Very Black

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man notices a strange phenomenon that slowly brings him to discover the darkness within.

Submitted: December 24, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 24, 2011



The sales were staggering! Christmas shopping was in full swing and people looked joyful, even blissful. I was walking down St. John when I saw a woman drop a gum wrapper on the ground. As I passed by the dejected matter I looked down and saw that it was charcoal black. No, not charcoal. This was much darker than that. It was the blackest thing I had ever seen. So black it was that I could detect no features on it; no folds, no writing. All I could see was eternal emptiness; it was very black. I continued my stroll, pondering my latest encounter when I walked passed a roadside garbage. Once again, the contents were all very black. I thought to myself; "How peculiar, I guess this new black is all the rage." I resumed my journey only to come face to face with a woman followed by a man carrying a pile of very black boxes with very black bows and very black cards. A little further down I saw a man offer a woman a bouquet of very black flowers. What was all this black? It was popping up everywhere!

I stopped in at a well known restaurant. All this empty blackness was making me hungry. I decided to order a thick steak, rare, with mashed potatoes, stuffed artichoke hearts... mmm, I was hungry. As I waited for the waiter to arrive, I noticed that people's plates were littered with very black food. Full plates had very black food mixed in with normal coloured food. The food on plates that people were no longer eating from was all very black. I thought to myself; "Why would a respectable restaurant sell so much burnt food. They're going to ruin their reputation!" When the waiter finally came, I asked him about the burnt food. As he stared at me, his look went from confusion to annoyance. "Will you be ordering sir?" I gave him my order but I was not one to waste my money on burnt food, so I made sure to specify; "I don't want anything burnt on my plate. If there is, I will return the plate and ask for another one." The waiter responded with a "sniff" and an "as you wish, sir".

As I waited, I observed a table of eight celebrating what looked like an office Christmas party. On the table was a mound of eight very black packages. One at a time, each person chose a very black package, then removed very black paper to reveal a very black box, which they proceeded to open. A few of the boxes revealed various coloured knickknacks, but most hid black, very black objects. You could tell that the people who received the very black objects didn't appreciate their gifts. Everyone said thank-you and tried to look genuine but as the group left, some of them left behind their very black objects.

I heard a child giggle and turned my head. The child scampered to the recently vacated table and I followed him with my eyes. I watched as he darted for a colourful object left on the table. Strangely, I hadn't seen it before. It seemed to be a crystal angel.

My plate arrived; perfect, no black. I dug in and ate. The steak melted on my tongue, the mashed potatoes were fluffy and light, the stuffed artichoke hearts were zesty; the food was sublime. As I started to be full, I noticed that a significant portion of my steak had turned very black. Upon inspection I realised that the same malignant absence of colour was spreading to my remaining potatoes and stuffed artichokes as well. I looked disgustedly at my supper as the blackness grew, consuming everything on my plate. I was dumbfounded. "What in heaven's name is going on here? Am I going mad?" I considered what to do next. It was obvious that this food was not burnt. It had the same shape and texture as it did earlier, it was very black, that's all. I decided, out of curiosity, that I would taste a piece. After studying my very black leftovers, I chose some very black mashed potatoes. As I approached the lump with my fork, the small portion I was contemplating turned white! Reluctantly I scooped it up, and then inspected it. It was all white; not a speck of black could be found. I looked down at the remaining pile only to find it very black; not a speck of white could be found. I carefully put the potatoes in my mouth, ready to spit at the first sign of trouble, but the taste had not changed. They were as fluffy and light as when I started my meal. Continuing the experiment, I sliced off a piece of steak with the same results. As I approached the steak with my knife, the piece I intended to cut off changed back to its original colour. Putting it in my mouth, I discovered the same sublime taste as when I started the meal.

As I tried to make sense of the whole ordeal, the waiter came by and asked if everything was to my liking. Though I could tell that he really didn't care, I answered him "yes" politely. He then asked if I was finished with my plate and to my own surprise I snapped back; "Does it look like I'm finished?!" The waiter jumped, regained his composure then replied in a disgruntled tone; "I will come back later then, sir." I looked back down at my plate and saw, with absolute astonishment that all the food had reverted back to its original colour!

I was full, but contented. I had cleaned off my plate and concluded my feast with a small desert and a coffee. When the waiter brought the check, I had to ask him to read it because it was very black. Needless to say, the waiter followed me suspiciously with his eyes as I left the restaurant.

It was the evening and though the sky was dark, the air was warm. So warm in fact that most of the white snow in the city was gone. After such a wonderful meal, such nice weather beckoned me to take a walk. In any case, I had some serious issues to work out in my head. My distracted stroll led me to the shadier parts of town. When I realised where I was, I looked around in apprehension. I saw many dark figures walking about. I saw two ladies standing at the corner I was approaching. I could tell they were prostitutes by the clothing they wore. To my horror, when I looked into their faces, all I could see was the most empty and dark black I had ever seen in my life! It was so empty that I felt as if I would be sucked into the blackness and consumed whole.

"He beby, you lookin fo a good tiiime?" The words of one of the prostitutes snapped me out of my stupor and I recoiled. "Wussa matta, you ain seen good lak dis befo?" I stared into her featureless face: scared; ashamed; lustful; angry. I wanted to see her eyes. "Why you look a me lak da? Stop lookin a me lak da!" All of a sudden, I had a feeling in my gut. I recognised the feeling. Though much more powerful, it was the same feeling that occurred when the waiter asked me if I was finished my plate. I thought "Hell no. This is wonderful; valuable. I want the food on this plate to achieve the fullness of its being; to BE what it was created for!"

My whole body vibrated. I felt hot and I heard pounding in my head. As I gazed into the very blackness of the prostitutes face, I saw a little child come towards me. She was smiling and laughing. Then she started crying, then screaming in pain. It was horrible. I felt the girl being rejected and the disdained. I felt myself rejecting and disdaining that child. I turned away and ran. Behind me, I heard the sobs of the prostitute and the threats of the other one beside her; "Doan you come back, A kick yo ass!"

As I ran, my throat burned as I sucked in the cold dry air. There were very black objects all around me. The emptiness of the objects sucked the heat out of the air and, indeed, right out of my body. The very black buildings loomed over me like monoliths of nothingness. Very black cars floated by like ebony caskets with their deceased occupants glaring at me through very black vacant eyes. I stumbled as I ran to find the comfort of my bed covered in colourful paisleys with red, white and blue checker sheets.

I fumbled to find the invisible keyhole in the very black lock on the very black door to my very black apartment. Being swallowed into my apartment once I opened the door, I raced for the washroom. Looking into the mirror above the sink, I saw nothing, just very black nothingness staring back at me.

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