Category Archives: Tobias Finch

The Edge of the Dark, Chapter 9

Daisy sprinted up the side of the hill out of sight. After a few seconds of climbing away from the burial area, a pitch black curtain fell over me. This time I couldn’t blame my poorly trained eyes. I never felt a dark so thick and so deep even down here in these tunnels. It’s what I imagined sinking to the bottom of a river in the middle of the night would be like: A close, clotted and moist absence of light.  I could feel the entire island of Manhattan and the harbor, hell the whole Atlantic Ocean bearing down on me.

The further I climbed the cooler it became, almost downright cold. My body temperature was so wretched up by the oven-like feel of the Underground City that I shivered a couple of times as my hands clawed onto what felt like, moist, wet rock.

My sense of direction also went completely screwy. I couldn’t tell if I was climbing up or across or down. My hands and feet were working together to help me scale the clammy rock side and keep it under my belly . “DAISY!” I called out, my voice echoed like Jasper’s at the burial.

“Keep moving toward me.”

“Sister, I can’t see you.”

“You don’t have to.”

She was right. My sight seemed like something ridiculous in this place. A toy that children used to amuse themselves. In the chill of that climb I felt a warm spot pop in between my chest and my stomach. It felt comfortable. Almost safe. For some reason that sensation knew that Daisy was right ahead of me and I was crawling toward her. “Can I get a clue as to where we’re going?”

“You’ll see.”

“How about telling me where we are right now.”

“Ahhhh always the detective asking questions. Why don’t you detect?”

I wanted to come back with a clever barb, but I decided to shut my mouth and do exactly as she said. I felt a cool, deep dark around me and that sweaty rock under me. It only made sense that: “Obviously we’re in this Great Deep of yours. But what in the hell is it?”

“Yes, very good Son of Tom. A darkness that knows no light. The roots of the island, the gateway to a number of oceans. Born millions upon millions of years ago in another place. Like me.”

She was starting to lose me with her hooey talk again.

“But that is not important now. Shut off those ears of yours and listen.”

“HOW CAN I-”

“Listen without your ears, see without your eyes and notice what happens.”

It sounded ridiculous, but I started thinking about that warm spot inside me. I had a feeling she meant that thing.

“So what’s this surprise you had-”

“SHUT THAT MOUTH TOBIAS FINCH AND LISTEN TO YOUR GUTS!” Like Mount Vesuvius her words erupted from all around me, almost ripping me open with their force. The echo of it made the rock tremble under my hands. I couldn’t reach out for the next patch and I lost my footing. It felt like that warm spot turned into a fire and my whole body broke out into a blaze. I let go.

Then the fall.

It felt like I was falling for days: backwards, forwards, side-to-side, it didn’t matter. My whole body spinning through another endless tunnel. I didn’t call out for Daisy. I knew the whole time that she was close by. All I saw was that smile, big and full of bright white teeth. For some crazy reason, it all felt OK.

There was a third person with us. I felt that too. Someone familiar but distant. A warm blue glow appeared in the thick dark, one right next to me, one inside of me, where that warm spot had been and one forming under me.

I wanted to be scared, but it wasn’t possible. I wanted to say something, but that wasn’t happening either. I couldn’t even feel my mouth anymore. Maybe that fall killed me and I didn’t know it. My faculties, my entire life, bashed of my head upon landing. But I didn’t hit anything. There was no pain.  It all felt fine.

“Tobias Finch… Your surprise.” It was Daisy, but not in her voice. I just knew she said it. I felt it come from the warm blue glow from her… guts. As that was beginning to make sense to me, my fall broke with a thud. There was cold rock  under my behind and that blue glow that had been hanging around below was now directly in front of me. It wasn’t Daisy. She was gone.

The warm light, wound up into a tight ball, began to expand up and down and then stretch out to the left and the right. It formed a head and then legs. I saw the details of feet and hands and then a face. A face I hadn’t seen in over twenty-five years. A face I knew was with me all along.

It was my father.

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