DustA child with ash for eyes stares at you from a stool. It sits there in the shadows. You see only an outline and those horrible, malformed eyes. You feel an empty anxiety building up, a pain in the back of your mind, an impure thought infecting your being. It’s the child’s fault. You know it. You feel its sunken eyes peering into you, into your flesh, your mind, your soul and very essence of your being. Those cold, grey-black holes, craters of hate, a perpetual shifting of sand-like ash that scan you up and down, quietly, casually, malevolently.
You feel a pain, a searing guilt, unknown to you before now. You hear voices screaming at you; a wall of sound crushing down on your mind, enveloping your every thought until it is all you hear and feel. Paralysed by the voices you listen.
“WHY?” they scream.
“What did I do to deserve this?” they ask.
“I thought I could trust you!”
The voices do not understand. They are looking for an answer. All filled with their own emotional pain they seek out something that cannot be explained. You have no answers for them and yet they continue to shout. Voices of heart-breaking ignorance, the shattering destruction of people who once trusted, now discovering the deception...and they rise up; and the voices, they call out to you asking why? Crying, screaming voices, and those eyes, those cold grey eyes, they sweep over your body.
You are only ten feet away from the child, sitting there on the stool looking over you as you stay crouched on the cold, hard floor. You see its head tilt slightly and then, silence. The voices stop. The wall of sound crumbles into nothingness. The pressure dissipates. A moment of reprieve from the horror you are feeling. Still the child stares, inquisitive, never breaking gaze, forever judging you, forever there looking at you, the whole of you.
Try to take your mind off the piercing, peering eyes. Look around. You are in the centre of the room. You see the room but no distinguishable walls, no hint of where you are; cold, hollow and empty. Six candles give the room an unsettling darkness, a sinister shadow awash over the room, the feeling of corruption run rife.
And then, the child; the child sitting on a simple wooden stool, not caring for anything but you, staring at you, only you. It sits where the light barely reaches, hidden in the shadows. You can just make out those penetrating sockets, filled with ash.
You ask yourself,
“Why am I here, what is this place?”
You already know. Deep in your heart you know. You don’t want to admit it.
You turn away from the child, hoping that it will go away; without eye contact it will go. Maybe you will no longer feel its crushing gaze. Escaping its stare you now face an empty wall, endless black.
You know the empty onlooker is still there; you can feel it piercing the back of your skull. It digs deep, tearing through your thoughts until it finds what it wants. It is happy with its discovery. You are not facing it but you know it is happy with its discovery.
A voice begins to talk in your head, one solitary voice.
“That time you put down your ‘friend’ in order to look alright in front of others.”
The room begins to chill.
You hear his voice speaking from inside you, asking why; saying he would not have done that to you.
It sounds like the child shuffled slightly on its chair. How is it doing this!
You try to block it out. You push your head down into your lap and cradle it with your hands, hoping futilely this will stop the torment. It doesn’t. It is in your soul, burning you away. It has already breached your senses, your conscience, your very being. You can feel it hunting and extracting more.
A creek echoes from across the room suggesting an enthusiastic lean forward.
Another voice joins your mind,
“The person you cheated on days after they said they loved you. You told them you were going to be working hard over the next few days and would probably be unreachable. They just smiled and said they were looking forward to seeing you again when they could. And you, you go off and **** someone else. Completely focused on you! But you always have been, haven’t you. Haven’t you! That person’s love wasn’t what you needed anymore; you had better offers on the table and you took them!”
You begin to realise that ‘hurters’ rarely get hurt. Very few have managed to truly damage you, get one over on you. You can feel the voices of those two people from your life. You can feel the hurt they felt, the betrayal. They trusted you and you can feel how they felt. When it happened to them they felt the betrayal from one person, now you feel both, at once, pounding down on you.
More voices join, accusingly; the guy you stole money from because ‘he had plenty;’ the numerous times you let down your friends because you just could not be bothered. All the lies you told. Every bit of trust you once had from others shattering, cutting you, pouring down around you; shards of emotional torture. Some may have seemed insignificant, hell, they were all relatively insignificant to you; you lived on, didn’t you! You carried on with your life. And you didn’t learn. You closed your eyes. You didn’t allow yourself to grow.
You hear a thud.
You turn around.
The child is on the floor now. On hands and knees, yet still it manages to look right at you. Those black holes of eyes, those eyes that now feel they once had something there, staring at you, emptying out your insides.
The child starts to move towards you.
Another voice starts up. Someone you lied about to get that promotion. You hear him trying to explain himself to his family; he is sticking up for you. He tells them it wasn’t your fault, and that’s just how you wanted it to be. You didn’t want to feel the guilt that came with gain. But now you feel.
The child is picking up speed, with every lunge closer a new voice. Its body begins to appear from the shadows. No longer can you just see those crater eyes...you see the lines that form its body, and they’re moving. Like a charcoal sketch the outlines of this child run over each other, line through line, like it has been scratched together, deep, black lines running many times over. The body jitters unnaturally in place as the child continues to move towards you.
And those voices; oh, those voices continue to build.
The room has disappeared. The faces of those you betrayed swim around, red translucent faces screaming,
And you can see them all, and they are crying, and they are angry, and they hate you. They all hate you. Everyone hates you.
And the child gets closer, and the lines get more jagged. The ash of its eyes begins to pour over the ground.
The faces continue to dance around you.
It’s all you can hear, pounding into your brain, your ears, everything. The weight is pushing you down, closing in on you, but you can’t move.
The eyes of the child pierce through the carrousel of red faces, staring at you. The child is just outside the wall of faces now, as they continue to spin faster and faster around you. The eyes continue to lock on to you, and you stare back. The ash is pouring out. Its face begins to twist and reshape itself. It looks like...you...a jittery, ash filled version of you.
The thing lunges forward, its mouth opens. It screams for you to explain what you have done.
Gusts of wind flowing over you, intense heat burning you, an ear shattering scream that echoes round and round; it fills everything.
It is all too much.
A moment of resolve.
You don’t have to accept this.
You had your reasons.
You snap its neck.
You are in a room; silent, peaceful. You feel calm. There is a dead child by your feet. You casually toss it into a corner. You don’t need it. Sure, once you were innocent...we all were.
You look to where the stool stands. A pair of eyes with ash pouring from them stares back at you...
Dark story from a dark time in my life...can you feel the sense of betrayal oozing!