This Is How You Lose Yourself
This is how you lose yourself: by letting your foot shift from gas to brake as you pass the road. The road has no asphalt and no signs; it is nothing more than a dark line of rutted earth running into a stand of bleak pines. You are already lost when you park at the corner and walk the mile back, your mind a howling darkness, your name left with the keys in the car.
You know darkness. You know the darkness of an open mouth and the gleaming things it unleashes. You know what comes out of the darkness and you know your own darkness and you have honed your darkness for right now, this moment, when you put your foot on the brake and you park the car and you walk the mile back to enter the road for the first time, again, at last.
The road is as it always is: autumn muck grabbing at your feet, the smell of wet pine needles rotting. There was another road and another forest where you walked high and screaming, surrounded by open mouths, but that time is now, this road, these trees, the smell and the wet muck and your own damp flesh ready to open in a roar of darkness.
This is how you lost yourself.
There was another forest that is this forest, now. There was another road that is this road, leading to the same gloomy clearing where the same little shed stands. There is the same darkness of its open doorway and the thing inside waiting to be unleashed. You know what lives in the shed and you know what will come howling and roaring out of the darkness, bright and gleaming.
Above you the last birds flit past, calling, calling, and the clouded sky descends into twilight. You know this darkness. There was another evening that is this evening, when you looked at the sky and opened your mouth high and screaming. There was another you that is this you kneeling in the soft wet muck. The open mouths around you. The gleam in the darkness of the little shed’s doorway.
There has never been anyplace else to run to.
You crouch inside, listening. Anytime now. Above you the last birds cry out. A sudden wind shakes the pines, raining needles down onto the soft earth. You hear the sound of a car braking.
Somewhere there is a you who never braked, who never stopped, a you who went far into the future and will look in a mirror and see not a vast screaming darkness but a woman named Marion.
All your selves, lost, now.
Anytime. You hear the first footsteps on the rutted road, the sound of shoes sticking in ripe autumn muck. You ready yourself. You have honed your own darkness until it gleamed. You wait and wait for now to arrive, feeling the thing rising out of you, its brightness held back by your tightly closed lips.
#writing #flash #horror #fiction