Ryan has just read a verse in the Bible he has recently bought, this verse that says that the Christians are children of light, not of darkness. He thinks that it’s sort of weird, to have to belong to this “Inner Light” faction or whatever it is. Light? It’s okay, but it’s got nothing on the night, like now.
He’s reading on his Kindle, the only light coming from the clip-on lamp. Feeling thirsty, Ryan turns off the Kindle and makes his way to the door, not bumping into any of the objects scattered around the room. His eyes are rapidly adjusting to the darkness; it’s a gray sort of illumination which gives him just enough direction to make his way around, almost like what a cat or dog might see. Lights would be much too harsh.
Then he’s in the hall, padding silently down it as he heads to the kitchen. Except, it’s taking more than just eleven paces to get there. Much more. Almost like it’s become a never-ending hallway. But that’s silly, Ryan knows. Total rubbish.
Has it gotten darker? The grayness has now become almost total darkness. He can hardly make out anything anymore as he almost wades through this nearly perceptible darkness. What is it, some kind of goo?
Ryan thinks he hears a giggle. Or maybe he’s just imagining it, his paranoid system making up through his other senses since his vision is lacking. It’s a weird, disembodied sort of sound, one that makes the hair on the back of his neck rise. His stomach clenches, and he reaches out for the wall.
But he can’t feel the wall anymore. Like a blind man, Ryan gropes around, fingers touching nothing, panic rising faster than the tide does.
“Here comes a candle to light you to bed,” a high-pitched child’s voice says, causing Ryan to jerk around, instinctively trying to locate the source of the speaker. But it’s everywhere and nowhere, here but not here. The speaker giggles. And continues to giggle, as though it’s deriving some sort of sick pleasure of watching Ryan go crazy.
Some small part of Ryan’s brain tells him that this can’t be real, that it’s all an illusion or a dream. Maybe it is. But it feels like the realest thing he has ever felt. The darkness, the voice, the panic—it’s all real.
“Wouldn’t you like a candle, little boy?” the voice goes on, pausing every other word to chuckle. “He wishes he was a child of the light now, you know.”
“Indeed,” another voice says. This one is just the opposite of the first speaker: grave, rumbling, low-pitched. “But it’s too late for him.”
Ryan is on the verge of tears, the whole overwhelming sense of fear completely taking over him. All he can do now is keep on moving, moving, moving. It’s ridiculous to see how fast he’s unraveled. Just five minutes ago he was in his bed reading. Now he’s not sure who or what or where he is. In fact, he’s not even sure when he is.
The first voice says, “Here comes a chopper to chop of your head. Chop, chop, chop.”
And then the second voice ominously joins in as well. “Chop, chop, chop.”
With that, Ryan loses any shred of sanity he has left. He screams and charges through the murky darkness he is in, crying out for light, for rescue, anything but this darkness.
The voices are still going on, now seemingly closing in on Ryan. They are laughing, giggling, making chopping noises. They’re getting closer.
And then for one moment, it seems as though Ryan is going to get away. He cannot hear the voices clearly anymore. Escape is here. It is so very near.
And that is the last conscious thought Ryan is ever able to have as his legs keep pumping for a few seconds, because that is how long it takes for his body to realize that just like that, it is no longer connected to its head, which is already being enveloped into the darkness.
Less than three,