Cecil County Public Schools UCSCA UCSCA
UCSCA UCSCA Lit of the Nation
UCSCA Lit of the Nation
Nightmare
Kelley Lenhart

His eyes reflected the tears of angels, falling into a depthless blackness until they were lost from human memory, rimmed only by a steel blue cage. His two prisons lay downcast to his folded hands, the glistening surfaces mirroring the anxious rubbing of his fingertips. After a pause, his reverie was broken by a droning voice beside his right ear.

"There's no way out of this, you have no other choice."

To that, he gave no reply, tucking his feet closer to the chair, knees pressed trembling together. His head bowed, long blond curls shadowing his face. The locks his mother had adored and wished for when he was a child, and she was still alive.

"Come on, it'll all turn out for the better this way. Everyone will be happier." He shook his head as the voice whispered on, in disbelief, or refusal, his shoulders sagging. At long last, he spoke, his voice quiet, still holding the gentle tones of a boy. "I don't want to."

A silence filled the room for a long moment, filled in by the steady ticking of the grandfather clock against the wall, swinging back and forth with dull shines of the golden pendulum.

"What do you mean, you don't want to?" The voice hissed, venom dripping from his words, enough to raise the hairs on the back of the young man's neck. "Did I say you had a choice?"

"There always is," he replied softly, fingers clasping each other in a supporting grip, chin ducking to his chest. "I'm not ready to go."

The voice growled, speaking through clenched teeth. "Ready? Ready? I don't care whether or not you're ready! You've waited too long all ready. What do you have left, eh? What reason do you have to stay here? You're miserable, you're nothing, you're a waste of flesh. Get on with it, and don't give me that whimpering."

A soft sigh touched the slack shoulders, lifting them enough for them to square in firm resolution. "No. I'm not going."

"You will go!"

"No, I won't."

"You will, and you will go now!"

One hand pulled from the clasp of his fingers, curling around the hilt of a butcher knife from the kitchen, clenching it in a grip so tight his knuckles paled. His eyes widened, the blackness swallowing the fiery blue in sudden panic.

"No...I won't!" With abrupt fury, he stood and whirled, knife in hand, his chair knocked over behind him. The empty, silent room greeted him, grandfather clock ticking stoically away. He counted off the seconds, motionless but for his strained pants of breath, watching the hands creep for three interminable minutes. As the clock gently chimed midnight, the knife clattered from his shaking hands, striking the floor with a dull thud.

"I...will...not...die..." He whispered to the darkness, stumbling over to the stair rail. He leaned against it, his forehead touching the smooth wood, cool on his heated brow.

The voice was gone. He was alone. Dragging his feet beneath him again, he tripped and crawled up the stairs, moonlight guiding him to his bedroom. With the pained steps of an elderly man, he sat on the carpet against the footboard, staring up at the moon. His eyes reflected the stars, the tiny pinpoints of light breaking the veil in the blackness until only a shimmering ghost remaining. Sighing, his entire body shivered, a faint smile tracing his lips. He curled up on the floor, pillowing his head on his soft hair. A shy tear, a drop of mercury in the pale beams, rolled down his cheek, touching the corner of his smile. His eyes closed.