This short story came to me in a dream. I woke up with the three words on my lips. I could not sleep, so I rose at 03:00 and spent the next hour writing it. Of course it needed tweeking and a grammar check later. Someone you know may need to read this, so please don't hesitate to pass it along to them. You have my permission to copy and past as many times as you need to as long as it gets to those who need it.

I sat alone in my despair, weak and frightened. Alone was not new to me. Even in a crowded room, I often felt that way.

There was no future for me, only the past. Even the present fled the worries and mistakes that haunted me now. No one knew those mistakes, no one knew those choices. I chose poorly so many times.I was now backed into a corner, with no way out. I had no choices left.

As they had done so for months, those thoughts crushed me under their weight. I could not shoulder them. They were just too much for me to bear. They left me lying on the floor, my knees pulled up to my chest and unable to breath or move. I lay there alone, weeping.

In the dark somewhere, the world rushed past me, as it always did. I could not see it, or even hear it, but I knew it was there.It moved past at the speed of light, and it took no notice of me because it cared nothing for me. The people in it only had eyes for what was upon the screens in their hands. Friends, family and foes alike avoided me, lest their world be interrupted. Some even feared catching the despair within me. Others cursed it and pointed fingers, throwing blame.

Oh, some claimed they cared and put their hands on my shoulder, whispering words they thought I needed to hear, but I knew the truth. All they wanted was to hurry back to their perfect little world. They were eager to be rid of me; they would not miss me. Even though they claimed too, they did not understand. No one could understand.

That hurt, it was the worst part. When those who were supposed to care did not or failed to understand, it made the tears flow faster, it even left me with anger. In the end, they would be better off without me. I would not be there to burden them. I would no longer be in their way. In a few short moments it would all be over, and they would move on without me, better off.

After several minutes, or maybe it was hours, or maybe it was even days, I don’t know which, but I sat up.I looked around again, but I found nothing had changed. I was still alone, no one cared, and no one understood.

And suddenly the cycle repeated.

I could not tell you how long this went on, but at some point, a hand appeared out of the darkness. It held a feathered pen out to me. I hesitated for what seemed like an eternity, but eventually I reached up and took it. It was an elegant pen, one made of a long sleek white feather. Its point was sharp and stained with dark ink. A piece of parchment appeared on the ground before me. It wasn’t white, instead it was stained and rough. Its edges were marred with tears and age. Several creases wrinkled its surface. I reached out and tried to straighten them out, but my stiff shaking hands did little. I looked at the page again, despite its imperfect surface, it was a blank slate waiting to be written upon.

I looked up at the one who had handed me the pen. I could not see his face. It was hidden from me, but he whispered loud enough for me to hear. Go ahead, do it. Finish it. End the misery. Go ahead and write your own ending.

I was out of options. I had no choice.It was dark, and I could not see any way out. At first, I did not know what to write, I wasn’t a wordsmith. But deep inside an urge grew to put the pen to the parchment.

I did not want to be any more burden to those who knew me. I would write myself out of their story. I could go somewhere far away where they would not have to watch my ending. I could also take the moment and force them to see what I felt. I could use that anger I sometimes felt and force them to feel what I felt; pain, sorrow, desperation. I could force them to understand. But this would be the burden I did not want to be.In the end, it was best if I simply went away.

I thought about it for a very long time. What I would have given for someone to reach out of the darkness and take this final burden from me.

The one standing over me was patient. The passing of time did not seem to bother him, he was endless, like the darkness. Eventually, I came to a decision.

So, I sat pen to paper, and I wrote.

Here lies hope.

Those three simple words sent a scream of anguish through the stranger who had handed me the pen. He recoiled from them and fled into the sordid blackness taking what little light there was.

I sat there for a moment in the silence, only this time I was not alone. Hope filled me. It wasn’t an overwhelming feeling. It was subtle, but it was there. I reached out with my thoughts and grabbed onto it. Listening, just listening.

It wasn’t easy. The burdens and worries struggled to pry my fingers away from Hope. They sought to overwhelm my thoughts, but that simple little word held power over them. It held power over me.It held power over the darkness. I listened for the first time in years.

I looked down at the paper and the three simple words began to glow softly, like they were made of pale-yellow light. It was a soft beautiful light that pushed back the darkness around me.

What it revealed astounded me. I was not alone, as I had thought for so long. Another man stood over me. Unlike the dark one, he was dressed in light and his face was gentle. His eyes were full of compassion. He stood with his hand on my shoulder. It was a hand that had always been there, one I had ignored. I knew what it waited for. It was a simple thing, it waited for me to simply listen. Like so many others, I stopped listening long ago. Yet, he remained, patiently waiting my return.

He did not speak, but he made a simple gesture around us and I looked up.

I could faintly see there were others in the darkness. Some lay curled in a ball weeping as I had. Others held pens of their own, their papers blank before them. Off to one side, a young man scribbled on his paper, anger twisting his features. Still, others lay unmoving beside their ink filled pages.

The man who stood over me, stood over all of them as well. He wept for each one and spoke softly to them. Most of them ignored him. Others were oblivious to his presence. Others even shouted back at him. But yet, he remained with each one, patient and listening.

I looked up at him and he smiled down at me. He understood.

That thought hit me suddenly. He understood.He knew the burden, he knew the mistakes, the failed choices. He knew everything, and he still cared. His burden was visible to me as well. Next to his, mine was a summer breeze.

I lay down on my stomach, placed my elbows on the ground and my chin in my hands. I studied the three words. They were so simple, none more than a single syllable in length. Yet, they held power over the darkness, over my burdens.

Other words began to scrawl across the page. They were not my words. They were ancient words, but words with just as much power today as they held when first written. They would never wash away or become insignificant.

I began to read, and I listened for the first time in a very long time. When I reached the end of the first page, I turned it over, and a second page appeared. I read it too, and then another, and another.

My worries and thoughts subsided, but my hand only gripped the word I held tighter. The freer my hand became to let go, the tighter I held on.Each new word on the page gave me more strength to hold on.

When faced with no choice, I made a choice. There is always a choice.

Submitted: June 15, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Kindel Daniels. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Celia Sennon

Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading your story. It is almost like a mirror of some of my own experiences. I cannot read it once.

Sat, July 27th, 2019 5:08pm


Thank you. I had a dream and woke up to write the first draft at 3 AM. Maybe it was meant for you. Maybe it is meant for someone else. Please fill free to share as much as you need.

Sat, July 27th, 2019 12:06pm

En Raiter

Incredible! This is it! This is why we write in hopes of putting something like this together. This is the importance of the Poet! The necessary being that tells the truth about our human condition and interaction with entities not entirely of this world. Your pen is on fire scorched by the light of our collective truth. Thank you for producing it!

Tue, June 15th, 2021 3:52am


Great job

Tue, April 5th, 2022 12:02am


Thank you for sharing your lovely gift with the world end with me

Wed, April 20th, 2022 8:42pm


Nice job Kindel

Mon, June 27th, 2022 12:18am

Sumit Kumar Arora

Good strory

Mon, March 13th, 2023 12:55pm

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