

Yet I always seem to keep going

Over the barbed-wire fence, into tall grass

A stark field, the kind that’s just there

For no apparent reason

It’s always the same, like a dream

Tromping in black and white

Approaching a house

I wish I could stop

I am drawn inexorably to disaster

Like insects flock to a window or burning bulb

Please stop.  Why won’t you listen?

I climb the steps, cross the porch, turn the handle

Forgetting to knock, as if I already know

The answer

Crossing the threshold with bated breath

Asking for trouble, fearing the worst

We never fear the best

And the house is so dark

Inside and out

It chills my veins and spine

Forgive me, I can’t look

But must and shuffle toward the parlor

The man in his chair, eyes staring

At something that isn’t there

Doesn’t notice me

Or hear the clock tick on a mantel

Crimson staining his white shirt

From numerous cuts

Splatters the cortex of my brain

I doubt it will wash out

His eyes haunt me as I retreat

Seeing them in my skull

I fumble down a hall

The dinner table is set

A lady and two children sit

Like a museum exhibit

Faces on their plates

I don’t stay for dessert

Fleeing upstairs as if to hide

Under the bed of an elderly matron

Stretched primly on the chenille spread

Fully dressed in sensible shoes and hat

Eyes closed, her expression passive

No sign of blood but I’m too late

A door crashes in below me

And I stand frozen next to a corpse

As boots echo through the house

He’s coming and I can’t move

I can’t wake up

It isn’t a dream

It’s dark

I should have kept it to myself

These memories

I crouched in the closet

Listening while he entered the room

And found me

I sneezed from the dust

And nervousness

Slapping palms to my mouth

Tardily, after the fact

With a growl he yanked the door

I was never good at Hide-And-Seek

He always won . . .

We are eternal

That’s the first thing you realize

On the other side.

 

 

~ Initially published in THE SIRENS CALL, Issue Thirteen, “Women In Horror Special Edition”, February 2014; also my collection POETIC REFLECTIONS:  THE QUEEN OF HATS and my horror collection ODDS AND ENDS, 2014