When the Light Doesn’t Go Away

Another piece I wrote:

I walked through the dusty, dark home. Not my home, but it’s where I am. It was night outside. I knew that. Don’t know why, but it’s been dark for a long time. The light doesn’t drift through the shades anymore. No more squares of light seeping in to rest on my skin and warm me. The shadows don’t dance with me anymore. They crawl and slither up my thighs. I try to kick at them at night when Momma makes my lay down for death. I kicks at them and ask Momma why I can’t sleep with her. But Momma’s not really there anymore. She’s gone with the light.

Drifting out.

Drifting away.

Some times I can still smell the light though. High up in the attic, a small square window, a small piece of warmth. I stands at the window, breathing in the warmth I don’t see. It doesn’t surround me, but I knows it’s there. Momma keeps it locked up. The light hurts her, she says.

“Now you don’t want your Momma to be in pain, do you?”

I love my Momma.

In the mornings as I walks down the stairs the floor boards creak and scream. They tell me no. Don’t go. Stay here with us. Walk up higher. Stay near the light. Daddy waits in the light. He waits with Danny. I wish I could listen to them, but Momma gets very mad when I’m late. The light is beautiful, but Momma says the light makes me dirty. The light shows how ugly you are.

“Look at that ratty hair. You should be grateful your Momma cares about you enough to keep people from seeing the ugliness.”

Danny followed the light once. Followed it up to the locked up room. Up to the attic. Momma said to stay away from the room. Danny asked me why, and I told him Momma had daddy’s soul in there. That’s why it had to stay locked. Momma’s afraid the soul will leave too. Danny didn’t listen. He called out to me.

“Come with me!”

He ran up the stairs. I tried to follow, but the shadows tripped me. I fell to my knees in the dust and watched Danny run away. The scrapes on my knees, they tingle and burned. They still do, even though I can no longer see the marks.

As Danny ran to the room I heard the screams. The first screams of the stairs. He said he found the light. He laughed with joy as he climbed through the square. The light swallowed him.

Momma says to stay away from the light. The light is what broke Danny’s legs. Broke them to pieces. The light is what showed the blood. It splattered all over the neighbors yellow flowers. The neighbor was angry about her flowers. Ruined, she said. They were ruined. Just like the me.

After Danny went to the light, Momma boarded up the last of the windows. Momma tells me.

“Stay in your room.”

Momma locked it up just like daddy’s soul. Momma said Danny let daddy go, but that she wouldn’t let me go. Never. After a few nights, momma opened the door. I came out.

That’s when the shadows started to follow Momma. Momma could see the shadows too, so she smashed all the mirrors in the house. Momma said I  was imagining things. I worried about the cuts on Momma’s arms, but wasn’t allowed to speak anymore. I couldn’t ask her if she was ok.  Momma said the light could hear us. That’s why Momma cried silently when she saw kitty. Kitty had gotten outside and Momma couldn’t let kitty show the light how to get in. Kitty was small and white. Small enough to fit in the microwave. I can still smell the fur burning.

The stairs scream louder as I comes to the bottom. They can’t protect me if I leave them. Momma’s tired all the time now. She says the stairs will be the death of her and refuses to go up them. That’s why I haven’t been to the floor for almost two weeks. The shadows around Momma are bigger now and they scare me. They beat me when I try to hug Momma. They cutme up. Me and the picture I drew for Momma’s birthday. It was a rainbow. I didn’t know rainbows came from light. I swear I didn’t, but they cut me anyway. My pinky still sits on the counter. The rainbow is covered in red.

I can’t see Momma as I reach the floor. I stumbled down the hall towards Momma’s room and I hear the stairs moan in sadness. The shadows don’t confuse me anymore. One day I found a shard of mirror and looked at myself. The black dots in my eyes had grown large and I screamed. I thought the dots were shadows. Growing shadows. I thought they were going to follow me like they followed Momma. She told Momma what she saw. Momma laughed and began writing strange symbols on the living room walls. Now she knows the dots are good. They eat up the shadows in front of her. They memorize their shape.

The shadows usually kept Momma moving, but the I haven’t heard anything in awhile. I knock on the door to Momma’s room. Momma’s sitting in the rocking chair daddy bought her, but it’s not where daddy put it anymore. It’s in the corner. It’s under the shadows.

Momma stands up slowly and walks to me. I watche in horror as the shadows stretch out of the corner and follow Momma across the room. They follow her and flow out from under her feet. Momma’s eyes do not have black dots. Nothing to eat the darkness up. Momma takes my hand and leads her to the kitchen. She tells me to sit down in the chair. Usually I’m not allowed to sit in chairs. Momma says they make it easier for the light to see her, but I do as I am told.

I always do what I’m told.

The shadows make Momma impatient. Momma asks if I have been to the window.

I starts to cry. No, momma. No. Momma says she can smell it on me. Momma takes something out of her pocket. It is silver. When it moves towards me it catches the light of the lamp. The light pulls me in. The light hurts so bad.

Then I woke up in the light. It hurts my eyes. The doctor tells me it’s ok. That my eyes will get use to it. He tells me that Momma is dead.

Momma went to the light? I don’t really believe it.

“Momma hates the light.”

The doctor shakes his head and sits down on the edge of the bed. White bed. He tells me that Momma was very sick for a long time. Momma’s head was broken and it made her do things she shouldn’t have. I tell the doctor that it’s ok. Momma gets headaches a lot, but they go away if she stays with the shadows. The doctor doesn’t understand. He gets up and walks to the door. He flips the switch that controls the lamps. The lamps go off.

But this time the light doesn’t go away. ©


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