THE DARK • by Yancy Caruthers

The Dark was long this time, but just like that, it was gone.

The first time The Dark was short, and not all that dark.  I forgot all about it, because I met Louise right after it went away.  I can’t remember much before that day.

Louise was such a wonderful, energetic child, but she never played rough with me.  I sat on her nightstand and listened to endless chatter that I didn’t understand.  She would hold me in her lap, stroking my hair, and sometimes her mother would carefully tuck me in next to her.  She told me about princesses and magic and how her favorite color was blue.

Then the day came she started talking about boys, especially one named Charlie.  The Dark came again not long after that, and I thought that’s all there was.

It wasn’t to be so, because when it went away, who should be there but Charlie!  He wasn’t a boy but a grown man whose hair had turned to gray, but this was something that happens, I am told.  I was excited to meet him at last, and he talked to me for a while as he fixed me.  Years in the darkness had faded me, but Charlie was patient as he cleaned every part.  One of my arms needed some stitching, and he fixed that, too. When Charlie finished, I was as good as any other doll.  He showed me to Louise, who was happy to see me, even though her hair had gotten gray, too.  I felt young again, as though The Dark wasn’t.

Charlie made the formal introductions to their granddaughter, Ashley, while Louise looked on and smiled.

Ashley was much like Louise.  I sat on her nightstand and listened to endless chatter that I didn’t understand.  Sometimes she would hold me in her lap, stroking my hair, and sometimes her mother would carefully tuck me in next to her.  She told me about princesses and magic and how her favorite color was pink.

The day came that she started talking about boys, and I expected The Dark to follow soon, but it didn’t.  Instead, Ashley took me back to live with Louise again.

I sat on Louise’s nightstand, and listened to endless chatter that I didn’t understand.  Sometimes she would hold me in her lap and stroke my hair, and sometimes Charlie would carefully tuck me in next to her.

He had a reading chair in Louise’s room, and he would sit with us every night until she was asleep.  Then sometimes he would cry a little bit until he fell asleep, too.  Louise needed to be fixed, but I don’t think Charlie could fix her.

I waited again for her to tell me about princesses and magic and the color blue and Charlie, but she never did.

Eventually, the time came for Louise to go into The Dark. Charlie and Ashley carefully tucked me in next to her.


Yancy Caruthers is a retired emergency/trauma nurse and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is currently living with his family in Lima, Peru, where he is on diplomatic assignment for the U.S. Department of State. Previous short works appear on www.microhorror.com, and will appear soon in Ascent Aspirations magazine.


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