"under the night sky, everything is black"

by C. Ikpoh

He sat next to the trophy of his psychosis, legs bent with his arms wrapped around them and his head between them. The mist of breath exited from underneath his shoulders as the breeze gently whisped by. The subtle sound of drops drumming against the leaves below were muffled by the surrounding grass. At a quick glance, the liquid appeared black. "Actually," he thought, "it probably is black." But he knew differently. The moon's shy behavior left all underneath it to seek the illumination that was seemingly lost. The drops, though appearing as if they fell from the face on a portrait of the night sky, were crimson. The woman next to him was as well. She was motionless as well, void of all life. He pondered to himself, "What of the world and everything in it? Can my place belong within this answer?" Glancing at the fresh corpse, he answered his own inquiry, "No such abomination could have been intentional."


Slowly strolling towards the black waters of the nearby river, he caught a glimpse of his reflection. In it, his eyes rippled with darkness only known to that which is void of light. "Fitting," he thought, "for this is their true color." In actuality, they were brown. He knew this but convinced himself otherwise. This sight made him feel more comfortable with his reality. Splashing the river water on his face, he imagined the view an onlooker would have witnessed if they were to appear and glance in his direction: tar from his hands smearing across his face as the dark waters mixed with the black liquid painted over his mandible. The voyeur would have seen him drinking oil from the earth, soiling his sleeve with beetle ink as he wiped the leftover drops from his lips. A sight to behold for the shadows alone.


While inhaling the invisible air colored that of the darkest hour, he heard a crow fly above his head. The vibrations of the wings released a thick wave of velvet breezes upon his crown. Tracing the bird as it soared camouflaged through the sky, he noticed it landed next to a perched raven. The two stood proudly, protruding their chests to the furthest most points. Their silhouettes displayed side-by-side like two dark knights on a chess board played out of position. Somewhere a king was nevermore, and the birds' eyes gloated of such knowledge. The raven's reflected the crows, as did the crow's reflected the raven's. Their vision of four condensed to that of a cyclops. Yet, they glimmered in the pale absence of light.  "Impossible," he said to himself. "Nothing so black can shine so bright." Nevertheless, the eyes of the birds did so, and he knew why.


As he rose to a stance, the voices in his head spoke fondly of his night's deed. The man had satisfied their request. He vanquished any light that existed within. "Better for me," he contemplated. "The darker the better so I don't have to see their twisted, disgusting faces." However, he knew solace would not be his. The image of their masks were forever imprinted in his mind. The scars from their bites were indelible, and they had been eating away at his sanity for ages. As the voices rejoiced in his open ear to the obeying of their demands, the man caught the faintest scent of paper in his nostrils. He felt fingers pressing on his skin one-by-one. Each spot left a unique mark smeared with the Reaper's paint. His voices were imprinting their claws on his physical, claiming their property. He was the paper. He was owned. "It feels delightful to be wanted so," he expressed to the voices. Nevertheless, the sweet potion of deceit was lost on his own consciousness. He loathed their love, for it was tainted, tainted to colors of the deepest violet.


"This is my life, my world," the man thought to himself. With the corpse in front of him, and the black waters behind, his words rang correct, and for the first time that night, the man had not lied to himself. Each step towards his final destination revealed his life's nature. The clouds loomed ashen and smokey. The grass crunched under his feet, burned by his soles. Surrounded by darkness, the man spoke the final truth of the midnight hour. "Under the night sky everything is black. Everything is black."