The Darkening: getting to know the characters – The girl

Who are you? What are you doing here? Wait, wait, don’t kill me! I just want some food, that’s all. Stay back, don’t come closer. I’ll… I’ll… I’ll stab you, I swear it. The glass will cut you in no time, you hear? Stay back. That’s better. I don’t want to hurt you, but I will if I have to. All I want is some food. Do you have any? Look, I’m not going to hurt you, unless you attack me, okay? What’s that? What’s that in your hand? Is it… is it food? Just that? Half a raw rat? Okay. I’m so hungry. Feels like I haven’t eaten in days.

Why are you looking at me like that? No, I don’t know why I am like that. I just am. Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. You’re the first person I’ve seen in days. Everything is empty. Not a single soul for miles. What’s going on? I saw houses and farms on my way here, but there was no one living there. It’s as if everyone vanished. I thought this place was empty, was looking for something to eat and a place to sleep. I didn’t mean to scare you.

I came by a house on my way here. It was a big white house, with two rows of windows, all of them smashed though, and the place looked like it was about to fall apart. I went inside, called for help. I was hungry. They had a pen but there were no animals. Some chickens ran around free, but I couldn’t catch any of them. Fast birds. I saw… I saw remains, bones and… and… What happened? On my way here, I saw a wide road, full of rusted cars and everyone in them…

There are big structures to the east, I saw them on my way here. Maybe we could go there and look for food or other surv –

Cannibals? There?

What’s your name? I… I don’t know my name. I can’t remember anything, except the last couple of days. I woke up in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve been walking since then, but nothing before that. As if I didn’t exist. Don’t go! Please, don’t go. Are you the only one left? Why are you afraid of me? What is wrong with me? Are we going to die too? Am I going to die? Are we the last ones? Help me, please!

The Darkening: getting to know the characters – John Piscus

Will anyone read this? Is anyone still alive out there?

My name is John Piscus, and I’m a survivor. The Darkening… I wish I knew more about it, but I don’t. No memory, you see. What I do know is the Darkening claimed the lives of almost every human on the planet by the worst way possible. Stop talking to me! No, no, not you, reader. The two voices in my head. You see, the thing is, I’m crazy. Deranged, mentally unstable, loony, oh yes. Yes, I am, yes, yes, yes. I have two voices lodged in my head. Uh-huh, uh-huh. Two different people talking to me, yapping every single minute of my waking life. One wants me to kill myself, the other to stop at nothing, until as it says, I reach my potential. You think you’re the sole owner of your thoughts? You take it for granted, don’t you? Guess again. You want to make it, to survive? You better make sure you take nothing for granted. Come closer, I want to tell you a secret. Come, come, I don’t bite. Not yet at least. Haven’t turned into cannibalism yet, I’m not like those survivors stuck in what’s left of the cities. Can’t blame them, no food in the cities. But that’s not me. Anyway, here’s the secret; I don’t think the voices are real. No, no, not real. I think one of them is my conscience, the other my survival instinct. Shhh, keep your voice down! They might hear us and start talking to me again. No, don’t ask me about why my conscience has woken. I can’t tell you, I won’t tell you, you can’t make me! Go away! Both of you. Not you, reader. You stay.

What? You don’t know what the Darkening is? Of course, no one left to tell you. The Darkening turned our own shadows against us. No, not shadows, not anymore. What comes out can no longer be called “shadow.” It’s… it’s different. It has substance. It’s alive, malicious, bent on one thing alone; to kill the person it made it. You want to know a fact? It will find you. There’s no escape, there’s no hope. You can’t escape your own shadow. No, you can’t. It’s there, always there. Enough light to cast a shadow, and poof! Your shadow comes to life and you’re dead. Dead, do you hear? DEAD! There’s no escape, there is no hope. Hope is for the weak. Out there, only two things exist; death and fear. You don’t know what fear is, until you realise you carry your own death every step of the way.

The Darkening turned the remaining of us into rats and worms, hiding underground, watching over our backs, constantly looking to the east. If it glows, it kills. No, I will not! My thoughts are my own. Go away! Not you, reader. Anything dark is a good shelter, remember that. If you want to survive, you must have a shelter. Get used to leaving in the dark, for it’s all you’ll ever see. You think it’s easy? Have you ever opened your eyes, and couldn’t tell if anything existed beyond you? Any time where darkness was so pressing, you couldn’t tell if you were awake or asleep? If you had eyes or not? Did you ever stretch you hand in the dark, darkness so thick you thought it had physical substance? That it touched your body, wrapped itself around you, suffocated you? No, reader, you don’t know what fear is until you experience it. You think I’m out of my mind, yes? I am, I told you so. But, you… you don’t know what madness is, until you pry your right to live every single day, not only from the world around you, but from your self. I’m exhausted. So tired. So very very tired.

Shhh! Keep quiet. Did you hear that? I think Raiders are nearby. No, I did not imagine it. It’s Raiders. Can’t you hear them? Raiders! It’s night outside, and they are coming in. Run! They’re inside!