Shadow and Light

by Ina Tauer & Jeanette Hoffmann

She was falling.

Faster and deeper she fell into a pitch black darkness like the shapeless, formless, bottomless, endless void where the edge of death lay.

Her mind whisked away from just re-discovered sensations of lights and sounds around her.

A voice breathed her name softly. It urged her not to give in rather, to fight, to stay alive and not leave the living behind.

Such a sweet voice filled thick with emotion. Like a beacon dancing through her world of darkness, it promised to comfort and care for her .

"Please don’t go..."

She wondered where it came from. She felt it stir a feeling of warmth and love in her soul that slowed down her spin through eternal night. There was something about that voice. Something Alex couldn’t quite figure out. Or had she just forgotten?

"Alex!"

"Yes, that’s me and I am here. Right here." She answered, reaching out to no avail from the void that contained no direction or boundaries.

Her own voice was just an echo within her mind for she was trapped in a paralyzed body whose last spark of life was slowly ebbing away.

She was dying.

The sudden realization wasn’t scary.

And it didn’t hit her as a surprise; not really.

She knew. Hadn’t she glimpsed at her fragile body from above just a little while ago?

Dream or reality?

Her mind was confused now. Was she standing at the crossroads of life and death?

Was there something to fear in the dark?

It promised peace and tranquility.

So why listen to the persistent voice? To the vaguely familiar turmoil of feelings it’s sound triggered.

She was tired of fighting. So very tired.

Her life passed before her inner Eye. She remembered places she had been and people she had seen. Sensed love and joy, grief and sorrow in a roller coaster of emotions from which she felt strangely detached.

She thought about her mother. Taken much too early from her. How it had hurt to hear her pain filled moans and last drawing of breath until death finally released her from her suffering.                   

Death had been a welcomed friend then.

Why not embrace him now?

Another memory raised itself from the dark corners of Alex mind. It invaded her thoughts directly and viciously against her will. Sudden fear made her resistance futile; cracking up her sanity, it smoothed the ground for what was about to happen.

HIM!

Desperately she tried not to even think his name. Not to give him any power over her being again.

But the effort was useless since a single thought started a cascade of memories.

Alex silent cry went unheard.

The blackness around her started to spin more rapidly, working itself up to a climax.

The whisper started suddenly. Very faint, very far away, the voice unchanged through death and time.

"Sweet Alexandra, my sweet Alexandra. How I missed your company."

Unreal shadows moved around.

Emotions exploded.

Alex felt Victor LaRue’s lips caressing a spot on her neck pulling her closer to his body.        

"My sweet Alexandra, finally you’re mine for eternity." He promised, his hands groping everywhere, invading her private areas.

Alex froze feeling his touch. She smelled his sick body odor, a repellent mixture of fear, sexual anticipation and aftershave.

Was this nightmare real or just a Dejavu?

Was the memory chiseled in the walls of her mind so strongly that it could return from there unasked just like that? Was this why people were afraid of the dark?

His voice was the one of the storm and his caress like the touch of death.

Fight! She screamed tot her herself. Now!

Alex awoke with a jolt, her body rigid and taut. For a moment she was disorientated. Fear still clutched at her heart.                   

“Shh. It was just a nightmare." Her husband whispered as he moved closer to her under the sheets. "You’re safe, I’m here..." His soothing hand wiped away the tears she had shed while dreaming. "Everything’s okay, I won’t let anything happen to you..."

His body molded against hers, his presence comforted and protected her, chasing the darkness away. Like he always used to when memories started to torture her sleep.

Alex relaxed in his embrace, enjoying his care and love.

Drowsily she remembered the coma. Of course it had been his voice urging her to hang on to life, to fight, to become his wife.

Walker had made the difference then. Just like he always did.

Where he was, there was light.

And now the light even was within her.

She guided his hand to a certain spot on her belly, where she felt their unborn child kick out strong and confident.

Soon the light would shine even brighter.