Darkness by Ashley McCullough

Darkness lurks within each of our hearts, each of our souls, even our minds.

Darkness lurks in the shadows the light creates for us to see, to hide our nightmares from our very eyes.

Yet when the light fades and the darkness happily comes back to surround us, we then see our nightmares staring back at us.

Their inky black figures standing there with a sickening ear to ear grin.

Their inky black figures standing there with unnatural sharp jagged fangs that drip what looks to be more black ink or is that blood?

Is it their blood that looks almost black?

Or is it our own blood they have taken from us during the night when the lights are out?

Who is to say it is not our own life’s blood they have slowly been draining from us as we sleep, or those times we are not surrounded by lights?

Whatever the case, the black ink is covering them from head to toe as the nightmares lift their arms with razor sharp claws and take a claw to their own neck to slice it slowly, a gesture of our own demise.

It is not that which freezes our bodies, no; it is when the nightmare opens its eyes to stare at us fully; eye to eye.

Its demonic glowing eyes boring into ours, reaching places we never knew existed until that moment and we know we are dead by the nightmares’ grin widening even more.

Suddenly, there is light that saves us; for now.

We are safe.

We forget all about our nightmares.

We smile and go about our bright and sunny days.

We laugh, we smile, and we run freely…

That is until something catches our attention out of the corner of our eyes.

We stop and turn toward the shadows which caught our attention as our heart rate increases; our flesh begins to break out in a cold sweat, the hair on the back of our neck stands on edge as goose bumps cover our arms once we come to a complete turn toward the shadows.

We see our nightmare, standing there; yet it is nothing like we remember in our dreams.

No, it is just a shadow within a shadow.

That is until that sickening ear to ear grin slowly spreads across what we can only imagine to be a face, the unnaturally sharp jagged fangs show themselves once again.

Yet as before, that is not what stops us cold in our tracks.

It is the nightmare opening its eyes, slowly, to look us in the eyes as it stares into our very soul.

It makes what only we can describe into words as a chuckle, a chuckle at our bodies falling to our knees, a chuckle at how pathetic we look in the sunlight as we begin to shake in fear, a chuckle as it moves from shadow to shadow with our eyes watching it creep closer in the darkness.

Before long we can smell the horrible smell of rotting flesh, even feel the cold as ice breath against the back of our necks as we imagine that sickening grin beside our ear, we can feel the razor like claws trailing against the rapid beating vein along our neck before it is gone due to more sunlight covering us.

We are once again safe; however it is now time for bed.

And as we forget the nightmare we saw and felt clear as day, we close our eyes and are face to face with our nightmare.

Slowly it begins inching ever closer to devour whatever light we have left.

Be it in our eyes which are slowly being filled with fear, in our minds which is slowly being filled with helpless cries for help, in our souls which is slowly being filled with the all-knowing feeling of dread that follows death or even in our hearts which is slowly being filled with coldness we can only know as fear.

Our last and only thoughts that cross our minds are:

“How long has it been waiting for me?”

“The darkness will always be there, waiting; waiting for a prime opportunity to consume our very existence.”


Ashley McCullough is twenty-two years old, a hard working full-time student working toward her goal in life at becoming a writer. Ashley has a single parent mother who has worked all her life to support her two children. One being Ashley (eldest by six years) and Christopher who is a sixteen-year-old with Autism. If it were not for Ashley’s mother and her brother, she would not have the courage to keep going with her “impossible” dreams and goals she has set for herself. This poem would be an example of all the darkness she has felt and continues to fight through because for Ashley, this darkness is never ending no matter how much sunlight her two biggest fans produce for her.


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