“DARKNESS IS COMING.” “The darkness is coming.” Muriel stirred restlessly in her sleep. She wanted to wake up but she cannot will herself to leave the place where she was at the moment. She continued walking through the dense forest hoping to catch a glimpse once again of the beautiful deer that has visited her dreams for so many nights now. Muriel shivered in the cold morning. Her breath fogging with every step she took. She is quite aware of the varied and indistinct sounds around her, the forest seemingly having a life of its own. She parted the overgrowth of vines in front of her oblivious to its thorns finding their way on her palms and gasped when she saw the sparkling meadow in front of her. It dazzled in her eyes. Right at the bank was the deer, grazing quietly on the lush greens. It raised its exquisite head and looked at her, blinking.
“Please, don’t run away this time. I just want to know you better.” Muriel implored the deer through her mind.
“I may be known to run away and be swift but never from you, Muriel.” The deer replied, flicking its left ear, “I will never run away from you.”
“I do not understand, you always show yourself to me, leading me farther into the forest and yet you dart away, eluding me each time. You never paused and talked to me...not until now.” Muriel’s naturally shaped eyebrows furrowed quizzically.
“All your questions will be answered in due time, Muriel. Come.” The deer pranced along the banks and Muriel felt inclined to follow. When she was almost out of breath, the deer stopped running and faced her once again.
“Where are we?” Muriel felt a tinge of fear when she realized that they were no longer surrounded by trees and the indistinct sounds of animals have long died down. The deer was standing precariously at the edge of the cliff. Except for the roaring sound of the river below and the sound of her thundering heart, all was quiet.
“Can we please go back now?” Muriel did not dare move a muscle. One wrong move and the deer will fall straight into the river below.
“Afraid, I see.” The deer inclined its head, taunting her. “But what are you exactly afraid of Muriel? What is it that you fear?”
“Please, don’t move. You will surely fall off.”
“The answers are down there Muriel and we both need to fall.” With one swift motion, the deer leapt and was out of Muriel’s sight.
“No!” Muriel did not understand what she was doing but she found herself falling. The wind was rushing in her ears, her clothes flapping wildly against her body. The cold and cruel arms of the river welcomed her and enveloped her. She tried gasping for breath but water filled her lungs. Darkness surrounded her; everything was spinning, spinning so fast.
* * * * *
“Muriel, I am here.” The deer called out to her amidst the darkness. “Do not sleep just yet.”
“What’s happening?” Muriel croaked feebly, completely forgetting to communicate with her mind. “Why can’t I see you?” Muriel’s voice has now risen in panic. “I can’t even see me!”
“Like I said, the answers are all here, Muriel. They are all here.” The deer’s voice seemed to be beside her. She reached out blindly to touch it but there was nothing there.
“All that is here is darkness, where are the answers?” she asked desperately.
“Can’t you see it, Muriel?” The deer whispered on her ears, sending shivers down her spine.
“The Darkness is you.”