Editor’s Note: This short story was based off a writing prompt in Reddit’s r/writingprompts.
I heard the faint buzz of the computer flat line as I slipped off into the darkness.
I couldn’t grasp what was happening. My wife, Marie, and I were just driving home from our first date in six months when I saw a pair of bright lights heading straight for our car—the image of Marie’s look of horror burned into my mind.
Now, here I was, surrounded by darkness. I was sure my eyes were open, but I couldn’t see anything. I stood there waving my hands in front of my face, only feeling the warm air softly blow into my face. My ears perked up, listening for anything in this black space. Nothing.
“HELLO!” I yelled, unsure if anything would respond. “MARIE?” The darkness muted my words much like it blocked my sight.
I began to run, in every direction, as fast as I could, sure that I would eventually run into something or someone.
“HELLO!” I yelled again. “MARIE, ARE YOU HERE?” My words went nowhere.
I felt as if I had been running for miles when my legs begin to give. I stopped and sucked in the warm, humid air, which was hard to breathe. It grabbed my lungs and felt suffocating. I breathed harder, feeling my breaths draw faster. The world around me felt as if it was shrinking. I began to panic: faster breaths of the suffocating air, my heart raced, I grew light-headed, as fear settled in. Where was I? How do I get out of here? What happened? I felt a strange presence draw closer to me.
I began running again.
That’s when I saw a bright white light off far off in the distance.
I ran. As fast I’ve ever ran. I wasn’t going to stop until I reached the light.
The closer I came the more if felt as if the dark world was collapsing on top of me. The air was so thick I felt like I was drowning. I could no longer breathe and I collapsed yards before crossing into the light.
I gasped for air, doing all that I could to take my next breath.
“Come….” I heard a faint voice say off in the distance. “Come back!”
I reached out and dragged myself closer with the last breaths.
“Come back to me!” the voice screamed.
I could no longer breathe, no longer move under the weight of the darkness. I passed out before I could reach the light.
“Come back to me, Jim! Come back, honey!” I heard Marie scream.
“Clear!” a voice yelled I didn’t recognize.
Electricity coursed through my body, jolting my cold heart back to life.
I shot up on a table in a bright room into the arms of Marie, who cradled my face in her chest as I gasped for air. I felt her tears drip onto my shoulders.
“Don’t ever let me go back there again,” I said.