The Girl Who Was Lost in the Dark (A Modern Fairy Tale)

Once upon a time there was a girl who was lost in the dark. For a long time she didn’t know that she was lost. Or even that it was dark. The darkness was the air she breathed and she thought that was enough. 

There were things in the darkness — normal things. Trees and houses, people and cars. The kinds of things you might find in the light, but they were not in the light. 

Long ago the darkness had begun to talk to the girl. It told her things. And she listened. Things that would happen. Things that wouldn’t. Things that ought to happen but didn’t. Things that didn’t happen but should. The girl thought the voice of the darkness was her voice and she listened without questioning what she heard. 

It was frightening in the dark. Frightening for the girl to be wrapped up in darkness. But she didn’t know she was in the dark. So she didn’t know why she was afraid. It was normal to be afraid. That was all there was. And the voice of the darkness spoke to her and explained the world to her and she saw in the dark. She saw through the dark and  believed in what she saw.

But then one day there was light. A tiny, flickering, feeble, pinprick of light. It was faint, but the darkness around the girl was black — so inky black — that even the faintest little spark of light was blinding. She struggled through the darkness toward the light. But the darkness held her back. It wrapped inky tendrils of darkness around her and pulled her backward. Back into the dark where it said she belonged.

And suddenly the girl became aware of the dark. Aware that there was dark and that she was in it. And through the dark she saw the things in the light. Beautiful things. The same things as in the dark — trees and houses, people and cars — but alive and vibrant, illuminated. And the girl ran to them. Ran to them with open arms, her fingers tingling to touch them, grab them, hold them close.

But the darkness was faster than the girl. It grabbed her by the waist, the wrist, the hair. It pulled her down and down and down, enveloping her. And it whispered in her ear. Whispered to her about the things in the light. About what they really were and how they couldn’t be trusted.

But now the girl knew that the voice of the darkness was not her voice. And she fought and struggled against the pull of the dark. 

Every day the light flickered. And every day the girl strained toward it. And every day the darkness pulled her back. But the girl looked into the light and she loved what she saw. She heard the voice of the darkness but now she heard her own voice too. And her own voice sounded like the light. And the darkness sounded broken and twisted and full of cracks. 

The darkness swirled and rippled. It braided itself into the girl’s hair. It undulated under her clothes and into her pores. It snapped, suddenly brittle, and fractured into a million tiny pieces and lodged itself into her brain, her heart, her lungs. The light flickered. Waiting.

The light didn’t come for the girl. The girl knew she had to go to the light. But the darkness had a hold on her she didn’t know how to break. It breathed with her breath and pumped with her heart and thought right alongside her thoughts. But the girl was brave. She was brave and she wanted — desperately wanted — to be in the light. To touch it, yes, but more than that. Be surrounded by it and live in it. 

“Come with me, then,” the girl said to the darkness and she gathered up her courage and she walked into the light. 

She came trailing tendrils of darkness. They swirled around her head and slithered in and out of her fingers and her toes. They crackled in her heart, pricking her and scratching her and making her squirm. But she ignored them. Or, when she couldn’t ignore them, she talked to them in her own clear voice and made them be still.

The light didn’t speak to the girl. It didn’t welcome her or tell her to go. The light just was. And the girl was in the light. And the darkness was in the girl.

Once upon a time there was a darkness which was lost in a girl. And a girl who lived in the light.

The End

Click here to hear my read the story aloud!

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