About the Dark: A Short Story

 

This is a prequel to my novel Into the Blind. Same characters. Same universe. Same brilliant writing. ;)

 

Here is a very short synopsis: Four teens decide to play a game: three of them will close their eyes and try to catch the fourth one who is blind. But if nobody can see, can one of them get away with murder?

 

And here is the story itself:

 

I stood looking at the corner of the room through Fox’s eyes, yes, because mine were useless—as blind as a bat’s. I could, however, see what other people looked at, and right now, that other person was Fox, only he was looking up, at the spot where the green cement walls met the green cement ceiling, and I needed him to look down. I pulled on his chin. After we both studied the floor for a while, he kissed my temple, and this time, besides seeing the corner, he saw me as well. A white-haired girl in a long white dress. A very unhappy-looking girl.

 

He smiled (I felt his lips curve against my skin). “You can do it, Ever.”

 

I didn’t believe him, but I nodded. Took a deep breath. Then, squeezing my fists hard, I sprinted ahead, toward the corner. When I was an arm-length away from it, I leaped up and pushed off the wall with my left foot. This propelled me higher, although by far not as high as I wished. I pushed off with my right foot, and as I was flying up, I arched backward, trying to do a flip and land on my feet, but the momentum was just not there. And so I began falling, my dress flapping, my arms and legs flailing, and my white hair zooming upward like a cloud around my head. Fox caught me three feet above the ground.

 

“Brilliant!” He laughed. “You didn’t miss my arms!”

 

“It’s not funny, Fox,” Demi snapped behind us. “It’s pathetic. Ever can’t do anything!”

“Demi,” Sinna, who stood beside her, said with a mild rebuke in his voice, “you are exaggerating about Ever. She can—”

 

“She can’t. She’s weak. And puny. And pathetic.” Demi stomped her foot with such force it shook our entire bookstore. I mean, technically, it wasn’t a bookstore any more—it was our prison—but it used to be. Fifteen years ago. A small bookstore on the second floor of a sprawling suburban mall. I bet it’d been a nice cozy shop with beautiful bookshelves and cushy armchairs and maybe even a few small coffee tables. The green walls peeking from behind this furniture had accentuated its rich wooden tones and made it so inviting that people had come in here often. They’d browsed the books; they’d drunk their coffee. Some of them might have even been teenagers like us. I didn’t know if those teens had drunk any coffee. We certainly hadn’t. We’d mostly been learning how to fight and jump and whatnot, hoping to escape this cement hole that looked like a dark green apocalypse because our guards had taken out the shelves and the chairs and the coffee tables. We’d also read a lot (because the guards had left the books). And bickered. And since not too long ago Fox and I had also kissed a little. And Sin and Demi had kissed a lot.

 

Demi stomped again. “We’ve been training for years. So that when we get a chance to escape, we’d be able to take it. But Ever is just friggin’ useless. She—”

 

“Ahem,” Fox said loudly, and when Demi looked at him, he gave her a dazzling smile. “Dem, do you happen to remember that Ever is my life, and I—”

 

“And you’re a melting piece of Jell-O around her? Yes, I recall something like that.”

Fox smiled even wider. “No, actually, I was going to say that I’m here to address all the grievances you might have with her. So you think she’s useless? Well, that’s a shiny thought. You can stick it—”

 

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