Saturday 24 June 2023

Debut Flash: 'Step' by Cat Rood


Danger, her parents said. Danger awaits in the bright places. Always stay to the dark. The dark is safe. Her mother scared her with stories of people burning to death in the brightness.


Her father cowered in a corner, refusing to come to the lighter places of the house. He stuck to the deepest shadows, dark eyes glittering ferally.


She has never seen her parents faces. They were always cloaked in shadow, in darkness, mere darker shades in the warmth and and careful obscurity of the house.


Eighteen steps by thirty-two steps, her home represented safety. She curled her fingers along the walls, tracing the weird, nonsensical carvings in the stone. Maybe it was wood. She didn’t know the difference.

Step, pulse.

She wasn’t sure how many people were in her house. She knew her parents were there, but anyone else was a mystery. She thought there might be two or three more. But, maybe they were figments.

Pulse, step.

But she was curious. She wanted the brightness, to figure out the light. She wanted to leave the darkness. But her parents insisted.

Pulse, raise the hand.

And then they stopped. She didn’t know how old she was. She didn’t have any idea about the passage of time. They slept when they slept, ate when they ate. But one day her mother was not there. Her father had melded with the shadows and become something else.

Step. Into the brightness.

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