Lit Up


Run. Running for hours. Running until the air within my lungs became stale. Moving like a gazelle through the trees as my muscles cried out agonized. Tripping over uprooted roots and the occasional twig as I careened faster and faster and faster away from society. Where was I going? Where was I headed? I hardly knew. I just had to keep going. 

The glow was intensifying. Surreal. Almost as if it were transforming the forest into a dripping oil canvas. Nothing around me felt right. Off. Everything was off. Like I were drowning in watercolors. The light ever creeping upon me; the hum of its tendrils ever close to my skin. 

Unearthly light! It conceals a madness among its brightness. Earlier, when it was dark (when the stars twinkled and he held my hand) all was normal. Quiet. Safe. Not a sound audible except the distant chirp of crickets or the odd hooting of an owl. Nothing relevant but the way his lips pressed softly then urgently against mine. His very scent heightening my senses. Sam had always smelled like home to me. 

At his request, I had wandered into the woods with him. We had both been feeling jittery. Time itself was working against us. No space to breathe together. No room to relax alone. The summer was fading faster than a shooting star fades from the heavens. Soon Sam would be venturing off to Rhode Island leaving me far behind. My ticket out of our little town wouldn’t be until January. Plenty can happen in six months. Your love can find someone new, prettier even. More suited to his liking. The core of myself whispers, ” You will eventually grow apart.”   

So this rendezvous sounded ideal to me. I was eager to allow the darkness of the pines to swallow us whole. I wanted him to say, ” I love you” before it was too late. I had wanted our goodbye to be memorable. A moment that could be savored during the barren winter months I would be spending alone. An instance of nirvana amidst the mediocrity of small town suburbia. 

Our date didn’t last long. Perhaps an hour before it blinded us. The cold was the first thing I noticed. A shiver had wrapped itself around my spine, needling sharp pains down my back. The kind of chill which steals away your energy and zaps the vitality from your bones. Samuel had noticed it too. Suddenly his hands were shaking compulsively. He muttered, “We should go” into the hollow of my ear. Then the light… .

That damn light. It dazzled our surroundings. Made everything pop out at odd angles. Turned normal on top of its head. The din of night became a welcomed friend in comparison to this obscene blast of sunshine. No…not sunshine… . Daylight never looked so…fierce. So strange. I tried to move, but couldn’t. Fear choked me still. Sam though…he couldn’t stop his shaking. 

Rocking back and forth he swayed drunkenly beside me. His grey eyes turned a glossy hue. I kept repeating his name like a prayer. Over and over, getting louder and louder, but I couldn’t get him to focus on anything other than that hellish illumination. Enraged I forgot my fear. I grabbed his hood, yanked him towards me. He was right, we had to go. Now. 

But Samuel didn’t respond to me. He didn’t take my hand to flee. Instead, he hit me. Hard. A quick smack across the cheek. Tears escaped my eyes. He yelled, ” Don’t touch me!” Mumbled something about having to save her… Who the hell was her? And that I should run. Run without looking back. When I continued standing stupidly in front of him, he lunged at me again.

I don’t know exactly how long we danced around each other… but. .  .eventually it ended. Sammy went towards the light, and I’ve been running ever since… .And…and I can feel it reaching for me. Whispering into my ear, pulling at my hair, rustling my clothes. It… it aims to eat me alive too; it aims to finish its meal. It grows hungry while I grow weak… .

I can’t run for much longer. I’ve grown winded. Not much reason to keep moving forward really. The woods are endless… empty without Sam… Screw it. I’ll wait. Wait for that godforsaken light to devour me. I’m done running. This ends tonight with either Samuel and myself reunited or my body blown to bits. I’m ready for the lights. 

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