*The theme for my A to Z is Childhood Stories. Some are real, some are embellished, some are downright fictional but are based on the kind of things I imagined when I was younger.*
There are different kinds of dark. Some darks are friendly, some are even nice. Some are a little scary.
Then, there was the Dark from above the front door of the house I grew up in. We lived in an old Victorian house, and the door had glass panels in its top part. Above the door was a wide rectangle of glass that spanned the whole width of the entrance hall.
The Dark that lived behind the glass seemed innocent enough when I was downstairs with the entire family; but it was a devious Dark.
After everyone had gone to bed, I realised that I had left my book downstairs. Already in my pyjamas, I headed down, glancing nervously at the Dark. It let me go, sweet as you like, staying behind the glass partition. It didn’t even look at me. Relieved, I retrieved my book from the chair I’d left it on, and returned to the hallway.
The stairs were immediately opposite the front door, so that to go from the ground floor to the first floor I had to pass right in front of the door. Right in front of the Dark.
Seeing me return with my book, the Dark sprang to life. It turned and looked right at me, smiling a smile full of darkness. It waited for me to go up the stairs. You see, the Dark likes to strike when you have your back to it. When you can’t see it.
Of course the hallway lights were on, but that made no difference. Real Dark, devious Dark doesn’t care about light. It can strike even if all the lights of the house are on.
I hesitated, clutching my book closer to me, looking at the Dark behind the glass. It looked back. “Go on,” it dared me.
I gripped my book as hard as I could. I took a deep breath. Then, as suddenly as I could manage (to catch the Dark off guard), I sprinted for the stairs, grasped the end of the banister with one hand and swung myself onto the steps so that I stayed as far from the door as possible. The Dark lunged after me. I felt it on the back of my neck as I ran up the stairs, taking them two by two.
I tripped. My knee smacked painfully into the edge of a step, but even that didn’t stop me. I picked myself up and sprinted on, all the way up until I turned the corner and was in the safety of the first floor. I stopped then, out of breath, heart hammering.
The Dark coiled back to its place behind the glass, grumbling to itself. I was safe. For now.
“Tomorrow night I won’t forget my book,” I promised myself.
But the Dark is tricksy. Every night it found ways to make me come back down. Every night it chased me up the stairs, its fingers clutching at my pyjamas.