Vitals by Era Millings

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SUMMARY: Entry for the October flashfiction contest. Theme: darkness

First, there was darkness -

With vision impaired, fingers were left to fumble blindly amongst sheets already choked in a sweaty residue. Shallow breaths whispered through the rustlings made by those graceless movements; soft noises weaving in and out of the starless fabric of night amidst husky laughter and hoarse vocalizations. The heady scents of exertion and arousal mirrored the sounds of this clandestine act in their feeble attempts to be noticed, but with sensory perception heightened so, they only intensified the rush.

Intertwined still, hours later, the two participants had only the vaguest memories of what had transpired in darkness as they saw the birth of the dawn. A third witness, however, still had months to go before its eyes - still unformed - experienced the radiance of day.

For slumbering deep within sable hues lay something created in that very darkness; someone who knew nothing other than such. The world the being knew was one of liquid, eternal black. Inside its cocoon of sorts, it was hidden from the sun by swathes of pitch and murky depths; suspended in a peaceful absence of illumination. Within this strange universe, the figure was content to transform, away from prying eyes and rays.

Micromeres assembled and fashioned themselves into something more, developing at a steady rate. In accommodation, the tiny world swelled and grew, as the blueprints mapped larger and more fantastic plans. Nonexistence had molded into someone very much alive, yet the ignorant carrier did not believe it to be true. As soon as she who held the burden discovered its presence, appointments were made in haste and horror. Defying the natural order, her own plans shoved those of the bigger picture away, and corrupted the tapestry with dark, heinous paints of an utterly different 'dark' than the pleasant, unaware state of the one within.

However, the individual would not remain unaware for long.

Weeks crawled by, and still changes and shifts and miracles occurred in the opaque niche. A pinprick slowly became inches, a steady tempo thrummed faintly in a tiny body, and features that defined the creature exposed themselves at last. In mere weeks, something like the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly had started and continued to fascinate. Yet the wonder of it all was lost on the beholder, and too late did she see the light.

Too early did her child.

For, exactly as planned, there came a day when an unexpected spasm stirred the dwelling. A moment of breathless silence followed, then sharp implements pierced the rounded walls of protection.

- and then, there was light.

Shattered was the omnipresent murk. Destroyed was the inky, tranquil abode. Unable even to cry out in agonized torture, the baby - the *vitality* - was ripped from its fragile home with vicious silver instruments, its tiny limbs shredded as they grasped in vain. Ferociously torn from everything it had ever known, removed from even its *future*, it was taken and thrust into the world - dead.


Dead; its eyes forever closed, its last memories of a light far more terrifying than the dark.