© 1999 Glynne MacLean
A searing bar of light sealed the base of the door. He'd learned that fear stood in darkness and shrank in the light, and yet here where he stood, he was without light, without fear. The light ground against the other side of the door, pummeling with tiny pick axes, burrowing like termites into the very fabric, the fibre of the door. He could hear them like a million ants marching. Marching in polished boots, pikes a ready, shields on shoulders, bugles braying ...
The light went out.
Silence seeped through the broken seal, stymieing the termites and stilling the ants. He placed his palm on the doorpad and pressed. It warmed to his skin, then glowed an indigo just paler than the dark. With a sigh like spray rippling the sea, the door exhaled, swinging inwards.
He could see nothing ...
He felt the cold issuing up like a web seeking to embrace him and freeing his palm, he straightened and strode in. With his movement the web disintegrated, shattering into shards of glass that pierced his skin. He kept walking, forward, unseeing, unobstructed, as the air transformed about him. Layers folded, humming, almost indiscernibly resonating. The highest pitch swirled between his feet while the bass droned in his ears. A hairpin crescendo induced by every step.
The darkness began to peel back, torn in strips, shattered by his stride; giving way to tendrils of grey, seeping about him like liquid in a cauldron, yet to boil.
The image exploded in his brain, brilliant without smoke. Curling feverish incendiary red fringed in parasitic gold. He could smell fire!
The sound of his voice ruptured the vision. He stopped, calmed himself. Exhaled. An opportunity, he thought, battling the image of the Gorgon's Head springing jack-like out of Pandora's box, snakes a writhing. An opportunity to reclaim the world of sight. Keep walking, he told himself. "No wait," purred a puff adder. The Gorgon chortled, eyes swiveling in deep sockets. "Go back," sneered a python. "Run," whispered a rattlesnake wrapping itself around his neck. "Run, before it is too late."
He dropped his shoulders and strode on. Concentrating, not on the light that filtered the dragged darkness, but upon his breathing. He followed the air into his lungs, through his limbs, and back out again, defining his body. Focusing on his self, his entity and remembering his ability to see; see beyond the bounds of his mind, see with his eyes the dimensions of the present that would then create his new past.
As grey brightened to white, shapes shifted then solidified, sinking like sand to stand in forms he remembered. A tree, gaunt, leathery and leafless. Seared grass, bleached and brittle like wind strewn hair. And etched against forever, the craggy contours of mountains connecting sea and sky. Naked soil beneath his feet gave way to fine granules, still dark from a receding tide. He halted at the water's edge, immersed in colour, texture and light, victorious.