The darkness is rich and thick. It feels like velvet on her skin. The silence is immense. So pure that her own breath sounds like a storm, like a low rumble of thunder in her ears.
Her back is straight. Like a tree, she tells herself. Her spine is the trunk of a great and ancient redwood. Her legs, folded on top of each other, are her roots. She will sit here, like this, in this silent dark until she feels peace.
Take a deep breath.
She sucks the cool darkness into herself and holds it in her belly.
She allows the warmth to pass through her slightly parted lips. The sound of it hangs in the air, around her ears.
She breathes the quiet blackness again. Her belly is perfectly round and taut. She is pregnant with this black silence.
That’s it, she thinks, rhythmic and deep breathing; smooth and easy. Then she allows herself no more thoughts.
Thoughts are made of words. Words are but symbols of the external world. The external world is an illusion. What is real is the fullness of darkness, the wholeness of silence. This is the purity before creation. The perfection before separation.
She does not think this. Her body has taken responsibility of its own physical obligations. There is no need for her mind to remain confined to its fleshy prison. It is now free to frolic in the ether.
Here, in this black nothingness, is where God lives. This wordless emptiness is God, and there is no separation between her and It.
This is why she has come here. To find God.
But the Devil finds her first.
He slips into her, riding on the tide of her breath. Her body sucks him in deeply. Into her belly – round and taut. She is pregnant with the Devil. He follows the trail of chi through her heart, into her mind and leaks himself into the Ether.
He creeps into the black. She is too enraptured, at first, to realise that he has come. She has underestimated him, his ability to find her and the relentlessness of his pursuit. She is relaxed and open. The Devil grabs her by this serenity; takes a fistful of it into his clawed, scaly hands and ties it into knots and tangles. The blackness becomes harsh and cold. It is shadow and gloom. The velvet becomes Velcro. Rough and sticky.
The Devil is a million little hooks sunk into her soft peace and clarity.
Her body gasps and whimpers. Her breath is short and shallow. Fast and erratic.
This blackness is dirt. It is grime and filth. She sputters and chokes. The air is like mire. She is at the centre of an opaque swamp. The Devil is around her ankles, a concrete block.
He is guilt and fear. She is guilty and afraid.
•••Keisha Lynne Ellis feels as though writing may very well be her only hope for gaining and maintaining sanity in a world entrenched in absurdity. She writes short stories, spoken word poetry and critical essays.