Short Story: Absence of Light by M. K. Valley

*Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels

Silent and numb, I stare through the tinted window in the backseat of the taxi. The night outside suffocates the city in its tight nebulous embrace. I barely register the tentative touch of the man next to me. He’s idly chatting with our driver. My preoccupation worries him, and it slithers in his voice when I fail to join them.

He’s frigid cold. All the efforts to disguise his disquiet are in vain. His fingers softly tremble on mine, echoing through my bones. His voice is shaky, but he insists on seeking solace in the small talk.

But I keep my eyes on the night. That endless starless darkness, so beautiful and tempting. It’s offering up the timeless rest of the oceanic depths. All we have to do is stop, open the door of the stuffy car and surrender to its allure. But we dare not.

As the taxi rushes through the empty streets at the edge of the speed limit, the mantle of fear, heavy on my shoulders, slowly slides away. Tonight, the people of the cosmopolitan city have chosen to bow their heads and free the concrete and steel from their presence. Not a single street lamp tries to disperse the night. None dares to disrupt it. Here and there, lonely lights flicker behind tightly shut windows. Our tiny yellow car flies through the streets, shredding the darkness. The ink splits under the taxi’s offense, I hear its moans and wrath, but soon enough the blackened tendrils weave the night whole again, and its wails subside.

The enthralling quiet of the dark embosoms us. It wants to capture, to conquer us. And we wanted to give ourselves up, body and soul, unconditionally. But then we got scared. Like wild horses jabbed by the spurs of horror, we ran. Our driver has no clue. He feels it like a tingle at the nape of his neck, just like the millions of souls in the city holed up in their homes, unwittingly cowering before that night. Some, like our driver, have no choice. Those wretches go about their nightly business, fearful, frustrated at nothing at all, the night lays heavy on their hearts, making them stutter with unrest. They don’t know what makes them pant under the animalistic instincts struggling to go forward, what makes their skin crawl, and their limbs – shudder.

But we do. And that’s why we’re running. Our skin’s pink from blood washed in a rush. We were forced to carve out each other’s scars. I lost his lighter searing his wound. It fell through the grating. It clanged and rang with a deafening howl several stories down the shaft.

That’s how they knew we were no longer in the halls where they indulged in their wicked rituals with abandon high on scents, and blood, and bones. Halls filled with screaming, crying children, some even stunned into unfathomable calm. They gave chase with fiendish rancor and fervor. They’ll be on our heels until the end of days. I’m afraid that when our wounds heal, the seal would still be there. This heinous sigil of a false idol with a soul as black as the starless night.

We were swept, young and adventurous creatures of stardust and eagerness. Now we regret our every decision, our every step toward the cosmic black. Like a story from the ink of a merciless mind, curiosity seized us by the guts and hurled us over the ridges of knowledge into the depths of horror. Nothing can break our fall. There’s no hope for a blissful splat at the bottom of the chasm where our shattered bodies can find peace. Because we know what will happen when we surrender to death. It is His domain. Absence of light will weave the tendrils He’ll stretch through the worldly to pull us back to Him in death.

Then, at last, we’ll belong to Him. To this idol of dismay, we’ll sink into His embrace, into the horror. We’ll partake in the madness that so terrifies us tonight. We will be maniacs flaying skins, our own and those of our kin, we’ll rip through the mind’s matter in a frenzy. We’ll effervesce and thieve life from the living, we’ll poison the innocent and the ignorant with our knowledge, its secrets.

“Fellas, you never gave me a destination.”

The driver rips me from my nebulous slumber, and I take my eyes off the reigning dark. I give my partner a hollowed-out glance, he’s a mirror-image of my bone-pale numbness. His cracked and chewed lips tremble, but he knows just as well. There’s nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Nothing human is left in my voice when I answer. “Just away from the city.”

We ran. But all we saved are our fleshy husks. Our souls – marked for the slaughter.

A Note From the Author

Hey, lovelies! This is a short story I came up with 9 years ago. I published it in Bulgaria on an old blog of mine and forgot about it. I forgot about a lot of short stories I’ve written back in the day. Before introducing you to the longer pieces I tend to write today, thought I could share them with you.

It’s so short, it’s more of a mood than a story, really. And the mood is cosmic horror. I’m a huge fan of Lovecraft’s work and the idea of the horrifying unknown. This shorty story has never been planned as something more, but when I came across it just recently, plot bunnies appeared. So, who knows!

Tell me down in the comments how do you like it, feedback is always appreciated!


I’m not a native English writer, be gentle.

I’m a copywriter by work, reader by heart, writer by night & a daydreamer all year round. I dabble in graphic design whenever time’s left. I breathe words and try to weave worlds.
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