Thursday 15 August 2013

Dark Corners by Theresa Ann Curnow

Dark Corners

I see them everywhere, in the shadows and from the corner of my eye and in the dark corners of the house. I try to be deathly quiet and not stare at them because I don’t want to see their faces any more than I have to. I’m scared that if I look too long at them, they will show me even worse images that will render me insane. They have terrible stretched, elongated grins and dead soulless eyes and an aura of complete emptiness about them that gouges my heart with desolation and makes me want to retch.

Sometimes they crouch in the shadows of doorways; sometimes I see them in passing cars, the shape of them black and fleeting, pressing against the glass, their mouths open in a frozen scream. They exist everywhere, in places that you don’t want to look and places that you can’t help but look. I often see them in the windows of shops, of houses, and I turn away quickly, my mouth tasting of ash and my heart bouncing around my chest like a prisoner trying to escape.

They exist mostly in dark corners though. They seem to like the darkness. They embrace it, and more than once I have seen the whites of those terrible dead eyes. I have the feeling that if I reach into that darkness I will become a part of it. It will creep up my flesh like goose bumps, like black viscous oil; devouring me until I am one of them, until I too crouch in dark corners and watch people like a voracious animal. They have a strange smell that only I seem to notice as I walk past them; like the ozone and wet coats and damp hair; like mothballs and old age and rotting weeds. It makes me gag all the time and when I do this in the street, people stare at me, their lips curling in barely disguised disgust.

I used to have a job, a girlfriend, friends, family and a decent life, but that is all gone now. People tend to evade you when you start to act strange, when you stare into corners and places at things others can’t see. At first they humour you. My best friend told me jokingly I needed to go to Spec Savers after I asked him if he could see the shadow in the corner of my living room. But then they become slightly irritated and perturbed. They have no idea what it is you’re talking about. They become slightly fearful because it’s not something that they understand or even want to think about, this apparent shift and descent into insanity, and so eventually they just stop taking your calls or coming to visit. They bury their guilt at abandoning you and carry on with their lives, and you’re left to unravel, to try not to stare at the corners of the rooms.

I used to be a writer. Sometimes, I was good and on occasion I was great but a lot of the time, I had to drag the words out painfully and then stick them onto the page, hoping that they made enough sense to earn me a pay-cheque each month. I used to write for a paranormal magazine in which I had a column called ‘Ghost of the Week’ and I wrote a short story each month too. But all that has changed now. Since all this started I haven’t been able to work, to write a single thing. Every time I try, I feel them watching me and my fingers stutter to a fearful halt like paralysed crabs.

In the very beginning I used to think that they only existed in my home but I soon realised that wasn’t true. They are literally everywhere and I can’t quite understand how more people don’t see them. I see people going about their daily lives - laughing, talking, walking, shopping and driving. They have cell phones clamped to their ears and children in their arms and shopping bags in their hands and dogs on leashes. They appear so normal. I long to go back to that, when all I had to worry about was how to pay the bills and whether I would ever make a name as a writer. People think I’m crazy now. They stare at me in the same way that I used to stare at those sorts of people who talk to themselves in the street. I know that I’m not crazy although I sometimes wish I was. I wish that I could wallow in the comforting cradle of insanity.

I’m not sure what t

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Genre – Supernatural

Rating – PG13

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hey are. At first, I thought they were ghosts but that idea was soon extinguished. They are like no ghosts I’ve ever heard of. Although I’ve never actually seen a ghost, I am fairly certain that they don’t hang around in the shadows and fixate their gaze on me like the eyes from a painting of Dante’s Inferno and I’m fairly sure that when they grin, they don’t have mouths like dark wide cracks filled with teeth that look like black needles.

It all started just after my latest bout of writer’s block. I had been trying desperately for weeks to come up with a decent story for the magazine with little results, and then a friend suggested hypnosis. I had a few sessions and the block began to lift and my creativity began to bubble and flow like a fast moving brook. Ideas and plots and characters began to rush into my brain all at once so that my head was crammed full. I wrote for hours on end, the many words too fast for my fingertips, the cursor flying across the computer screen. I wrote until my fingers cramped and my eyes drooped and vision blurred. In a week, I had written eighty thousand words and my mind was buzzing as if I had plugged it into an electric socket. That was when I saw something from the corner of my eye; a fleeting shadow, darting and fluid. I turned and caught the last vestiges of it, of its blurred, hellish face. I thought at first that I was hallucinating through lack of sleep and too much coffee, but over the days and weeks I kept seeing the shadows. I thought that insanity was picking at me, that my mind was abandoning me in the worst way possible, only I knew deep down that I was sane. I imagined that it was the house which was haunted, but that notion was destroyed when on venturing outside I saw them in the streets, loitering in doorways like ghostly dark tramps. The first time I just stopped and gazed at the doorway, mouth agape, heart pounding as the ebony shadow faded from view as though it had dragged a darker curtain across itself.

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