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Darkness



Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

I think it was several weeks ago when it started. The electronics in my house started flickering on and off. At first, it was just a minor annoyance. I’d be on the internet, and my computer would shut down. Or I’d be cooking something in the oven, and it’d turn off halfway through. I called an electrician, who said that the wiring in my house was in tip-top shape. Not believing him, I called several more electricians, all of whom said the same thing. I tried using less electricity in the house, thinking I was overloading it. Eventually, I learned to live with it.

What sparked my attention was when my co-workers began to complain of the same thing. The woman in the cubicle over from mine confided in me that her iPod had died, with a full battery, then resumed working minutes later. Soon, we were hearing bits and pieces about it on the news. They told us that the problem would be fixed soon, and nothing more. I soon found out that it wasn’t just our area afflicted. Many areas across the country- and, later on I’d find out, across the world- were being affected.

Things began to get worse. By now, many were used to just one or two of their electronic devices not working at once. But when they began to all shut off at once, and then not work for hours on end, the panic grew. There was no explanation. The media couldn’t tell us why, the electricians couldn’t tell us why. Then the generators started failing. Most schools and office buildings, and even some private homes, have generators for when the electricity goes out. The generators were working just fine, and then, like their electronic relatives, they began to not work. Children had to go to school in complete darkness on some days. I even remember having to navigate my way through my office building with a flashlight; before the flashlight stopped working, of course.

When the lights stopped turning back on, people began to panic. No matter what was done, some homes were completely left in the dark. Panic set in. Without any media access, people were quite literally in the dark about things. Then the madness started. People screaming that they were hearing or seeing things. The woman in the cubicle over from mine had a manic episode. I assume that it was fairly bad, because she stapled her own eyelids. Or so I heard, since by then our building had completely lost power.

Society began to break. Electronics keep our species in touch, in the light, and entertained. Without these things we weren’t seeing what was happening in the world. I stopped going to work. No one was really going anywhere anymore; people were staying at home, stockpiling food and survival necessities, and taking care of their loved ones who were suffering from delusions. During the day- the only time where there was light, now- I saw a man collapse on my lawn. I rushed out to help him, but as soon as I got near him, he started screaming and clawing at the air.
“Oh god, the lights! We need the lights! Turn them back on, please!”
I was afraid to approach him. I took a few steps closer, until what he said stunned me.
“They’ll come if we don’t have the lights! Come for us all! Man, woman, child!”
I felt my hair stand up on end. I’m a rational, church going man, but the way this man was screaming, the way his eyes looked, I felt that he may not be just suffering from a delusion.
I would have asked the man more, but he collapsed, his heart giving out to another attack. He lay on his face in the light of my lawn. I didn’t want to leave him there, but I couldn’t call the police, and I’d never seen his face in this neighborhood. I ended up dragging him to the police station across town, even though I knew the cops wouldn’t be there. By the time I made my way back, the sun was setting, its yellow and orange penumbra stretching over the horizon as night approached. I felt my hair stand on end again as I rushed to my house, slamming the door shut behind me.

An hour later, I was almost drifting off to sleep- I didn’t do much else, these days- when a godless shriek of pure agony ripped the air like a cleaver through steam. A bloodcurdling scream, coming from a few houses over. I shot up in bed, and bolted to the house. A few others joined me as we waited to see what was wrong. However, no one came to the door, no one cried for help. One of the men who had come to help decided to check it out. He busted down the door, and disappeared into the darkness inside. A few moments later, we heard his scream, too. But, as we were closer this time, we also heard brand new noises.

The sickening suction and then tearing sound of flesh being torn from bone, of two-toned inhuman laughter, of blood splattering the walls like the canvas of a modern artist.

My next memory is arriving back home. If I think deeply on it, I remember seeing one of them, through one of the house’s windows. Just it’s bright golden eyes, of course. The being itself was black, matching the darkness it lives in. Of course, it did have those teeth. Oh God, those teeth. When it smiled at me through that window, I saw them. Shiny and white and sharp, the entrails of innards of its victims hanging from them like streamers.
And now here I am. I’ve locked myself in my room, only the moonlight from my yellowed circular window to guide my pen as I write this.The panic outside is audible; they’re trying to fight whatever that monster was, but failing. I hear more and more screams as those who were too brave or too stupid (One part brave, two parts fool) to run attack the beast. I’m almost certain that if I looked I would dry heave, the scent of blood was almost pungent in the air, even at this height. Could they really take pleasure in killing these humans? What kind of monster would enjoy that? More crunching of bones, more blood staining the streets. It’s all I’ve had the pleasure of listening to for the past few hours. I’m surprised I haven’t completely lost my goat, yet.
I’ve had time to think, too. This is why we’re afraid of the dark. These things ARE the dark, the worst of it. They’re the reason that children have to sleep with a nightlight on. Light kills them. That’s why they don’t attack during the daylight. Or whenever there’s even the smallest amount of light, even coming from a computer screen. They’re careful about appearing to humans- When it’s not mealtime, of course- but now I know why everyone’s afraid of the dark when they’re a kid. I remember, now, seeing one of them out of the corner of my eye when I was five years old. My mother told me I was just seeing things, that it wasn’t real, that it didn’t exist.

If I can hold out for a few more hours, daylight will come. Maybe help will come. But they won’t be able to attack me. I’ll be safe. But that probably won’t happen, since I can hear them downstairs, now. I can hear them as they run through the rooms searching for their next game. Next kill. Next feast. They’re knocking over tables and chairs, tearing up the walls. They’re coming for me, and that deadbolt locked door isn’t going to hold them off. I’m going to suffer the same fate as those people in the streets.

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The quiet thud of my pen dropping onto my bed jolts me upright. I toss the padded paper aside, grabbing onto the Chefs knife that I had taken upstairs with me I wait.

I can hear their claws scraping at the door, tapping the knob and receiving a pleasant clinging noise. Like when you hit a spoon and a pan together. I hear another two toned giggle, one tone as pleasant and innocent as that of a child, the other as dark and as sinister as the devil himself.
I grip the knife that I had stolen from the kitchen on my way up, clutching it with a sense of false courage. I know that this won’t do anything more than the guns did in the street. Absolutely nothing.

My knuckles are white, and I know I should be focused on survival, but all I can think about is why? Why did this have to happen? What turned the lights out? Was it just our time as humans to go? Was it just time for our species to end?

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My thoughts were traveling at a speed I could barely comprehend, and then they all stopped as the horrific creaking noise of my door opening slowly tears through my pseudo confidence, my eyes meeting one of theirs. I drop the knife, fingers losing their ability to hold on any longer.

They’re approaching me, moving slowly, their teeth curled in hideous grins. I fumble for the knife, swinging it wildly as they approach. It moves through their bodies like air.

It’s funny, the last thing I remember is my mother telling me that they aren’t real. That they don’t exist.

And you can’t kill what doesn’t exist.

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85 thoughts on “Darkness”

  1. Why not just use candles? This story would be better if it didn’t seem so rushed, had proper grammar, and less un-needed repetition or parts being explained that don’t need to be explained

  2. wow. when i read this it was a weird day at school the generators had gone out and would not come on until may last class. a thought passed me like the lights would go out again. hope not. every man for himself!

  3. Good concept, but poor execution. Still would mske one hell of a movie though. Although I have a feeling these Are some kind of weird, mutated Vashta Nerada. And that idea blows.

  4. Oh god..it’s 1:32 am and I thought I heard something while reading this then I thought I had my phone light as soon as I lifted my phone to check my room.. The battery ran out.. I almost died of fear haha

  5. Candles?
    No thank you, haven’t you even heard of candle jack?
    What if after you light a candle, then he shows up an

  6. The story is nice and creepy enough, although I would be actually more creeped out by electricity stopping to exist than by monsters I could kill with a match and a candle (which is weird nobody even tries to use).
    There are a few things that needs refining (“entrails of innards” is one, and I really don’t believe you can hear the sound of blood splattering walls, if it does sound at all it most likely isn’t “bloodsplatter, bloodsplatter” to let you know what is splashing) and a structural flaw: the narrator is actually writing the story, and he says so, but at some point he stops writing… still we keep reading. How?

  7. Good story, but a few problems. First of all, did everyone just forget about candles and torches? Second, I felt like there could have been a little more explanation behind why the lights went out. There were a few cliches but they didn’t really ruin the experience.9.5/10

  8. I Hate Assumptions

    BUT WHO WAS CANDLE?

    Seriously, though. Oil and wax still exist. Everyone owns a candle. When the power starts to go, companies would just start making more candles, yes?

    And if a society would collapse because their iPods don’t work anymore, then that society deserves to be eaten by a more adaptable species.

  9. From the viewpoint before Edison – “…then my candle kept flicking in and out, until no fire in my house was ever lit again…”

  10. This actually isn’t all that scary if you come to think of it. “you can’t kill what doesn’t exist”. that’s really smart. But the thing that stumped me, was when that monster was killing people. A comparison to this would be people. You can’t kill people, but people can kill you. Or food. You can’t kill food, but food can kill you {over eating, not eating }.
    The only thing that scared me was when you saw the eyes, and the people hanging from it’s nails like streamers.
    But, This, my kind friend, is truly inspirational and a wonderful story.
    If I were you, I would stick to professionally writing fiction , or maybe horror stories.
    all ending with, you can’t kill what doesn’t exist, or ” When you’re smart enough to realise that what you have isn’t real, you’re just fooling yourself because anything is possible in this world”
    ^.•

  11. This is by far one of the greatest pastas I’ve ever read. That part about the computer screen, truly chilling. Well done sir.

  12. CreatureFeature

    Someone who has a manic episode is more likely to go on a massive shopping spree than to cause self harm by stapling their eyes shut. What you want is a psychotic break.

  13. Also, one thing that seriously irked me — “the entrails of innards.” I think I audibly sighed at that.

  14. The fact that this story has received such overwhelmingly positive reviews only intensifies my disdain for it. The idea behind it was unique enough, but the story itself falls flat with a resonant thud. There is little to no backstory, and whatever of it there is comes off as vague and rushed. As a reader I got the feeling that this was written in one go without any further editing; it reads as if the author itself didn’t bother reading it. As a writer, the thought of finally lifting a pen from paper without immediately reading, editing, and re-reading (like a literary lather, rinse, and repeat) is uncomfortable. To those that have said this would make a good movie — how? Granted, the plot is fairly original, but everything else about this was too dull to merit reading a second time, let alone watching onscreen.
    If I’m coming across as harsh, I apologize, but honestly seeing the outpour of overzealous celebration for this lackluster story upset me. Wow that was an overencumberedvsentence. Anyway, I feel my comment helps balance the more… Enthusiastic ones. Decent effort, but needs a lot of polishing. 6/10 for originality.

    1. I’m a writer too, and I think you argue a good point, but if you were like me, you couldn’t read your own story over. Every time I read my stories over, 1. I know what’s going to happen and get bored and so my attention span fails and I stop, and 2. everytime I manage to read it over I change it. Then the next day I read it again and change it even further. See, for me, everyday my style changes. I’m very fickle about it, I’d say. I can see this from your eyes, understand what you’re saying, but going by my own opinion I would have to say this is one of my favorite pastas. I think that it’s very creative, and considering, this is much better than some of the pastas I’ve seen on here. I give it a good 8/10 because it could be better, but it is still good.

  15. So… Overgrown Vashta Neurada? That’s rubbish; the Doctor said they survived on roadkill instead of humans most of the time!

  16. Apparently they forgot about fire? The thing that kept everyone safe from the dark before electricity. Light some torches, bonfire, something

  17. Soo… flashlights run on electricity… interesting… i always thought it used batteries? Good concept but some flawed parts here and there

    1. Anything that produces electrical energy was affected. Like how the iPod died with a full battery. The flashlight also could have died because the battery needed to be replaced. At least I think batteries produce electrical energy… Hmmm…

  18. One Doesn't Simply Put His Name Here

    Good one, seriously! 9/10

    But all the way reading this pasta I was like: WTF, why is nobody using fire?

  19. I liked the concept and story, but I feel like there needed to be an explanation of all the power going out. If these monsters are the cause of it, why did they wait so long to make their move? And why haven’t they attacked people when the power went out before (especially before the time of cell phones and tablets, when people didn’t really have any source of light besides a flashlight). Since this is being told through the perspective of one man, I guess it makes sense he wouldn’t have these answers, but it still makes parts of the story questionable.

  20. NotSoAnonymous

    It played very well on the imagination. The brief description doesn’t actually tell us much, but it is left to the reader to gather the bits based on their own, primal fear of the dark. As nice as the author’s decision to use our fear of the dark to scare us was, it simply doesn’t affect some groups of people. I’d find it understandable if someone were to call this bland. Unless it was intended that way, the author could use a more commonplace fear, or delve deeper into a niche group. The imagery was stunning, the pace was good, but I felt very little buildup as one can gather what the ending would be from the start. Then again, I’m probably biased as I’m not afraid of the dark. Well-cooked, beautifully presented, but with anchovies and olives in the sauce.

    1. The fear of dark is very common. Like spiders, heights, bugs, death and much, much more. There will always be groups that aren’t affected by a certain fear :p

  21. …Not trying to knock your story…but you realize there was civilization before Edison invented the lightbulb, right? Why didn’t someone just light a candle?

    1. I agree a candle was the obvious solution, but I think the author was trying to say that humanity has grown too dependent on electricity, that when it goes out, we’re lost.

  22. The idea is pretty good but the story is badly written too much jumping from tense to tense :/
    And the hell happend to fire?

  23. The concept of this is fantastic, it could be made into something amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t think you did it justice from your writing style. “Oh God, those teeth.” Really? Seriously, you use one of the biggest cliché in pasta and you just threw me off right there. Also, “rational church going man”? Oxymoron much. Someone who can actually write should redo this, it has potential.

    1. I guess i cannot fathom why someone who goes to church is irrational? In what he was saying was simply monsters dont exist, that is rational from both sides. And as for cliche i have been in some really freaky situations, and sometimes it is the most cliche stuff that comes out of ones own mouth.

      I felt the writing was deacently executed. it could have been alot worse for sure

    2. Oh. Okay. So according to your logic everyone who goes to church is irrational? Fine. I’ll just take medical degree and leave.

  24. I would have liked to know what caused the lights to go out. The monsters being invulnerable, or not real, this story had a lot of holes but somehow was still pretty decent. Just the writer I guess idk

  25. Wow. Of course I have to be reading this at 10:40 at night! Anyway, I haven’t read a pasta this good in a while. This one blew me away. Very impressed by the overall mood and atmosphere of the story. Incredibly dark (no pun intended) and creepy. It wasn’t long at all, but somehow the author crammed tons of fear and suspense into this one pasta. These are the kind of stories I come to this site for. Thank you. A very, very well earned 10/10 from me.

  26. Great story. But I still say that its the fact that humans live in the day that drives the monsters into the night. And why didn’t the people burn candles???

    1. Ya, I was expecting bonfires, people setting buildings aflame to stave off the assault. Honestly though, still a great read. Definitely creepy!

    2. Exactly! I was thinking just light some candles?
      And at the end I was like YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIE JUST LIGJT SOME FUCKING CANDLES!!!! Lol

    3. I think it was because these guys attacked too quickly. This seems more like an early assault, if anyone survives the night, they might get torches or lights for the next night, however right now it was too sudden for quick thinking.

      1. Scott Tenorman

        I was thinking that too, but if there was no electricity wouldn’t fire be something that was readily available? Good story though, playing off of the primal fear of the dark; I love it:D

    4. My guess is that most people nowadays don’t even have candles, or maybe they do but don’t have any matches or lighters. I’m sure there were people who lit candles and bonfires, just not the people mentiond.

      1. “My guess is that most people nowadays don’t even have candles, or maybe they do but don’t have any matches or lighters.” That was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

    5. If you think about it, most people have gotten ‘too advanced’ and due to the fear and adrenaline running through their minds they weren’t thinking clearly.

    6. maybe the humans in this story dont have the knowledge, or that they cant look up how to burn one. i dont know. but this story is creepy.

  27. Dude, this should totally be a movie. Such a good freaking idea.
    I feel like it would be genuinely scary, unlike a lot of stuff now a days.
    But that is just my opinion I guess.

    1. You should watch “Vanishing on 7th street” – I am pretty sure this story has some inspiration from this.

      I like the monsters in this story, and I would definitely watch a movie based on this!

  28. Ok so I’m not quite sure I understand it fully but what I’m guessing is the cause for the darkness is still unknown but everyone just went crazy and imagined everything?

  29. oh my god…it’s 11 pm and I was about to fork bed when I stumbled upon this website and the first thing I did was read your story, in the pitch black darkness with the exception of my phone, and I had to get up and turn the light on because that is honestly my biggest fear in life is something waiting for me in the dark…kudos to you my friend…you nailed it!

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