Where Darkness Fears to Tread

Creative short piece I wrote summer '05.

Every morning I wake up feeling not quite right. With my mind still between the dream world and reality, I roll out of bed and walk into the next room. I wrestle my way into my jogging suit and slip on my Nikes. The CD player next to my treadmill begins to belt out familiar angry voices that stir my mind into complete consciousness, and I realize I am not alone in this room. Turning the dial on my machine as high as it will go, I begin my daily panicked sprint. A quick glance behind reminds me of what I already know. A dark entity is clipping along right at my heels. This is why I run.

Every day it wears a different mask. Yesterday it was depression. The day before it was remorse. The day before that it was fear. Today it's anger, and it's my own. I feel it bearing down on me. It touches me briefly before I quicken my pace to try to escape it. Instantaneously my teeth clench, my fists ball up, and I see the room turn blood red as I begin to seethe with uncontrollable rage. Hatred creeps in to consume me to the core, and I begin to breathe fire. I look down to see myself begin to change. I am becoming a hollowed, blackened creature of pure anger. What little part of me that is still human screams in pain. I am obliged to hear it's call, and it forces me to make a choice.

Every day I make a decision. Do I give in to my dark impulses and become them? Or do I beat them back and live just to run another day? My head is pounding, and sweat pours itself in buckets from my skin. My muscles are straining to keep the pace they've been taught to run, and my heart is ready to burst from my chest like a bullet. I am tired of running.

Exhausted, but not yet defeated, I turn to face my pursuer. I lock onto it with a wild-eyed gaze. My brow furls downward to steady this stare, and my upper lip curls upward in a defiant grin. My chest heaves as I start to catch my breath again. I begin to feel strength returning, coupled with a primal will to survive. My fists rise up to deliver a knockout blow. As usual, when it senses this insane determination, the beast quickly turns to flee. A sigh escapes my lips, and I shake my head knowing that tomorrow I will be on the run again...to the place where darkness fears to tread.

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