Title: Lacrimor
Author: Shalott
Rating: PG
Addendum: Please see author's notes on my profile.

Once upon a time, in a world filled with light, there was a child who could not escape the darkness. As a babe, the child saw shadowy corners in rooms filled with light. As the child grew older, the darkness became blacker and more sinewy. It watched the child from places no darkness should hide. It smiled at the child from the child's own shadow, or watched with black eyes from the shade of a healthy oak or the inside of a blooming rose. As the child grew older that child became more curious. One day the childish curiosity mixed spontaneously with the bravado of the innocent, and that child went to the darkness.

"I see you." So simple, so direct. The words of a child to an unknown.

The greasy, sinewy darkness twisted. It moved in a an uncomfortable way, in a way that darkness was not supposed to move. From the black corner of the child's room, it began to pull its self into form. It pulled its self into form and smiled at the child with white, white teeth.

"Hello." The darkness said, in a conversational tone.

The child looked at the darkness and wondered. Wondered many things, but what the child did not wonder was how such darkness existed in a world of such light. So the child responded.

"Hullo." The child said, in a youthful tone. It was grating compared to the dulcet smoothness of the darkness.

Pulling clear of the deep corner, the darkness began to take shape. Soon it stood before the child, a pleasant-faced young woman neither exceptionally beautiful nor exceptionally ugly. The child considered it, and found it unremarkable. When it smiled, its' teeth were normal, as normal as its' face.

"Why do you hide in the darkness?" The child asked with an innocent frankness, staring directly into its' unremarkable brown eyes. The child had neither fear nor remorse, but an open curiosity that refreshed the darkness. So it answered.

"Once, long ago, I lived in a world of light much like your own. All the same, as the light grew stronger, I found the darkness inside of me growing stronger along with it. I became afraid of the light. The light reveals too much. So I left the light, and found freedom in the darkness."

The child considered this. With the direct ease of a childish mind, the child asked, "Have you ever had a dog?"

The darkness stopped for a moment. It considered this. "I wonder", was its' only response.

The child spoke again. "I knew a girl once, her name was Elizabeth. She had a dog. A cracker…no. A cocker spaniel. We used to play together. One day, Elizabeth was gone. My mommy said she had moved away, but Elizabeth's mommy and daddy still lived there. I knew that Elizabeth was dead, because her dog was always crying."

The child stopped now, because the child recognized the darkness for what it was, and the child knew with an unequivocal certainty that Elizabeth had not only died, but that she had died horribly, taken away by the darkness. Still, the child was not afraid, because no darkness that could hurt a child would smile with such soft brown eyes and such white, white teeth. So the child was not afraid. Instead, the child asked the darkness a question.

"I don't have a dog. If I die, who will cry for me?"

The darkness looked at the child. Remembered dogs and unshed tears, but only as a vague, vague memory. Reaching out with a finger like ice, it traced the track of an unshed tear.

"I will." It promised the child, saying the little one's name. The child was surprised for with certainty the darkness had never been told the child's name. It smiled at the child again with its' white, white teeth and returned to the sinewy darkness.

The child had never been quite a normal child, but after meeting the darkness, the child made a greater attempt to embrace the light. Remembering the startling truth about what happened to little children in the darkness, it was the light the child was drawn to. The child was happy, but there was a part that remained cold. A part that remembered the darkness.

Now the child was twelve years older and a child no longer. The child had grown, matured. Still that darkness managed to find them no matter where they went. One day, they were sitting in their room looking at the sinewy, greasy darkness in the corner. And the now-grown child spoke.

"I see you." So simple, so direct. The same words a dark, cold child had said to an unknown.

The inky darkness twisted to smile at them with white, white teeth.

"Hello." The darkness said, in conversational tones. The child who was not a child remembered what could to happen to the lost ones in the darkness, but it hadn't taken them then, so they replied.

"Hello." Their voice was smooth now, matured. An equal match for its' dulcet tones.

Pulling away from the shadows in the corner, the darkness began to take shape, until it had the form of a young woman. She was still the same age as she had been before, but the child who was not seemed to have aged one or two years past her. She beautiful, with a simple, classic beauty and the child who was not wondered how they had ever thought her unremarkable.

The child who was not had called her for a reason, so with stunning frankness they asked their question. "Why do you still hide in the darkness?" They were so open, so relaxed that the darkness could not help but answer.

"Once, long ago, I lived in a world filled with light. No matter how much light I looked towards, I could not remove the darkness that continued to grow inside of me. I was scared, and so I reached out to the darkness. I walked away from the light, into the shadows because I was afraid. Then I saw you, and I remembered light. Nevertheless, as strong as the darkness may be, it must recede before the light. So all I can do is hide."

The child who was not considered this. "If I give you my hand, can you come into my world of light?"

She smiled, sadly, and the child who was not realized that her smiles were only reflections left in the pool of the tears she had shed. The darkness replied, regret in her voice.

"No, no that will not work. Light kills darkness. I cannot come."

The child who was not gave this some thought, then spoke. "I had a friend, once. Her name was Elizabeth. She died because bad men took her into the darkness and she was all alone there. Her dog cried for a long, long time. Then Elizabeth's mommy and daddy had a new baby, and her dog stopped crying. That was when I realized that I had more to be afraid of by being alone, than from the darkness."

The darkness looked at the child who was not. "Have you ever had a dog?"

The child who was not looked back at her. "I wonder."

Reaching out their hand to the darkness, the child who was not took her icy cold hand in theirs. "You yearn for the light because you are alone in the darkness. I yearn for the darkness because I am alone in the light. If you cannot come here, let me go with you. For you see, I cannot cry. Will you cry for me?"

She laughed, and her laughter sounded like tears falling into an ocean of their brothers and sisters. "I will cry for you, always. Come then, child. I promise that you will never lack another to cry for you in the darkness."

"Yes, for in the darkness it is always safe to cry." The child who was not nodded with satisfaction, and together they stepped from the world of light into the sinewy darkness.

Not very far away, in the corner of a young babe's room, the shadows deepened into an inky black darkness. The writhing caught the attention of the babe, and the babe began to cry. But that is another story.

~ FIN ~