The Small Dark Room


Once, my existence was confined to a small, dark room. In the room was a button. When I pressed the button the room was filled with light. It was a warm, sunny light, which filled every crevice of the room with its brilliance. The light made me happy, and made me feel safe. The problem was, after a few minutes, the light would begin to fade. Soon the room would be completely dark again and I would have to press the button again. My life consisted of always getting to that button when the darkness began to fall. The darkness was scary. It was tiring getting to that button hour after hour. And in this life, it was always, always night.

I heard people say that if you could endure one night in the dark, without pushing that button, you could experience Day. In Day, the button would not be needed. It would always be light, and there would be no dark to be afraid of. People said that when it was Day, you could actually leave the room. The button was still there, but you would not be reliant on it anymore. I remembered my life before the button, and looked at my friends who lived in the Day. And I knew that was what I wanted, more than anything. I hated it always being night; even though I had my button to light the world it was still depressing living from brightness to darkness, never being free, and never seeing the sun. And so one day I decided to stop pushing the button, to try and be free.

At first, the darkness was a little uncomfortable. I could not see a thing, but then again the light had only been out for a short while. I knew what was in the room, no monsters there, right? Just the dark. But then, as the night progressed, scary things began to happen. I heard strange noises in the dark. Sometimes ghosts and apparitions would appear to me. And each time, no matter how much I wanted to be brave, something scared me so bad that I would reach for that button again. I never made it for more than a few hours in the dark. I would run screaming for the button, and give it a good smack. Thank God!!! The light would be warmer and more lovely than it had ever been. But then, as always, the light would begin to fade. And I would realize to my horror that it was midnight again. And I was even more afraid of the encroaching dark than ever.

One day I heard of a group of people who had made it through to Day. I wanted to get out of my terrible night, and so I asked them how they made it to dawn, and then to sunrise and Day. And they told me some secrets. They told me how to deal with the ghosts who would appear in the dark, how the room would change and how all sorts of horrible things would happen. They warned me that it would be worse than a nightmare at times, but that I could do it. Best of all, they said they would help me make it through the night. This is the story of how it happened, one minute at a time.

11:59 pm. I push the button for the Very Last Time. I am very afraidÖ..

12:00 midnight. The room is dark. Not so bad. I can do this.

12:15 am Hearing scary noises. Scared, but Iím ready for this. I can do it.

12:30 am A man appears out of nowhere.

"Push the button!!!!" he screams. "Arenít you afraid of the monsters? Arenít you scared of the demons? Push the button! It will be light again!!!! Just do it!!!!". He is scaring me.

I look at him fiercely. He goes away. He comes back many times during the night.

1:00 am The floor has turned to snakes. I am horrified. I can hear them slithering around. I want to turn on the light. I need to see them. I need them to go away. I ask my friends and they say this is normal, that it will get better.

1:30 am I can hear moans in the dark. The snakes are still here. I think this room is haunted. I am so scared of the dark. I want to push the button so the light will make the ghosts go away. I keep telling myself I am headed towards the dawn.

1:45 am Something cold and dead brushes my face. I scream. I reach for the button. My friends tell me Iím doing a great job. They tell me the noises are just phantom noises. They tell me to think of the coming dawn. The snakes are still around my legs. I think the floor is getting wet and sticky, I canít tell. The noises are getting stranger. I am shivering with fear and revulsion.

2:00 am If it werenít for my friends I would have gone insane or hit the button hours ago. I begin to think that the floor is wet and sticky with the blood of people who have killed themselves in here. My friends tell me itís just my own sweat. I know that if I hit the button it will all go away. The noises are unbearable. My only comfort is knowing I have made it this far. I tell myself I can make it a little longer. I break down in tears from exhaustion.

2:15 am Itís getting a little better now. The dark is still filled with bizarre monsters and strange sounds.

2:30 am I look out the window to see if the sun is coming up yet. It is still pitch dark. I cannot see a thing.

2:45 am The scariest part of night. I sense that I am surrounded by ghouls. I am trying to be strong even though I am beside myself with fright.

Suddenly a woman appears in the room. She is holding a candle. She looks like a very competent lawyer or something, and looks very kind. I am so relieved to see her, and I invite her to sit down.

She explains that she has contacted the owners of the room and that they have agreed to make an exception for me. Since I am experiencing so much fear, they will let me push the button once without setting the clock back to midnight (right back where I started). She said that they have been watching me, and since Iíve been so brave, they will allow me a little bit of light to "get me through the night".

"I thought that once I hit the button, I go right back to where I started no mater what", I say.

"No, no, we have made a special exception in your case," she says, smiling. She looks so caring and professional. I begin to believe her. She seems completely trustworthy.

I look over the contract she has brought. It all looks very legal and above-board. I get to push the button once, and the clock is not set back to midnight. It sounds extremely sensible. I am listening to the noises in the dark. There is a big bump from the darkest corner.

"What was that?" I say.

"That was a ghoul," she says pleasantly. "It will rip your throat out and kill you if it gets you. So not to rush things, but perhaps you want to sign the contract right NOWÖ".

I look into her eyes. I want to believe her. I reach for the pen. And then I see behind her smile, this evil green glimmer. And I smell death on her clothes. With horror, I realize that she has been sent by the Nicodemon. She is pure evil. She leans in closer, and hands me the pen.

I pull back. "Get away!" I scream. "Get out of here at once!!!!".

"Oh no, sweetie" she says in her pleasant voice of death. "You asked me to sit down. You read my contract. Iím going to stay a while". I know she is in league with the Demon but I canít seem to move or scream. I am transfixed with her voice, her glinting eyes, her tempting smile. "Why donít we sit and chat awhile my dear?" she smiles sweetly. It seems like two hours pass. I cannot move. I have never been so scared. Crazily, I still think about signing the contract she is holding. I think of how hitting the button would make her go away.

Finally I summon all of my strength, and with great effort I am able to make myself realize that she is evil and full of lies. Finally, when I admit this to myself, she stands up to leave . "Iíll be back for you!!!!!!" she shrieks as she leaves. I smell her horrible stench after she goes and I want to vomit.

I am shaking with the effort and terrified, but I realize I have won a battle. I am slightly proud.

3:00 am Still afraid but hanging in there. Telling myself Iíve made it this far. Trying to ignore the snakes and ghouls. When I ignore them they are not so bad.

3:15 am The man keeps coming back. He is not as scary anymore.

4:00 am I think I can finally see the dawn rising in the far distance. I am completely exhausted. But I think , this is it! I have made it to Day! I am very excited.

4:15 am A little old lady appears. She is very sweet looking and gentle. "Hi honey!" she says.

"Hi there" I say, glad for some company.

"Rough night, huh?" she says.

"Iíll say", I agree. I feel relaxed, relieved, happy, so proud of myself.

"And youíve done such a great job," she says. I thank her for the compliment. "Such a great job, " she says, "that you deserve to hit that button one more time. Just to see it once before itís gone. It was such a lovely light wasnít it?" she says sweetly.

"It was a lovely light," I say. I look fondly at the button, and then look outside to the greying sky, which is filling with a dirty pale light. I think of my brilliant warm light and how it used to cheer me up instantly.

"You do deserve it," she says.

We chat for some time about what a great job Iíve done getting through the night. She is a very sweet and understanding lady. We stroll around the room for a while, and then I look down. When I do, I realize my hand is on the button. I look into the nice ladyís eyes, and suddenly I see the glint of evil green grinning back at me. "Why donít you push the button now?" she growls, in a voice that sounds like the grave.

"AARGH!" I yell. I jerk my hand off the button. The lady vanishes in a puff of noxious fumes. But her words were powerful poison and it is a while before I can walk away from the button. I am terrified by the close call.

4:15 am Itís getting brighter now.

5:00 am Things are going OK. I have survived a few more close calls. The old lady came back, and so did the lawyer lady, but I fought them off. The snakes and ghouls I realize were only in my head. Things are looking normal. I can see again!

6:00 am Sunrise! I never thought I would see it. Itís only a matter of time before I get to see the Day. I realize I will never need my horrible button again. I am so relieved I could just cry. I am full of gratitude and thanks. I am so proud of myself, so humble. Iíve come so far.

And then I hear the voice. It is icy cold and gravelly, and sounds like a thousand monsters whispering together. It comes from everywhere and nowhere, it echoes through my brain.

"There are monsters everywhere, my friend," it says. "There are monsters which can attack you in the grey light of dawn, monsters under the bed at sunrise, and monsters which will haunt you invisibly during the Day. These monsters can only be conquered by pressing that magic button. Did you think that daylight would protect you? Oh no. Never forget that the monsters are ALL AROUND, my friend. And the button is the only thing that will keep them away FOREVER. So watch out where you step, and listen wherever you goÖ".

I am chilled. I am terrified. I look to make sure the button is not far away. It is still there, and I am slightly comforted by this. The sunrise is not as safe as it seemed.

6:15 am I look around for day-monsters. Sometimes I can see them lurking under the bed. I had no idea that I would be afraid after sunrise. I miss my brilliant warm light. Just waiting for Day to come.

7:00 am. Sun keeps rising. Doing much better now. Monsters are less frightening. Really beginning to feel positive.

7:15 am Getting very bright. Feeling great. Knock at the door. Itís the neighbour.

"Hey lady," he says. "Howya doing in here? Listen, I dropped off because I noticed your light wasnít on. I just wanted to let you know that if you push that button over there, you can see a whole lot better!"

"Yeah I know", I say, "but when you push the button, it stays night. The longer I leave it off, the brighter it gets, and eventually itíll be as bright as Day."

"Well, I hate to tell you this," he says, "but you know, it never really gets as bright in the Daytime as that light was. I mean, I tried that whole Day thing and it ainít what itís cracked up to be. Sure, the light gets kind of bright during the Day, but then there are cloudy days, and whatnot. And you can never really read a book with the same amount of clarity as you get with that button".

"Really?" I say. "I did not know this. Because you know, I am a big reader".

"Oh, yeah, that Day light, itís never the same! You canít read by Day light!!! Not the way you can with this baby you got right here. I tell you what -Ėif you want, I can jimmy this light so that it doesnít get dark at all! That way, itíll be on all the time, and youíll NEVER know itís night outside. What do you think?"

"You can do that?" I say. "I mean, I tried that before. I tried a LOT of different things to make it not seem so bad. But I still knew it was night. That light still kept going out."

"No, no, no -- that was last time. I guarantee you I can fix it so that you will never feel scared that itís night, and that light will always be on. Believe me, it beats the hell out of Day. I promise you. I mean look at this crappy light", he said, jerking his thumb towards the weak sunrise.

"Well, OK" I said. "What do I have to do?"

"Just push the button once, so I can get it going, then youíll be all set," he said. "And if you donít like it, you can always try this Day thing another time, right?" He grinned pleasantly, and gave me a friendly wink.

I looked him over to size him up. He was really a good-looking guy, so friendly and polite. It was obvious he knew what he was talking about, and he had a very honest face. Perhaps, I thought, my friends were wrong about this Day thing? I mean, here was a guy who could just rig up my button to fix it up just like that. And it sounded like he knew from experience that the button light was better and brighter than Day. Plus he had promised that it would work. Why would this guy lie to me?

He was still standing there, smiling at me.

"OK" I said, "What the heck". And I reached to shake his hand.

"Excellent" he grinned. But as he smiled I got a glimpse of what was between his lips, and saw that his mouth was full of maggots. Suddenly I realized that he reeked of rotting corpses and death, and when I touched his hand, it felt like cold icy death. I looked into his eyes and saw that I was staring face-to-face with none other than the Nicodemon.

"Nicodemon!!!" I shrieked.

"Yes, my dear" he growled, and as he grinned at me, moving his face closer to mine, his breath smelled like ashes and cancer. "Just push that button and Iíll fix that little button for you RIGHT AWAY". The maggots were still spilling out of his mouth, and to my horror I realized that his body was made up of decaying flesh. Every surface of his body was covered with sores, and from the sores leaked pus and phlegm. I looked down and saw that I was still clutching his rotting, deadened hand.

"Argh!" I yelled. "You are a LIAR!!!!!! That stuff is not true! What you say is never true!!! You canít fix that button! If I push it Iíll be back in the night! The button will not make the monsters go away! It never did! All it did was keep me in eternal night!!!!! NOW GO AWAY AND GET OUT OF HERE!!!!!! YOU BASTARD!!!!!"

And I kicked him right in the balls.

"AAAAAUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!" shrieked the Nicodemon. With a cloud of poisonous fumes and toxic gases he began to melt into a puddle of phlegm, until nothing was left of him except a small pile of ash.

"Ha". I said. I swept up the ash and put it outside. I had won this battle, and I deserved to be proud. I had outwitted the most clever villain of all. And I had done it all by myself (with a little help from my friends).

But I knew he would be back.


Epilogue

Sometime Around High Noon

Well the sun has finally come up and itís Day. Itís everything my friends promised it would be. The sun is out, the birds are singing, and itís simply glorious. Eventually, I even walked out of that small dark room, and left the button behind.

The best part about it is, the sun never goes down here. It just stays high noon all day long, and the sun is shining almost all the time. My friends are here with me, and we never have to go back into that horrible night.

The Demon came back a few more times, in a few more disguises. He almost fooled me that night that I went through the dark, and he might fool me again. But Iíve got my friends behind me and they tell me about the different tricks he likes to use. He is a crafty, conniving, horrible, evil spirit, and I know that he will always do everything in his power to try and get me back.

But I will be ready, and waiting. And God willing, Iíll keep outwitting that son-of-a-bitch.

THE END.

by Laura from the QuitNet


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