You talking now
is not you talking then
our gaze hardly holds
are you again.
I feel the floor beneath my feet, smooth and cool. In the house the air is still. Every movement feels like a flurry, a splutter of energy in the darkness, then utter stillness.
I take another step. An owl hoots in the darkness of the wood, a wolf bounds from behind a tree, pounces on its prey and eats.
I remember long ago when I would sneak out of my room at night and creep down the stairs. Down the stairs, until the dark engulfed me and seeped into my eyes until all I could see was black, and the fear of what I couldn't see took me and I would run back up the stairs and cower under the duvet, bear in hand, until the nightlight soothed my imagination.
The next step creeks and I look up.
Moonlight splinters through the window, stabbing the floor and the walls. Dust swirls in the beams. Outside I see the moon glowering at me. The trees are still; the grass a frozen lake below, all a moonlit silhouette.
I look forward. Past the window now, past the light and into the land of the dead. The Corridor closes behind me. The darkness sucks me in, waiting, waiting, for another step and another until it swallows me down.
I can feel the knots and the ripples in the floor, age singing through my bare feet. The velvet curtain whispers as it brushes my arm and it is gone.
I could go back. I could. I should. Why not? No, I have to carry on now.
My fingertips touch the wall. Past one panel, a second, a third and stop. I flatten my hands against the wood, fingers searching.
And I can feel it: like a breath across my fingers; a sigh. I feeling only accessible without sight, without sound.
I turn, judging the distance with my arms, closer and closer until I can press my cheek into the cool wood and smell the oiled oak. My fingertips tingle with feeling, knowing suddenly the age of wall. I count the age in the ridges, a finger tracing the generations; one, two, three... Too many to count now; hundreds of years.
Years flash back. The old lady sits on the grass. "Many secrets live in this house."
I cover the whole surface with my hands; my fingers creep over the panel until I feel, two dents invisible to the human eye. I know I have found the right place.
My knuckles tap the wood once. The noise reverberates down into the vacuum of darkness. My heart thunders un the silence.
Fear flares. What have I done?
There is a howling out-take of air; I feel the dust around me explode and freezing air pull itself into my corridor. The panel moves on hinges.
I reach for my pocket and find matches.
The fizz of friction. Light flares up, blinding me in the violent spread of fire from my fingertips. The smell of sulphur burns my nose after the damp of the corridor. I hold the match up. The flame is of little comfort. Instead of a source of light, it shows the flickering limitation of the light, making shadows dart and sneak behind me. The lights goes. I light another.
This new corridor is bare stone, coated in damp dust and spiders webs. Not much wider than me. I squirm into it and light another match. A hollow wall flickers in and out of sight running parallel to the familiar one but cold, darker.
I feel moist air settle on my skin, I shiver; the match quakes and shimmers in the darkness lighting the path that hasn't been seen for years.
I take a step on the damp earth and another and another. I save matches; feeling my way on the crumbling walls. Seeing, reaching with my other senses, following the rush of air down and down.
Then it comes: howling, angry like a wounded beast screeching up the corridor towards me, faster, faster until it hits like a wave on my senses, swallowing me whole and leaving me alone, shivering, in the darkness.
Just a noise, just a noise caused by the wind. I want to go back I want to go back to bed. When will there be light again? Where even am I, which way is back?
I strike again, eyes watering in the sudden flare, both directions look the same.
Darkness again and I'm walking, faster, faster.
Is this the right way?
I can't go on.
I light my last match. Wind gushes up agsin, howling screeching towards me.
The match goes out.
screenshot of Shannalyn85's Stellar video RECordings from Masonic Lodge, thanks Shanna for this find! <3
I sit at the picnic table and see you both walk by.