Safer In The Dark (Short Story)

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Chapter 1

Some lovers never get to bask in the sunshine of their newfound happiness. They are forced to drag their joy into the deepest shadows.

Forced, by the laws of mankind and conventionality, to bury their passions beneath the cover of darkness.

She was twenty-one when she first met him.

She was pacing up and down a dark, city street with black high heels strapped around her tired feet and a pink dress hanging loosely around her small frame.

She was at the lowest point that she had ever been in her entire life. He was a tall, mysterious figure standing beneath the shadows in front of her, purposely avoiding the streetlamps that were scattered around them.

From the moment that she touched his cold hands, she knew that he didn't belong to this world.

His very essence was ethereal. His mannerisms unusual and calculated. His eyes glowing with the strangest tint.

But theirs was a love that didn't need to make sense. It didn't matter what he was or where he had come from.

A love as natural as the one that they had for each other didn't need to fall into the confines of conventionality. It was never meant to be sensible.

It was only meant to be life changing.

Chapter 2

She never asked him where he was from.

She only knew that he was otherworldly.

Everything about him screamed of some foreign existence on another planet.

The first time that she was alone with him, she could sense a difference in him that she had never known in any other man before.

The way that he touched her felt different. The way that he moved was different.

He barely spoke. He never really uttered a single word. But there was something conveyed in the way that they moved in unison with one another that drew them both into a strange, unspoken bond.

She couldn't keep herself from thinking about him when she was away from him. She couldn't keep herself from aimlessly wondering whether he, in his foreign ways, knew to miss her.

But she could tell that he was attached to her.

Night after night, he waited for her in the same spot.

What had drawn him to her, she never did understand. But she couldn't keep him off her mind.

Her brain told her to let it go. But her heart was desperately yearning for more of whatever he had to offer.

She wanted him, not just in the physical sense, but in the sense that he had sparked a fire in her that she didn't know could exist.

His image obsessively burned through her mind at the most inopportune moments. The touch of his hands sent her thoughts into a frenzy.

She was enamored with this strange figure that could barely communicate with her through words and, still, it all felt natural to her soul.

Whatever he was, she knew that he remained hidden for a reason.

But she still yearned to be with him in the most human way.

Chapter 3

One night, after unsuccessfully roaming the streets, she stumbled into her apartment to find him sitting in her living room.

Before she could scream, he had crossed the room and was towering over her, covering her mouth with his hand.

She didn't feel unsafe. Just concerned and curious.

What on earth could have prompted him to feel the need to come into her apartment uninvited? Never mind how he got there.

As she stepped away from him, she noticed bruises running along the side of his cheekbone. She pressed her hand against the side of his face and furrowed her brow in disapproval.

Before she could comment, he grabbed her hand in his and lightly brought it to his lips.

His gesture didn't feel sensual. It felt more like a request for support and comfort.

In response, she pressed her body against his and waited expectantly for him to kiss her as she ran her fingers along the length of his arm.

He kissed her just as she had wanted. But then, he stepped back, pulling her hand with his.

That night was one that always bewildered her. Because, for the first time, it occurred to her that he longed to be close to her in a way that was almost innocent in its nature.

Whatever he was, he had the ability to give pure affection. He was not animalistic in his desires.

He never communicated with her verbally but that one night alone showed her that there was some strange sense of humanity within him.

As she laid with him, cradling his head in her arms, she felt him breathe in a way that was so peaceful that it was almost unnerving to her.

He wrapped his arms around her waist and stayed there for what seemed like hours.

After a while, she fell asleep.

When she woke up, he was gone.

Chapter 4

Do our addictions choose us or do we choose them?

When that first twinge of dependency begins to creep over our lives, what leads it there?

She wondered that to herself as she curled her body against the bedframe behind her.

She would give anything to take away the pain that was coursing through her body. The way that her hands shook, the way that sweat dripped down her body.

She would give anything to make it all stop.

Her mind was racing. She watched the colors of the sunset dance through her window, but nothing seemed to put her mind at ease.

She propped herself against the bedframe until her eyes began to struggle to stay open. By some strange sense of grace, her tiredness was beginning to overwhelm the torment that was gripping her being.

When she woke up, there was a cold, icy presence laying on the bed beside her.

She was shivering but seeing him next to her brought her some sort of peace.

He didn't say anything to her as she turned her face toward him, he only reached out and cradled her in his arms.

They stayed that way until the daylight began to break through the window.

In spite of the fact that her thoughts were racing, she managed to express her gratitude to him.

He said nothing, kissed her on the forehead and left.

Chapter 5

His presence in her life didn't save her. But he gave her the courage to pursue a stability that she had been robbed of her entire life.

The silent way that he expressed his ability to see into her soul was what allowed her to understand that there was still joy to be found in her life.

He was like an angel.

His presence in her life had reminded her that hope was still a concept that she had the right to cling to.

From the moment that he had walked away from her on that still, quiet morning, she had decided, somewhere in her heart, that she would change.

Chapter 6

What developed between them in the months that followed became more than just a connection.

It was as if something had transpired between them that had given them both some simple understanding that they belonged to one another.

Every night, she would find him sitting in the same place in her living room.

Every night, she would sit beside him and tell him about her day. He never communicated anything back to her, but his eyes said enough.

He smiled, every now and then, with a smile that was strangely alien but, still, familiar.

They both found comfort in just being with one another. Nothing about them was normal but they developed a love for one another that was so natural in its way.

She never sensed that he was in danger.

Other than the unexplained bruises that had lined his face on that first evening that he had found his way into her home, she never suspected that his life might be at risk.

But he obviously wasn't safe enough to roam through the city during the day.

He only appeared to her at night. It was as if he belonged to the night.

Truthfully, she couldn't imagine him being any other way.

Chapter 7

For months, his presence in her life was constant. Not one day went by without him appearing in her home faithfully each night.

Then, one week, she didn't see him at all.

When she did see him again, he was decidedly more frail than he had ever been before.

That night, as they laid beside one another in bed, she ran her fingers along his arm, wishing that he could tell her something about the secret life that she knew nothing about.

She wished that she could protect him from the hidden danger that was threatening to strip him of the vibrancy that she'd previously known him to have.

But, as she watched his eyes close in contentment, she said nothing.

Chapter 8

Somewhere in her heart, she had always known that what they had wouldn't last.

Unconsciously, she had been counting down the days in her head. Silently wondering when this strange dream would end.

One night, she sat alone in her living room wondering where he was.

Almost immediately after she had settled into the couch behind her, she felt her stomach drop.

Something was wrong. She didn't know what. She would never find out.

But she knew, deep within herself, that he was gone and that she would never see him again.

For some inexplicable reason, tears began to stream down her face.

She turned to look toward the night sky outside of her window and she wondered where exactly in the universe he had come from.

She didn't even know his name or whether he had one at all, but he had left an imprint on her life that was more significant than any name could be.

She sat back and closed her eyes, thinking of the way that his hands felt holding her body against his.

She thought of his piercing eyes and that strange, alien smile.

And she smiled to herself, thinking that, where ever he had come from, at least he had existed in her world for a little while.