Looming Darkness – Short Story

Swollen gray clouds cover the sky, while droplets of water start slow and light with their speed growing rapidly as the clouds swell dark. Assiduous people scuffle down below, some have places to be; others endure the cold on a sidewalk begging for coins in a can. Some have something better to do but can’t & don’t do it because the fiends of life had eaten up their souls for motivation. Whatever the case, assiduous people crowded every possible space to respire. This frightful place will forever be home to me from Adbeel street to Morfran Lane. I’ll never forget my ghastly journey that had begun on a hot summer night in July. The creases of my skin and the indistinguishable color of my hair to those gray clouds hold stories and memories that can only be told through the writing of a withered hand. The same hand that viciously killed a creature so vile, so devilish it needn’t be named.

Garvish was and still is a sorrowful city filled with people who gave up on their dreams of becoming a whatever, which resulted in producing kids–lots of kids, arising in overpopulation and overly filled apartment buildings. My parents and I resided in a two-bedroom flat. The lighting in the hallway was unforgiving and sporadically turned off. It smelled of sour milk and hints of vanilla. The landlord Ms. Quilly sprayed vanilla Febreze every morning to try and cover up the smell, but with 43 people living on one floor, it’s very difficult to conceal. The floor plan of the flat was straightforward kitchen to the left with white tile and browning grout. living room to the right with just enough space for a hallway to be squeezed in. In the hallway, Two doors would face each other the left being my parents’ and the right being mine and at the very end was the shared bathroom. The lighting in the flat is a bit better than the hallway light but not exponentially.

Astonishingly, the view from the two windows fixed in the living room wasn’t bad, but the view was still of a downhearted Garvish. The window was just wide enough so you were capable of seeing the north end and south end of the city. The city was small, but it was a big tourist destination. “One night only Garvish carnival” was in town that hot summer night in July, the night before my second year of high school. Weeks before this lively affair, a brisk wind woefully swayed the minuscule patches of grass they refer to as Heckwood park. Feet as cold as ice, I walk briskly down the hazy forest path away from the squall. Screams of terror blow through the streets, making the houses sway in fear. This night was no different from any other night in Garvish Harsh, weather and misdemeanors happened all the time. All I need to do is head home before more goes wrong. A cacophony of honking cars impedes my progress home. A police officer approaches me and instructs me to move ten steps backward and just to stand: “Ma’m please step out of the way.” Suddenly a crowd of people stop in their tracks, just as I did, to find a dead man being carried away on a stretcher to be taken to a morgue. No blood was found, just a lamented man with no sign of a heartbeat. As we all witnessed the man being carried and transported. Those few moments were still, quiet, and connected as if we were comforting each other as we looked at the lifeless being. But once he was hidden behind the doors of the moving car, we all walked away as if nothing had happened. Just like normal. Garvish was too complicated, too saddening to live in without distractions, so I try to do as much of that as I can. While walking more swiftly than ever towards home, I popped my earbuds in and listened to calming music. Once transported to a calm mind, Garvish begins to light up. Aged, cement, gray buildings change to a bright lively red when music is turned on. The streets are yellow brick roads to Oz, and pigeons are swaying to the beat with their shiny blue feathers glistening in the sunshine. Diversions not only keep me sane but keep the people sane. Children are seen glued to iPads, sitting neatly in stores and barber shops staying quiet. Parents are seen drinking coffee while listening to a podcast at the same time. Snaps, wiggles, twists, and twirls to the beat of the music keep US sane.

If I were to scribble around in a diary about my life it would be a pointless and fruitless path to nowhere. Although I am doing the same in this work of writing, I’ll try my best to not gabble on like some mindless creature. I’m not quite sure who would ever want to read about my useless teenage life, but if you are inquiring to do so then you must know these three basic things about my character:1) I’m a meek person, one that becomes anxious around crowds of people, especially if I must speak in front of one, 2) I’m as short as an Oompa Loompa and as many of my classmates like to say when they lay their arms on top of my head, “you make a great armrest,” and 3) although I have such hatred toward my frizzy curls and bumpy skin, I can’t help but feel helpless. The world is filled with such beautiful people; I can’t help but wonder why I got so little of it. But then life must go on as it usually does. On the way home, I stop suddenly to gaze at all of the TVs in the window of an electronic store. The news was talking about the man I saw being taken away. They say it was a suicide that lay him down on that stretcher, but they are not sure. Nonetheless at home, I go walking briskly as the wind takes a cold turn. Gusting past leaves in the trees and the curls in my horrid hair. Until finally arriving at my dingy apartment. Mom and dad say I can’t judge because I don’t pay a single bill which I can understand, but it doesn’t stop my mind from wandering and my ears from hearing. Another jarring sound bangs at my eardrums. The public elevator goes up to almost thirty floors. I say almost because it stops right at twenty-eighth, then you have to walk the rest of the way. Mrs. Quilly named it old Betsy as it has been there for almost fifteen years. The sound it made was the sound of the gears grinding so harshly together, as if pieces of rust were chipping off as they rotated. Once in the elevator, it smelled of wet dogs and durian, a fruit that miraculously tastes worse than a banana. I press the 27th floor with my elbow since those buttons can’t be trusted especially with the people that live here. Up and up old Betsy went, till finally landing on my floor. Sixty-three seconds and counting. Mom greets me home with a big smile that can be seen all the way from the kitchen,

“Hello dear!” she announced gleamingly.

“Hi, mom.”

“How was the library?”

“It was fine.”

“You’re not spending another day alone. You’re going to the carnival tomorrow with those friends of yours.”

“You can’t be serious, mom. I have no friends.” She gazes at me subtly. “Ok.” I reply reluctantly before heading back to my room to hide. Beneath the covers, in the deep darkness, a foreign feeling entered my body. It wasn’t sadness… it wasn’t anger…. it was indescribable, deep-rooted agony. Only for a moment, my heartbeat raced, and my mind went numb. But only for a moment.

Mackenzie Smith

Mackenzie Smith ’25 is a sophomore at Blair Academy. She has just started writing for The Oracle. She will mainly write short stories about horror or mysteries, and occasionally book reviews as well.

Blair Academy