Excerpt of In Darkness by Nick Lake
(Page 3 of 4)
Printer Friendly Excerpt
...WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER.
Am I dead? WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER. What
happened? WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER. Is this the
end of the world? WATER, WATER, WATER, WATER,
That is how my mouth swallows everything else. Maybe
my mouth will swallow me, and then this will be over.
I decide to crawl, to measure the space of my prison. I
know the rubble and the hand on my left - I don't need to
go there again. I don't want to touch that clammy skin. In
front of me, and to my right and behind me, is just darkness,
though maybe I should stop calling it that cos there's no
light at all; it's more blackness. I shift forward on my hands
and knees, and I scream when my wrist bends a little and
the wound opens. The scream echoes off the concrete all
I shuffle, and I feel like I'm not a person anymore, like I've
turned into some animal. I move maybe one body length and
then I hit a wall of blocks. I reach up with my hands and
stand up, and I feel that it goes up to the ceiling. Only the
ceiling is lower than I remember, so that's not great, either. To
my right, the same thing - a broken bed, then a wall of rubble.
And behind me. I'm in a space maybe one body length in
I'm in a coffin.
I hold my half of the necklace, and it's sharp in my hand
where the heart is cracked in two. I think of my sister, who
had the other half of the heart and who I lost when I was a
I try to say the invocation, the words to the Marassa, cos
they might be able to bring my sister back to me, but I'm too
thirsty and I don't remember them.
You're the voices in the dark, so the world can't all be gone.
There must be people left.
You're the voices in the dark, so listen, mwen apè parlay.
I'm going to speak to you.
I'm going to tell you how I got here, and how I got this
bullet in my arm. I'm going to tell you about my sister, who
was taken from me by the gangsters, by the chimères. This
was 2,531 days ago, when my papa was killed. At least, I think
it was. I used to know how many days cos I marked them in
my head. Now I don't know if it's two or three days I've been
in the darkness, so I don't know how long ago my papa was
chopped to piti-piti pieces and my sister was taken. But I
know this: it hurts every day as much as the last, as much as
It hurts now, even, and you would think I have other things
to worry about, what with being trapped with no water and
no food, and no way out.
Maybe, maybe, if I tell you my story, then you'll understand
me better and the things I've done. Maybe you'll, I don't
know, maybe you'll... forgive me. Maybe she will.
My sister, she was my twin. She was one half of me. You
have to understand: a twin in Haiti, that's serious maji; it's
something powerful. We were Marassa, man. You know
Marassa? They're lwa, gods, the gods of twins - super-strong,
super-hardcore, even though they look like three little kids.
They're some of the oldest gods from Africa. Even now in
vodou, the Marassa come right after Papa Legba in the ceremony.
Marassa can heal you, can bring you good luck, can
make people fall in love with you. Marassa can see your
future, double your money, double your life. People from
where I come from, they believe human twins can do the
same and can talk to each other in silence, too, cos they share
the same soul.
So you see? Me and my sister, we were magic. We were
meant to be born. We were special. We shared the same soul.
People gave us presents, man - total strangers, you know.
People would stop us in the street, want us to give them our
We shared the same soul, so when she was gone I became
half a person. I would like you to remember this, so that you
don't judge me later. Remember: even now, as I lie in this
ruined hospital, I am only one half of a life, one half of a soul.
I know this. That is why I have done the things I have done.
But you don't know them yet, of course - the things I've
done, the reasons why I am half a person, the reason why I
was in this hospital when everything fell down. You don't
know the hurt I've caused.
Excerpted from In Darkness
by Nick Lake. Copyright © 2012 by Nick Lake.
Excerpted by permission of Bloomsbury. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.