Hauntingly, the man stares into the distance, his eyes sunk deep into his face, retreating from the light, from the world. Unfocused, the world is blurry, (though there is nothing to see) and it is so easy to forget how to blink. There are storms in his eyes. They are the dull grey of a troubled ocean, where once there were flecks of light and life there are black holes, swallowing up everything in their path. Yet emitting nothing.
His face is a map. Each wrinkle a path, a story, a time, a place, a person. They lead to long lost loves and laughter. Follow them. Some have become trenches, so hollowed by sorrow and loss that they seem unending, the scars of a battle well fought. His beard is a broom. Bristles sprout from speckled skin, a monochrome wall warding off intruders. It has been a while since he has had to let someone in. He is fading, the colour leaching out of him like an old photograph. A relic from the past. Irrelevant, and easily forgotten.
Perhaps it is the lighting. The single, flickering bulb that hangs from the ceiling. It is weak, and dying, barely illuminating the small, sparse room in which it hangs. The walls are faded too, mismatched, with bits of wallpaper peeling here and there, though the patterns cannot be, made out, the light is dying, and the darkness is coming, racing towards him with inky fingers outstretched like a monster in a fairy tale. But who saves the prince when he can’t save himself?
The obsidian shadows have company and the cold creeps in through gaps in the man’s thick winter coat, though the zipper is pulled up tight. It is a ratty thing, long out of fashion. Yet another relic from a bygone age, its salmon and black zig zags look out of place in this new world. The colour is seeping from them as well, making way for the darkness, they have been for a long time.
There are noises, somewhere, outside the room; the distant shrieks of children playing and a baby crying, making its presence known to the world , though the faded man does not make a sound. Even his breathing is hushed. It is quiet in his room and the man keeps staring, as the darkness slithers in.