It’s Dark Outside

Its Dark Outside BLACK

It’s Dark Outside

An Excerpt by Ben V. Y. 

A May 2024 Monthly Story Challenge Winner

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Lei slowly opened his eyes, feeling the warmth of the morning sun filtering through the curtains.

 He found himself in his familiar dorm room, the space he shared with his roommate, Evan.

 The room was spacious, reminiscent of a suite in a luxury hotel. 

Evan was still deeply asleep, his gentle snores filling the air. Lei lay in his own bed, parallel to Evan's, taking in the familiar sight of their shared space.

Their dormitory was equipped with all the essential amenities.

 A small kitchen area boasted a fridge, stove, and oven, while a TV and a comfortable couch occupied one corner.

 The room also featured a neat bathroom and two twin-sized beds. A few chairs and other pieces of furniture completed the cozy setup.

The room's walls were painted pristine white, adding to the sense of tranquility. A single fan whirred quietly on the ceiling, providing a soothing background noise. Four indoor plants were thoughtfully placed around the room, adding splashes of green to the decor.

Today was a rare free day, meaning no classes or obligations. While most students would relish the opportunity to sleep in, Lei could not succumb to more slumber.

Today, Ben would take Akira to the hospital. That was such a big deal because Akira had emotional trauma with the doctor's office. Lei and his friends had no idea why, but getting him checked out for something was always a pain.

Lei rose from his bed and made his way to the bathroom. 

The time was 6 AM, and he was eager to start his day with a refreshing shower. 

Upon entering, he securely locked the door behind him to ensure his privacy.

The bathroom interior boasted a single toilet, a spacious shower enclosure, and a sleek sink nestled within a white marble-topped cabinet. 

The cabinet housed neatly folded towels, a supply of deodorant, toothbrushes belonging to both Lei and Evan and an assortment of personal care products.

Lei removed his clothes and went into the shower, closing the shower curtain.

As he stood beneath the warm spray of the shower, Lei's mind wandered, contemplating the activities that lay ahead for the day. 

His plans included a visit to the park to meet up with Callisto and assisting Ben in rousing Akira from bed immediately after he finished his shower.

After completing his morning routine, Lei dressed in suitable attire for the day. 

As he made his way to the door, he cracked his knuckles and stepped out of the dorm room, ready to take on the day's tasks.

As Lei strolled down the hallway towards Akira's room, he couldn't help but find the situation somewhat comical – a group of college students attempting to coax a grown adult out of bed and into a trip to the hospital.

Upon reaching Akira's dorm, Lei spotted Ben waiting at the door for him, ready to tackle the day's challenges together. “Ya ready for chaos?” Lei asked jokingly.

“This is so stupid,” Ben replied. We are adults! Who cares if he doesn't want to get his ankle checked out? This seems unprofessional.”

“No one cares!” Lei said, laughing. “I simply want to have some fun. If someone did care, we would have sent him to the doctor yesterday.”

“Fair enough,” Ben said back, chuckling.

Lei knocked on the door. No reply. All he could think was that this was a pure example of adults being dumb.

Lei knocked on the door once more. 

Suddenly, the door swung open, revealing a horrifying sight that shocked Lei's eyes.

Before him stood the being he had glimpsed in the parking lot. Its form resembled that of a human, but it had unnaturally long arms ending in enormous, blood-stained claws.

Its entire body was a deep, inky black, except for its head, which resembled a grotesquely deformed skull with a multitude of razor-sharp teeth lining its maw.

The creature's body seemed to be composed of swirling smoke, its form flickering in and out of existence. It towered over Lei at a height of at least 6 feet. 

As it loomed over him, one of its immense claws reached out toward his face, leaving Lei frozen in terror, his complexion drained of all color.

“We’re coming,” It rasped.

“You good, Lei?”

A flash of light returned Lei to what he thought was reality.

Instead of the monster, he saw Akira in its place. Lei looked to his left to see Ben looking at him in concern.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Ben said, worried.

“I-Im fine,” He lied, scared. “Just…tired, that's all.”

Ben and Akira looked at him skeptically but shrugged it off.

“I…I need to go…somewhere.” Lei then walked away, his pace slowly turning into a run.

He ran through the hallway towards the exit. Lei needed to get outside. He had to be going crazy, right? 

“Hey! Bro! Remember, doctors suck! Leave me alone!” Akira added.

Lei disregarded Akira and dashed outside, his pace quickening with every step. 

What in the world was that thing? Lei eventually halted at a bench by the road, his breaths coming in ragged gasps, his stomach throbbing, and his mind in disarray.

Fear still gripped Lei's mind as he struggled to make sense of his surroundings. Everything seemed hazy, and his body felt numb as if he had been plunged into icy waters at the South Pole.

Shivers ran down his spine. What was happening to him? The image of the monstrous creature refused to leave his mind. 

Suddenly, a wave of excruciating pain coursed through his body, causing him to double over on the bench. 

He couldn't bear it. Lei let out a piercing scream that echoed across the campus. He was overwhelmed with fear and confusion, and tears streamed down his face.

In the distance, Lei saw blurred figures of Callisto, Ben, and Akira rushing toward him, their faces etched with horror. 

As he gazed up at the sky, it seemed to twist into a dark shade of purple, the road contorting and trees ablaze. People were staring, but their faces were destroyed like they had been mauled to death.

“What's happening?!” Callisto screamed. 

“I don't know!” Ben replied, freaking out. 

Lei's body started shaking uncontrollably; he started losing consciousness.

“OH MY GOD! GUYS THAT'S NOT NORMAL. SOMEBODY CALL 911!” Callisto shrieked. She put her hand on him, checking his pulse. 

“We have a hospital here! On campus!” Ben replied. “We need to move him!”

Callisto lifted Lei’s head, and Ben picked up his legs. 

Lei’s vision turned more black, and he passed out.

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