On the Precipice of Darkness

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This is a short story that I recently wrote:


He grabbed onto the ropefalling so rapidly that it burned his hands. The beating and hits to the head that he had just gotten made him so dazed that he was barely conscious. But he fought to stay awake. He was coherent enough to avoid plummeting to the bottom of the elevator shaft. 


As the palms of his hands bled, he grunted in agony. Friction frayed the rope, and its unravelling threads stabbed his skin. His feet wrapped around it while he tried to widen his squinting eyesTurning his head, he watched sweat drip from his wet hair and fall into the black void beneath him. 


Ignoring the pain from the bruises that riddled his body, he slowly looked up and started to climb the rope. He kept squinting because the tiny beam of light that he moved toward was sickeningly bright. 


“At least my shoes will keep my feet from getting as scratched up as my hands,” he thought. 


Focusing on the task at hand took nearly every ounce of his limited cognitive ability. But he couldn’t help thinking about how he had ended up beaten, bloodied, and climbing up a dark elevator shaft. 


“It always starts with a girl,” he thought, focusing on memories to avoid noticing his agony. 


She had seemed so amazing; attractive, smart, a good person, and fine with him keeping government secrets. He hadn’t told her that he was actually a mercenary who just happened to have been working for the government. All the dirty lies about conspiracies, U.F.O.s, and twisted experiments belonged in a science fiction novel, or some kind of twisted nightmare. 


He thought that he could put all the darkness behind him, and tell her the truth. Little did he know how naïve that truly was. If you trust the wrong people, even if you love them, and even if you‘ve been with them for years, it comes back to haunt you. 


The public would panic if they knew who was really running things; what was actually going on behind the curtain. 


Infiltrating this lab to steal proof of the truth had clearly been a massive mistake. He wondered who had betrayed him. He just couldn’t accept the burning intuition in his mind. It could have been any one of the other mercenaries, government agents, or corporate ideologues. It couldn’t have been her. How could she do that to him? 


He knew who was truly responsible. But as he climbed up the rope in the darkness toward the light, he was determined to delude himself. There HAD to be another explanation. 


“Could she have planned this from the start?” he asked himself inside his head. 


He heard cracking, and he knew what would happen a fraction of a second before it did. The fading yellow rope threw him down several feet when half of it snapped. It was thick, and securely tied to the support far above him. But it had seen better days. It wasn’t used to handling so much weight for such a long time. 


He had to move. If he didn’t speed up, the entire rope would breakplummeting him to death in the blackness. Like a ball of throbbing energy, he absorbed all of his thoughts into scrambling up as quickly as possible. His forearms and quads felt like they were on fire and his bloody, sweaty hands slipped clumsily upward. His eyes were fully open now. The pain from his beating vanished as he lost himself in the moment.


The light kept getting brighter. His approach gradually revealed the shape of the opening. He banished speculations about what lay within because he had to focus on getting there. The rope’s threads kept cracking and fraying. 


Only a handful of interwoven fibers remained, and then they snapped when he jerked his whole body upward in one sudden motion. 




He turned his head while he dropped, the darkness growing and threatening to swallow him up. Instinctually, he tried to direct his fall toward the elevator shaft‘s frame to catch himself. He hit one of the supports with an excruciating thud and slid down it. Seeing a platform approaching when he turned his head, he rotated his entire body to land on his front instead of his back. 


His ribs broke when he made contact, wrapping one arm around the support column, and draping the other over the platform. It took every shred of his willpower to pull up his body. He could have stayed dangling there forever in the darkness, but he felt like he was about to pass out. 




Dragging his broken ribs across the platform made his heart rate and agony skyrocket. He rested his head on his arm for a second, but then a hole was blasted through the wall right in front of him. The elevator frame bent at an awkward angle and he almost slipped to his death. He hung off of the edge. 


His instincts made him duck as a bizarre cylindrical vehicle shot through the opening, wreathed in flames. He turned his head to watch it drop to the bottom of the malicious pit. It fell so far that he couldn’t see the impact, but he heard it. There was an ear-splitting explosion, and he saw blinding blue light shoot up from the blackness. 


He looked at the star-filled sky and heard the wind whistling through the gaping puncture in the building. But nothing else came through it. 


Overpowered by panic, he scurried up the broken elevator frame like a frightened rat. He was so fast in spite of his pain that he almost reached the top without realizing it. The white light was blinding now. Standing on the platform across from the open door, he leapt toward it. 


His feet landed on a white linoleum floor with black spots, and he rolled to stop his momentum. 


He slowly pulled himself up, white walls all around him. An arm covered by a black sleeve helped him up. Standing, he looked at the person in front of him. 


“It’s you.” 


“You bet, babe.” 


It was her! How could it be her? Her long blonde hair shone in stark contrast to her black leather jumpsuit. She looked different. Her hair was normally black, and she had an unusual attitude at that moment. She carried herself differently, with more confidence and authority. Her body language was like that of his mercenary partners. 




“I know,” she said coldly, with obviously fake sympathy.


“It’ll all be clear soon,” she said with a devious smile, as if she were an innocent schoolgirl who was caught selling crystal meth. 


He looked into her blazing green eyes, and chills ran down his spine as he saw what he had never noticed before. 


“How the hell did I miss it?” He thought as his mind shook hands with the demon inside her; the lack of humanity, the missing soul. 


Panic saturated every cell in his body. 


Beaming at him sarcastically, her other hand rose, and she pointed a gun at his face. Paralyzed by fear, shock, and denial, he stared down the black barrel. 




“Afraid so,” she nonchalantly shrugged. 


She shot him right between the eyes. He died instantly, his body launching back out of the doorway. He fell into the darkness, fulfilling his destiny. It was bound to happen, no matter how much he resisted. The blinding blackness of a deep malevolent pit was his inevitable final resting place. 

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