Mariana

by James Edwards-Smallbone

It was deep dark in the abyss. Stranded two miles down from the last light, all above and around me was impenetrable blackness; soft, but choking like a velvet gag. I would perish here, that much I knew. Stavation or loneliness, whichever was the swifter would take me and eerie phosphoresence would lull me gently to death.

I saw you then, just a twinkle at first drifting past like a spark seen on turning one’s head too quickly. I thrashed myself around to fix my gaze on you but your image eluded me, coquettishly teasing at the periphery of my vision. I twisted myself every which way, knotting myself in agony but you would not be captured. Perhaps then in my despair and desperation I cried out, I cannot recall. Sound was as dead in the deep as was light. Yet you seemed to heed me and lingered, though for only a heartbeat. But in that heartbeat my world was overturned. Time, space, gravity all bled away leaving only my entrancement by which to navigate the dark. I was drawn to you, the only thing shining in that dread place, and as I drew nearer you glowed both more steadily and more boldly. I found you beautiful, and not merely by comparison with the pervading void. There was not one thing I knew that could compare to your luminous majesty. (By then, of course, I had forgotten the sun).

I approached but now you withdrew coyly, chiding me for my impertinance and our back-and-forth became in iteration a kind of dance; you swirling and twisting and I in rapturous orbit. Nearer and nearer we grew until you filled my entire vision, the lonely outer darkness all forgotten. Then in that luminous intimacy you permitted me a fleeting touch. Joy was mine and, so close, your brilliance bleached everything to white. And it was as I embraced you, when I was near enough to see your face by your own illumination, when I was too close to flee – it was only then that I discovered you were all teeth.

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  1. #1 by jennifer walmsley on December 22, 2011 - 9:36 am

    Excellent. Very visual and what I call a beautiful horror.

  2. #2 by lionwalksinsunlight0 on December 22, 2011 - 11:40 am

    Beautifully written and a crackingly good ending!

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