By Delbert H. Rhodes
All around him, darkness looms; it is bigger, deeper and blacker than the night. Before him, the doorway of light grows smaller until it would be too small for him to re-enter. Falling, he begins to suffer; breathing becomes laborious, suffocating him; yet still, he lives. The doorway, his connection to the world, slips away and deeper into blackness he falls. Soon he would be out of its reach.
Down, down and down he plunges as though some devilish force holds him and thrusts him into this void of nothingness, this dark pit this black prism where light is without luminosity. The night absorbs him, as would fingers closing into a powerful hand. Something inhabits this place: something foul, something clammy, something sinister.
Into a bottomless labyrinth, he floats, pushed along as an unwilling castaway, a vagabond, a beggar for sustenance, but stripped from the living, stolen from life and life from him. Turning to survey his position, he strains his neck to a degree anatomically unattainable, and then his eyes peer into a cake of blackness.
Still struggling for more gain, and although feeling no pain or discomfort, somehow he adduces he is without self-control, or measures of self-control; for, upon him is exerted an immense power, physically forcing him downward into “never.” Never? What in God’s name is never? Terrifyingly, he is plucked from the nest, a fledgling vulnerable to a predator whose face is invisible whose talons, teeth, and ferocity are indescribable, whose dominion he feels.
Somehow, he ascertains his doom. Looking up, the doorway grows ever tinier, his chances for retrieval fade. From deep inside him emerges a moan, a vocal plea and then an outcry, a bellow for help. “Oh, please is there someone up there to hear me; is there anyone able to help me?” (Thinking) “…Is this possibly a dream, a nightmare?” The thought permits him little equanimity, rather, furthers his delirium.
He continues his flight downward into a bleak chasm, an impending doom. Fear sacks him, embraces his mind, tears at his body and grips his mortal soul. Seemingly, he is without recovery, every avenue of escape relinquished.
His cries for help ring forward, and as though by themselves his arms and hands swing up and into the night. He reaches to the light to the doorway of life, his life. The desire to survive surges in his limbs, ebbs in his life force. His is a force greater than humankind and greater than his misfortunate fate.
Past events race neither into nor through his mind; bright gay sparkling colors fail to array this hue of blackness; in this chilling cold, warm memories of yesterday are absent. No, it is just “now” and now is all he could think of, feel and fear.
Fear is a peril he has known all his life. Now fear is a demon of monstrous proportions a figure without demarcation an entity an incubus visiting him for its sadistic pleasures; the playwright, the play and its players all wrapped in a blanket of horror, and shredding every nerve, tearing at his human heart.
He feels weak hopeless and pitiful. He feels death. The stench of it is stagnating, the feel of it repulses him, the sound of it violates his hearing, and the knowledge of it abhors him. He is the webbed fly awaiting the death kiss, the dog tormented by the tick, the day subdued by the curtain of night. He falls deeper becoming immersed by a black darkness; as if a squirming spec trapped in a gelatinous dilated eye; he cascades downward, this eye of nothingness never blinking always poised to watch him fall; this eye possibly the grotesque guide into the sad place.
Yes, “The Sad Place.”
Momentarily, he thinks he hears voices calling out to him, pleading to him, but probably his imagination, for here in this place he could trust nothing. Above and growing smaller the light falls away. Now in his final attempts, and somehow he knows it to be thus, he turns all attention to the light. He locks his sights on it focusing every ounce of will into it. The world seems as a distant stranger, and pleading as he falls, he is unwilling to part from it. His eyes staring his mind fighting his will unyielding he strikes back and against the horror compelling him.
A corner in the light seduces his eyes something tells him to look there to think there to will there. Something, he feels that something has heard his pleas. A figure begins to appear near the edge, first the head and then the face; it is his mother’s face. He feels relief loss of fear secure. She is his Angel a guardian sent to his aid.
Selflessly, she thrusts her arm and hand into the pit, and then down to him. He is unable to reach farther up and he continues to fall; now fear regains its grasp, and he fears all is lost. Still reaching toward him, and risking all, his mother leans forward placing herself into the blackness, and then her hand as if guided by the eye of God, extends downward and into the depths until finally grasping his.
She holds him and with a power he feels through her, pulls him up and back into the doorway back into the light, and out of the belly of blackness. Struggling as he reaches the mouth of light his breath fights for air his lungs swelling pumping and inflating sustaining him. Then as life-giving oxygen fills his constricted passages, he moans with intensity while gasping. Drained of all energy, and searching her celestial face, clinging to his mother… he cries.Copyright © 2005 Delbert H. Rhodes