52 comments

Jul 21, 2020

Mystery Thriller Horror

There’s something to be said for the newly fallen dark. People praise the moonlight of the true night and dance in the bright sunshine of noon. They revere the pink blush of a sunrise and they worship the golds and scarlets of the sunset. Mornings and afternoons, with their variety of brightnesses are useful and who doesn’t love a good pre-dawn stillness? But the newly fallen dark gets forgotten. Too dark for the rich, deep hues of black, blue and purple to be impressive. Too new for the first rays of moonlight and the first kisses of starlight to have broken through.

People forget that the beauty of the world doesn’t begin and end with their eyes. They miss out on the perfection of the silence between the settling down of the daytime creatures and the rising of the nocturnal ones. They miss out on the crisp, clean breeze whistling between their teeth. They miss out on the damp, earthy scent of nature relaxing. 

While we sit here, waiting, open your senses to where we are. Feel the ground cooling beneath you and the way it leeches at your legs, trying to hang on to the last vestiges of your body heat. Ignore the sound of your own laboured breathing - can’t you hear the leaves losing their daytime vigour? The scuttling of the insects that haven’t made it back to their homes in time and the creaking of the tree trunks that are shaking off the attention of the sunlight. Stick out your tongue. Go on, I won’t laugh. What can you taste? That slight bitterness is the last of the day’s pollen, drifting to settle on the dirt below. Surely you’ve noticed that the nighttime tastes different to the day. 

That’s the trouble nowadays. Nobody notices. Nobody takes the time to be still. Well, it’s as good a time as any to show you. You can spend some of your last night appreciating what’s around you. This is a good place for it. We’re in a perfectly isolated spot. Trees stand close around us and with this tall grass encircling, it almost feels like we’re the only two people left in the universe. Of course we aren’t but can you imagine if we were? The uninterrupted blissful silence? Or, at least, silence from the population at large. Here though, the hills around soak up the shouts of the city. Sounds from us are absorbed too. Why, I think I could stand and shout at the top of my lungs and only the foxes would hear. 

There’s no interfering street lamps or car fumes to distract us from the undiluted magic of our surroundings and there’s really nothing left to do at this point. I mean, obviously I’ll have some work to do after but until then, we’re just killing time.

Speaking of, have you ever felt soil? Everybody does as a child but so few do as adults. Wiggle your fingers - isn’t it incredible? Modern life is all about the clean, the sterile, the smooth. I don’t go in for that much; it’s why we’re doing this here. Feel the different sizes. The tiny grains that cling to the creases in your knuckles and the bigger clods that you can crush between your fingers. Feel the grit and the mud and the stones. Dig your fingers into the ground beside you and feel the life within. The compressed potential. The night air makes it feel damper than it is. Well, that and - well you know. I guess the damp you can feel is real too. Can you still - never mind. What a rude question. But this is actually a dry soil most of the time and as you can tell from the vegetation, it feeds the world around it. Look how vibrant, how lush the grass is. How strong the flowers stand and how the leaves on the ivy stretch towards the aether, reaching up like tendrils, like fingers begging from the stars. If you lie quite still, you can almost feel the nutrients flowing from below you, like electricity, like life. 

Most people think of this as a gloom but they just don’t appreciate the splendour of this time of day. The heavy blackness of the night pressing down from above, settling in like a comforter. It’s a cloudy night or you’d start to see the stars in a few moments but that’s good too. It’s warmer with the clouds. It also means we won’t be disturbed by the stark brightness of the moonlight. I chose a good night for it, didn’t I? 

Can you feel the night pressing down? It’s the world’s way of calming and slowing us and it feels like a hand on your chest, pushing you below water and holding you steady underneath. Take a deep breath or the deepest you can, anyway. Feel the night creeping into your lungs and weighing your body down. Feel the last of your warmth drain out and feel nature’s chill take up residence in your bones, in your very being. 

How arrogant you were this morning when you stretched your limbs and took your vitality for granted. You thought yourself an island, aloof from your surroundings and owing nothing. As if you wouldn’t need to repay for every breath you’ve ever taken, every step you’ve ever walked. 

They say lawyers are the worst for their ignorance so rooted are you in your own brilliance. As if your brilliance could ever compare to this around you. I watched you, you know. Before. Asked you for the coin for a coffee and you waltzed past, ignoring me the way you have ignored what now clamours for your attention. Well, now your very lifeblood is feeding it, you must be regretting your ignorance somewhat. 

Your strength belongs to the earth - it always has; it’s only ever been loaned to you and the full pressure of the newly fallen dark will claim what it is owed. I’m just glad I could show you what you’ve missed before it did. Be thankful. Be calm. Your debt is due and you can rest easy knowing that it is paid. 

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52 comments

Jonathan Blaauw
05:08 Jul 22, 2020

I can see you’re mixing up styles, trying new things. It’s a sign that you’re confident enough in your writing to experiment, which is an exciting place to be. And this one, so different from the other, is just as good. Having the narrator address the reader directly is such a clever way of roping one into the tale. And the transition from light to dark is masterful. The initial descriptions are beautifully poetic and, as someone who loves those special, quiet times of day, I know exactly what you mean, except you describe it as I never cou...

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Laura Clark
07:28 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you! I like nature and grew up in the countryside so I always enjoy describing it beyond ‘what a green hill’. But I also always slightly feared the countryside, especially at night. I’ve written another short that hasn’t fit into any prompts yet about the supernatural element of the country at night. So I played with that a little here. I’m glad you enjoyed it 😊

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Jonathan Blaauw
08:56 Jul 22, 2020

I can relate exactly. A lot of beautiful things, in nature especially, are also a little scary. The full moon, for example. Or a fiery sunset. I think their beauty and terror are not separate, but intertwined. Many people sense this but few consciously acknowledge it. A writer does both and then weaves it into beautiful words to open the eyes of others to this unique perspective. Which you’ve done. That conflict is clearly shown in your story. Even the title takes on ominous connotations after reading. I’m just about to post my new story...

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Leya Newi
21:25 Jul 21, 2020

Wow. I really loved the description here. It wasn't too flowery, but I could imagine and feel everything that was going on around me. I also really liked the hints of what had happened to me. And know that tonight I'll go outside and soak up the newly fallen dark. :)

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Laura Clark
22:05 Jul 21, 2020

Thank you! What a lovely comment 😊

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Leya Newi
22:47 Jul 21, 2020

You’re welcome!

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Note Book
07:50 Jul 25, 2020

I loved the whole idea.amazing !!

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Laura Clark
21:32 Jul 25, 2020

Thanks!

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01:39 Jul 25, 2020

This is such an interesting story. I love the juxtaposition of the beautiful descriptions of nature mixed with the creep factor. It gave me a visceral sort of response, if that makes any sense.

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Laura Clark
06:25 Jul 25, 2020

It does and I’m glad it did! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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Roshna Rusiniya
07:10 Jul 24, 2020

I loved this. Great concept with eye- opening messages! Very poignant writing with beautiful descriptions. The way you narrated, pulled me straight into the story. Well done!

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Laura Clark
07:23 Jul 24, 2020

Thanks! I actually wasn’t goi g to put this one up as two murdery ones in a row seemed a bit derivative so I did the sci fi one (Cost ofHonour) instead. Then I ended up posting this one too. Two in one week was a bit extravagant but I ended up having the time to!

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Deborah Angevin
09:58 Jul 22, 2020

Hiya Laura! The strong opening and the description conveying the imagery of the nighttime... I loved reading it! Also, would you mind checking my recent story out, "Red, Blue, White"? Thank you!

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Laura Clark
20:55 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you! And yes of course.

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Kylie Gillins
03:29 Jul 22, 2020

The descriptive nature of this piece is wonderful.

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Laura Clark
07:08 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you 🙂

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Courtney Stuart
02:53 Jul 22, 2020

this was so beautifully written! i'm reading this as it's growing dark outside, and i can definitely say you captured how it feels at nighttime within your writing. your descriptions here are also just so poetic - especially in the first two paragraphs, which tricked me into not even suspecting what was really happening within your story (definitely a good thing!) going back to your first two paragraphs and the rest of the imagery and metaphors you used within this story, it almost felt ancient, or almost otherworldly, like the narrator ...

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Laura Clark
07:12 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you so much! My idea for the narrator was that they were more supernatural than run-of-the-mill murderer. I didn’t want to put that in explicitly so that people could make their own minds up but I’m so happy you picked up on it. They act as a balancer of sorts. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! How is being last week’s winner? Are you still riding the high? Were people in your real life excited for you?

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Courtney Stuart
11:28 Jul 22, 2020

honestly i still can’t believe i won 😊 i was really not expecting to. and i've received lots of encouragement from friends and family; my friends especially liked my story!

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Laura Clark
20:54 Jul 22, 2020

I’m not surprised they did! I hope you aren’t going to be one of these authors who stops posting after they win though. I’m looking forward to more from you!

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Courtney Stuart
21:09 Jul 22, 2020

oh definitely not! i intend to write a lot more stories on here :)

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Shreya S
07:51 Aug 17, 2020

CHILLS. I knew, reading the title, that it would take a dark turn (literally), and the way it did was awesome. Newly fallen dark- amazing.

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A. S.
18:33 Aug 08, 2020

The writing in this was absolutely beautiful. I loved how you really made the surroundings come to life. The descriptions were so vivid that even though I am surrounded by noise I could feel the silence you created. The raw skill and beauty of it gave me chills. I could feel the soil between my fingers. Would you be willing to read and critique my new story “Paper”? Any criticism (constructive please) you can offer would be great!

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Andrea Boyer
14:51 Aug 01, 2020

Your description of nature made it seem as though, I were there. Not an easy task, to transport the reader from the comfort of their sofa, to the night time woods. You managed it, quite well. I'm a sucker for a story with a dark ending...my heart, be still. ☠ 😃

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Laura Clark
15:20 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.

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Raquel Rodriguez
18:34 Jul 30, 2020

Holy crap! This is a different story from 'Five Stages' and I still loved it! I can't even describe what I felt while reading this, there are no words to be said.

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Laura Clark
19:34 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Raquel Rodriguez
21:17 Jul 30, 2020

You're so welcome! Really, this story was awesome and I enjoyed reading it. Happy writing and keep safe!

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Arturn Nistra
23:23 Jul 29, 2020

Hi Laura. Really liked this. It reminded of the early days of Neil Gaiman when he was moving fast into different dark styles. Great stuff here. :)

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Laura Clark
02:44 Jul 30, 2020

Oh wow - Neil Gaiman?! That’s quite the compliment! Thank you!

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19:47 Jul 28, 2020

The POV comes across very strong pulling the reader into the story. The descriptions are vivid and I could easily conjure up images as I read. The concept is very novel. The way you knitted nature with the creeps into your narrative is amazing. Overall, a great read and a rounded story.

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Laura Clark
21:03 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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01:09 Jul 29, 2020

My pleasure :)

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15:41 Jul 28, 2020

This is lovely, Laura. It has a calm, Zen beauty to it. Your words makes me wonder that if I only had six months to live, what would I do? How would I be? I have hope that I'd be happy, grateful, meditative, full of love and presence. And I'd prefer to do that in a forest setting, away from the city, to soak in the fresh air, the scent of pine and rotting leaves, to put my hands in a little woodland brook, to watch the water flow over and through obstacles the way life sometimes moves. Keep up the great writing!

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Laura Clark
21:05 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you! Now I wish I’d included more about the decomposition of nature - that would’ve fit perfectly. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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Keerththan 😀
07:58 Jul 28, 2020

Nice idea. Great story. Good sequential narration. Loved it. Would you mind reading my story "The secret of power?"

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Laura Clark
13:45 Jul 28, 2020

Thanks, of course.

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Adhena Madhu
04:39 Jul 28, 2020

I loved your narration and I live in village area so I could relate to it so much. Your lines were so alive. I'm a newbie at writing so I'm learning from you all! This was definitely worth reading!

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Laura Clark
06:38 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you so much! I’ve got another one called The Cost of a Honour if you’re interested. It’s very different to this. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

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Greg Gillis
18:40 Jul 27, 2020

Wonderful story! I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptive sentence structures. I found it to be almost meditative.

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Laura Clark
18:44 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you!

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Yolanda Wu
05:47 Oct 08, 2020

I'm here once more to read more of your stories. And this one... wow! It gave me literal goosebumps with all those magical descriptions. Like the first two paragraphs alone had me wanting to melt into a puddle - it is a strange feeling for me that comes with reading absolutely gorgeous descriptions. (A lot of squealing involved). You are just such a good writer, I don't know how to be helpful to you, considering how much you've helped me, because there's nothing I would change. So I shall just stick to my compliments because you deserve all ...

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Laura Clark
07:21 Oct 09, 2020

As always, a joy to receive a comment from you! I enjoyed writing this even though I think it needs a lot of development. I just got a bit caught up in the descriptions for it to actually go anywhere but I may reformat it one of these days! I will go and check yours out as soon as the baby goes to sleep!

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Philip Clayberg
22:03 Sep 28, 2020

Wow. Very good story. Almost like one of Gaia's daughters returning to be with her mother again. "You've always wanted to know what it was like to be flesh-and-blood, my daughter," Gaia says. "I granted your wish. Now you know. It isn't always easy being human. There are thoughts, desires, opinions, and so on, that constantly course through their entire being. That can make their lives wonderful, or very difficult, or somewhere in between. But when their final hour comes, they always return whence they came. They aren't forced to l...

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Laura Clark
05:54 Sep 29, 2020

I did have in mind an agent of one of the old gods - I need to read more about Gaia though as I feel like my knowledge is surface level. Thanks for the comment!

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Philip Clayberg
19:39 Sep 29, 2020

I used to read a lot about mythology when I was in grade school. Mostly Greek, but some Egyptian and Norse as well, with a little Roman. The Greek was the most interesting to me back then. But why would Gaia need an agent? To go where she couldn't (openly) go, of course, but which places would those be, and why would she need to know about them? Maybe Hephaestus (blacksmith of the Gods) has been creating something that has a negative impact on the natural world that he doesn't know about (or doesn't care about)? Maybe because Ares as...

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