Writing Exercise- Monster in the Darkness

Have you ever noticed? In that time just before you go to sleep, when everything is dark, and you are left alone with your thoughts, you are never really alone. Because in that darkness, there is something there waiting, watching. You can feel its breath on your toes, and its the fastest you move, your feet are diving under the blankets no matter how hot you are, because you are afraid.

You wonder is it a ghost? Is it real?

But here is the secret I am afraid to tell. Sometimes, I think that the monster is me.

I think I know what it is. When you were a child, did you have an imaginary friend? I did, I had many, perhaps too many. I was a lonely child. But I grew up and some how I’ve lost or forgotten my imaginary friends. I can’t quite remember what they looked like, or what they would look like now. I barely remember a name or their voice. In fact, I remember so little that my imaginary friend is now a ghost, a faint memory. That thing we feel at the quiet moments, the thing watching us in your sleep is the ghost of those forgotten friends.

What do they want now? To be seen or heard? To be known? To be loved? To be the friend they were or to get revenge, for it is after all our own memory, our growing up that killed them.

It is the child we were, the one we barely remember that we wish we could become again watching from the corner of the room, asking what have I become? Who am I now?

Do the answers scare you? Or is it the questions, the ones we cannot answer?

I am the monster waiting at the end of the bed, the forgotten memories, the child hoping to be so much more, angry they are so much less. I am the thing waiting in the darkness, my own worst enemy, my own monster.

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The Darker Path

Well, it was fun, but a challenge to remain honest without chastising, I know people like the characters and they are to some degree based on them, and although it could be the harshest light shining at the most negative, and the most positive trait of someone, it lacks a degree of tactful flattery.

The Darker Path has also got a clear progressive possibility, but the task was to create the opening, not the beginning middle and end, although I can see how, where, and whys to the characters futures, the plot line if it were to continue is already clear in my mind. Perhaps progressing this story wouldn’t be the best of ideas. It is simple and it is hard all at the same time to navigate a degree of control. To control the urge to continue on a story, that perhaps would distract from the time that you allocate or are willing to give. when there is a story out of the corner of your eye that deserves undivided attention. Something that has bubbled under the surface growing slowly into the perfect and completely horribly complicated incredibly imperfect story that has been gnawing at the back of your thoughts every day, just waiting to be ready.

The Darker Path was fun, it reminded me of the sassy things I wish I had said a long time ago, the sassy things I would have said if I had the balls. Its the teenage angst bottled up, that time just before your in your twenties and expected to really be a grown up now. That time, that horrid horrid time.

Writing Exercise- The Darker Path (3)

Chapter Four

Its strange but the more time I spend with Seb and Eddy the more convinced I am the more convinced I am that they are hiding something. Although whats stranger is as I spend more time with Seb the less frequent that nightmare has become. I suspect its been replaced with the sensation of being watched, whether that is down to paranoia, delusions or this curiosity I have no idea, and Seb clearly has no intention of sedating the subject.

Mind you the elephant in the room is Lilly and her ridiculous tantrums lately. Possibly because she hasn’t been getting attention for a while, I’ve been too busy house hunting on the quiet, not involving her in what I’m doing. Or perhaps not being exclusively around her at the moment has certainly put her nose out of joint.

It possibly didn’t help matters when Seb and Eddy came over while Lilly was at work. “It may just be the sofa for now, simply because I am house hunting but you two are more then welcome to come to the new place. You know if you had any special features I could consider keeping an eye out for them?”

“If it has a basement I’m in for sure” Eddy grinned. Seb nodded.

Nipping to the bar for a spot of dinner after the boys had moved their stuff in to the house was a great idea. Slightly less great when Lilly came in and sat down with us.

Eddy raised a glass without thinking and toasted “to the new house” Seb caught my eye as we sipped our drinks praying that Lilly hadn’t noticed. Unfortunately I wasn’t as lucky as I had hoped. An interrogation later and she knew I planned to move. There was a few seconds of quiet after she asked when I planned on letting her know, she was on the edge of another one of her tantrums and I really didn’t  have the patience to put up with her crap this evening. “Well you can either rent the house or move out.” She took a second before she said, “you know, I think I will move in with you, you can’t get rid of me if you tried”

“You don’t say” Seb mouthed under his breath, he’s right, I’ve been trying for years, some how  couldn’t respond.

Back at the house Seb, Eddy and I were sat at the table while Lilly lounged on the sofa making a list of requirements for the new house. I sat talking with the boys as we made a practical list. “So Eddy you want the basement? Seb you prefer the kitchen to be simple open plan? I think that is doable.” Lilly sauntered over and handed me a list, “you want a paved garden, massive bedroom, walk in wardrobe, en suite, office, pink bathroom and a jacuzzi. Right.” I scrunched up the list and threw it from my chair into the bin. “What did you do that for?”

“Hmm let me see, its unreasonable, and oh yeah its not going to happen.”

“But they got what they wanted on the list!”

Chapter Five

I over heard Seb and Eddy discussing a nearby woods on y way to go and make a cup of tea, and to be honest this wasn’t the first hushed conversation I had stumbled upon today.  I had heard some talk of a full moon, but at that tie of the morning, I didn’t think anything of it. That was, of course, until Eddy told Lilly he had to go on a work retreat over night. Lilly suspected nothing, but Eddy is a bad liar. Of course I kept it quiet, with Seb watching like a hawk now wasn’t the tie to discuss lies or suspicions.

When Lilly and I were finally alone she declared we had to follow Eddy having decided he was cheating on her, her intention was to catch him in the act. We followed Eddy at a distance into the woods he had talked about earlier.

Being dragged forwards by Lilly I had that sinking feeling as we went further and further into the trees, not paying enough attention to a car parking up. Slowly we found ourselves standing at a small unlocked gate that lead into the mouth of a small cave that Eddy had disappeared into without hesitation.

I felt a cold tight hand grasping my free wrist as Lilly made to drag us further towards Eddy. Looking behind for the first time since Lilly started the pursuit I came face to face with Seb. Like a child caught in the act of wrong doing I couldn’t reach his gaze. Lilly quickly began to protest to resume the pursuit loudly as we heard footsteps approaching in the cave behind us, as Eddy quickly shut the gate, locking it and demanding that we leave, as he let out an agonizing, blood curdling scream.

I felt Seb’s grip on my wrist tighten as he pulled Lilly and I back to stop us getting any closer. For the first tie I watched Lilly at a loss for words. Breaking free she went straight to the gate trying to see where Eddy had disappeared to.  Before Seb could pull her back Eddy had lunged at her, with bright amber eyes he swiped his growing claws at her out stretched hand, his skin splitting. Seb sprung into action dragging us away. Pausing finally to lead Lilly by the  hand, I could see blood dripping from her. I pulled Lilly to face me, took her left hand  mine and lifted the torn sleeve, her wrist was scratched.

When we got to the hospital we had to tell them she had caught it on some nails, although I don’t know if the tetanus jab could really do any good. For the first time I watched Lilly at a loss for real words, she just remained silent. Even walking into the house seemed different, the quiet seemed to echo. I told Seb in no uncertain terms to wait there and make some tea while I put Lilly to bed.

Now he couldn’t deny answers, I took the tea waiting for him to finally speak. “I’m sorry, Lilly was never meant to, you were never meant to, you deserve the truth, he’s a werewolf.” I waited to feel something, anything; fear, surprise, shock, disbelief but none came. “I kind of guessed that. So if the monsters that hide under the bed are real, what’s your deal? Because I know that isn’t your secret, what’s your excuse? I heard you follow us, you could have stopped this, stopped us at any time, why not?” The silence dragged, “I was selfish. I wanted to tell you, but you would never have believed without proof, you would run for miles and miles, and you still might. If you wanted to you could,  I am sorry Lilly got hurt, but Demi, you have to know I love you.” I couldn’t reply, he had more explaining to do, and quite frankly now was not the time for the first “I love you” in the relationship. “You have to know I love you and would never hurt you, yes I am filled with hunger, just like you said. I have done terrible things, I am cursed, I have hurt and killed so any people than I ever want to count.”

I know I should feel scared but I couldn’t believe it, it didn’t feel real. His eyes turned as black as coal and he revealed fangs sprouting in his mouth, as quickly as it had come, his demonic face returned to the kind features I had come to know. “With you I a safer, the hunger is gone, I don’t need blood, I need you.” His head dropped, I took his hand and sat him on the sofa.

We sat and talked, everything from his past, his blood lust, his memories. I looked into his eyes and reminded him of the night we met. Finally I explained about the ring, the psychotic ex, the feeling of being watched. He told me about how he became this thing, this vampire, what he remembered about his victims, my own curiosity surprised him, when I asked what he remembered he replied with one word, “everything”. I stopped asking questions, now I asked for a promise, “should there be no other choice, no other way, will you trust me? Can you turn me? There is only a  matter of time until Mark makes good on his promise, please.” He was reluctant to agree, when he did a new feeling spread over me, relief. Relief that now I had an option. Even in the darkness I felt safer as we fell asleep on the sofa.

 

Writing Exercise- The Darker Path (2)

Chapter Two

I can’t put my finger on what it is I’m missing. I know Eddy and Turner were hiding something. I just want to know what. A while after I finally manage to fall asleep I am woken up by some stupid idiot trying to call me, of course in the early hours of the morning who bothers to look at the caller I.D? I couldn’t recognize the voice “I’m tired, I’m so tired of hiding, you’re tired of hiding too. I could see it in your eyes.” Finally the fog lifted “Turner? What the hell? Do you even know what the time is?” He apologized for waking me and asked if we could meet to talk properly. Too tired to pay attention I told him to call me when I was awake and he was sober.

Here is the thing, every night for almost a year now, I have tossed and turned throughout the night, for one reason; the reoccurring nightmare. Every night he is standing in the hall; hurt and angry standing next  to the last box of his stuff. Lilly stood beside me, her arm around my shoulder as I tell him to leave, again, that I was never a possession, I was never his possession, that  never will be. I can see the hurt transform into rage. Cold, callous, angry screeching rage blaming Lilly for poisoning me, calling me a weak, spineless prude. Berating my values, for putting everyone, family and friends before him. For not sleeping with him. He stood vowing that the next man in my life will be the last, the moment that ring is off my finger; either on the dresser or another mans hand he will be coming back for me.

But that’s not just a dream or a nightmare. Its a memory of my last relationship with Mark. It is what made me get the courage to leave, to leave this house, the past and memories behind.

At about lunch time my phone started to leap into action. True to his word Turner had called back. “Talk damn it” it was Eddy’s voice hissing words at Turner, “whats the worst that could happen” he hissed. Had they actually forgotten I could hear them? “Oh, I don’t know I could go nuts and bite her.” Taking my cue I cleared my throat. “Sorry I got distracted, I just wondered, well, would you like to go for a drink tonight?”

“I’m meeting Lilly at the bar tonight, she’s dragging me to complain, I mean she wants to whinge, I mean sh wants to talk about her lunch date.”
“Oh, no worries maybe another-”
“That wasn’t a no, I mean, I couldn’t stop any knights in shining armour wishing to save me from Lilly’s dating woes, I would be eternally grateful.”
“An eternity is a long time.”
“I know”
“I am sure I could arrange that. Is the armour compulsory?” I couldn’t help but smile, even while the estate agent showed a weird looking couple around. “Depends if your brave enough?”

Chapter Three

By the time I arrived at the bar Lilly had snagged us a booth and a couple of menus. I just counted my blessings that I didn’t have to cook. Lilly is an absolute pain in the ass to cook for, only roasts and very plain, very simple, very dull cooking gets eaten other then that its tantrums and refusing to eat it. Lilly started on a monologue about how frustrating her boss was. Mainly because she wasn’t in his pants yet. Mean while I had begun singing soundtracks to myself, I just sat there nodding as she went on about the boy on front desk flirting with her and she dived into the ever so dull story of her date. Thankfully seconds later I sensed someone standing beside me, “mind if we join you?” Not waiting for an answer he told me to “budge up” I slid over as Turner sat beside me. Lilly reluctantly followed suit for Eddy while she pouted again. “What happened to the armour?”

“It was all tarnished”

“What a shame.” Eddy didn’t seem to be happy sat next to Lilly as she resumed dominating conversation as she complained continuously about her lunch date. Even after food arrived we suffered through the constant drama with no interlude, no break, no pause. Eddy rather foolishly decided to join a side, he was team “poor guy who dated her”, had he been wiser he would have kept it a secret thought. He was never going to be the firs to try shining a light on a different angle causing more frustration. Turner smiled “I see your ring is on the right, you haven’t touched it once. So, what is it you are hiding from?”

“Why are you so curious hmm? It’s just living on the right today, so what is it you are hiding from then?” I held my gaze until he spoke, “you have beautiful eyes” unimpressed I rolled my eyes, “flattery will get you no where.” He took a sip of his drink before we spoke again. “I’m not hiding anymore, I have learned that I can control myself. You surprise me, you see right through me, you call me on it, not many have the guts to do that. I am afraid, of you, that you will see the darkness in me and run away, I don’t want you to run, even though you should, I don’t deserve forgiveness, or reprieve, but I some how just want some kind of acceptance. I have done some truly terrible things, mistakes, but I have changed.” Momentarily petrified yet some how relaxed, I look over at Eddy and Lilly bickering about dating to busy to pay attention. Struggling to read Turner I finally speak, “we all have our demons you know. And hiding behind your mask won’t save you in the end.” He nodded and lent in slowly before kissing me gently. “you do realize I won’t keep calling you Turner?” He smiled, “really?”

“Really, I much prefer Sebastian” I saw him flinch, “at least shorten it to Seb.”

“well I suppose thats better then calling you Bass?” The conversation between Lilly and Eddy had fizzled out as they now started pulling kissing faces at us. After a while I turned to face Seb and spoke quietly. “I suppose, I should be afraid of you, but I’m not. I’m tired of being afraid of shadows. Whatever the secret is, keep it, we all have secrets. At some point we have to face our fears, whatever they are.”
“Hey Demi, their twat of a landlords selling the place out from under them, do you know any flats or anything?”
“I’ll keep an eye out, Lilly you have gravy down your top.” I laughed as she started a whole new drama on gravy.

Writing Exercise- The Darker Path (1)

Chapter One

Sodding typical. The moment Lilly goes off to the bathroom I end up feeling like a sitting duck in the room full of wolves. Well of course I’m avoiding eye contact with everyone here.  Instead I am focusing my attention on my ring, my little plain silver band ring, also known as my man repellent if its on the left hand ring finger. Of course it occasionally lives on the right hand so that I can’t ever loose it, that’s just ore trouble then it could ever be worth. To be honest most of this evening has been spent smiling and nodding. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known Lilly for years but there is only so much patience for her constant bids for attention. For the most part she has been sat bitching and complaining about her latest failure of her dating venture. Proving exactly why I don’t date.

The gaps in mind numbing boredom have been filled by mild people watching, mainly staring at the door watching people come and go. The only mildly interesting, and I am being very generous with that term, people that have entered in the time its taken Lilly to explain for the eighth time that she thinks men are stupid; has been a particularly goofy, kind of nice-sh looking guy. Unfortunately his choice of company was his friend, a guy who seemed to exude that stupid “I’m the unsafe brooding guy that your parents warned you about” thing, the whole dark, dangerous douche bag kind of guy. At least I am not the only one wearing a mask tonight.

Call me cautious but I like to be aware of my surroundings so of course I twigged them shooting glances our way. If I didn’t know any better I would assume they were staring. Probably trying to guess if Lilly’s long hair is real or extensions, or just how few drinks it would take to get her attention.

Of course now she’s in the bathroom I hate sitting here at the bar waiting for her to come back. The supposedly “dangerous” looking one had made his way to the bar standing beside me, lightly pressed against me in the crowd while I try to ignore him, at least he uses manners when he speaks to bar staff. Not as much of a dick as I thought he was. He practically looked right through me when he spoke “Turner”, I stared blankly, as you do. “I mean, my name is Turner and you are?” I paused smiling to myself, trying to select the least sarcastic response I could muster, “waiting for my friend.” Thankfully Lilly appeared from the bathroom.

Lilly however, true to form did the one thing I didn’t want her to do, engage in conversation. She clearly fancied the pants off of him, it was clear as day. She became that shameless flirt she becomes around any moderately attractive guy. Fine he’s attractive that’s undeniable but still. “I see you had some company while I went for a pee, I’m Lilly, Lillian Mae, and who are you handsome?” I answered before he could open his mouth, “he’s leaving” giving Lilly a warning look that she was clearly intent on ignoring.

Turner invited us to join him and his friend, before I could decline Lilly had accepted before he had even finished asking. His friend must have picked up on my reluctance, possibly because Lilly practically dragged me over to the table, he laughed “don’t worry, we don’t bite.” Turner gave his friend the exact warning look I had shot at Lilly who had now placed herself on either side of the men, leaving my only option to be sat opposite Lilly who now seemed completely determined to get Turners attention.

I couldn’t resist a smirk as I resumed fiddling with my ring while I watched Lilly flirt mercilessly with Turner, who had avoided or shut down nearly all of Lilly’s flirtatious and incredibly suggestive questions. I could feel him staring at me. Watching me play uncomfortably with the ring while I maintained a vague but polite conversation with his friend, resisting the urge not to burst out laughing at Lilly’s increased frustration.

Turns out Turner’s friend name was Edward Harrison, even though he insisted that we call him Eddy, he seemed nice enough. I couldn’t resist a smirk when Turner told us his name, well proper name, Sebastian Turner, what possessed him to go round using just his surname I have no idea. No thanks to Lilly they now knew my name. Eddy was sweet about it “aww your name is really pretty, why didn’t you just say? Demetria Rose, its like a flower.” I raised my eyebrows and smiled politely “call me Demi, everyone does. So I have to ask, why go round by the surname? Is it another facade, a mask a mystery? Ir is it just to pick up girls? I have to say its not all that impressive, mysterious or as intimidating as it seems. Quite frankly the bad boy facade is a bit see through.”

Turner stared at me for a few seconds, “your ring, you hide behind it, I have seen you fiddle and play with it all night, I watched you swap hands to make yourself look taken when ever some poor guy even came close. If i had to guess, the only reason it’s not there right now is because its too late to change hands. Your hiding behind it, why? To avoid getting hurt? Drama, men or is it because you are hiding from something or someone? What’s made you so afraid that you hide in a room full of people? You only relaxed when you sat with us, when you watched your friend flirt shamelessly. Hell when you noticed that I wasn’t responding to her pathetic bids for attention you struggled not to smile, like now. You smiled your way through her frustration as she tried to raise her game. There’s a big difference between you and her, she demands attention and you run from it. Why? Lilly struggled to get my focus from you but you pay Eddy and I equal respect. You are different, a mystery never fully explained, you are different, not like her, this bar or this town. There’s something different about you, its in your eyes. You are hiding, why?”

Stunned trying to find the least insulting response I looked into his eyes for a moment. “You have hunger in your eyes. Not a normal hunger, not like the hunger I have seen, its like the ravaged hunger if a hunter. A dark hunger that you are trying to suppress, and hide.”  I sensed the quiet at the table as I watched and waited for Turners response. Lilly clearly in need of attention struck up a conversation with Eddy.  I gave up waiting for his response and watched Eddy as he tried to follow Lilly and her favorite topic of choice, men, particularly how messed up they all were, I smiled and rolled my eyes, letting myself relax a little.

Finally Turner spoke softer, “hiding seems to be a shared hobby, perhaps we have something in common.” His eyes dropped to my hands as I pushed the ring up securely on my right hand. “There is something strange about you, you aren’t like most men, what is it that I cant put my finger on?” He looked into my eyes as though he was attempting to read me, his beautiful eyes seemed to mirror my own, only for a moment. I could feel my heart racing, before I could speak Lilly handed Turner a piece of paper. I recognized the number scribbled on it, my own. Utterly mortified by her audacity I made our excuses , bidding them good night I dragged Lilly with me. Somehow our girls night had turned into an evening over taken by strangers.