Tenebrism

TENEBRISM: a style of painting especially associated with the Italian painter Caravaggio and his followers in which most of the figures are engulfed in shadow but some are dramatically illuminated by a beam of light usually from an identifiable source. 


~I~

– Noooooo. That didn’t happen. That was so surreal… it’s just a dream or nightmare rather! CHLOE WAKE UP! Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Chloe’s trembling hoarse voice echoed in the room of this morose house.
Surrounded by darkness, the only sources of light were a red glow of stereo and elusive lightning. She sat on a bed, embraced her knees and looked with tear-stained eyes through a window where the storm was crying with her.

– Max… where are you now?  Will you ever come back and tell me stories of the Seattle… and the ones you left behind? I can’t believe. Daddy… and now you…

She whispered and wiped a tear.

– Chloe, I promise. Someday we will beat the obstacles. You and me… together. And we will go there.

– For sure. We better go looking for these treasures if we ever want to see Seattle!

They giggled and run into Arcadia Bay’s forest.

Reminiscence of them dressed up as pirates was so woeful.

– ALL OF YOU PROMISED YOU WON’T LEAVE ME!

She shouted in the air, but there were no one who could respond.

It’s hard to believe that this is the same Chloe who just a few weeks ago was always smiling. Inherently joyful she started to be on the skids, rolling in the deep. Turmoil inside her was made of tempestuous thoughts. Bereft by wicked fate. This couple of days passed so indolently as if she dreamt a lethargic dream.

-Best friends don’t abandon… You’re … You’re dead for me… just like them! It’s been 2 weeks and you didn’t even give me a call. Is that too much for you?!

Chloe was having a dialogue with Max in her head as if she was here. But even her enraged voice couldn’t cover the distance between them.

-Joyce is with her lover boy. There is no one to talk. No one who can save me.

She quiesced and with anxiety she was waiting forward sunrise. Hoping that with first gleams her bizarre life will change.

~II~

It was a tranquil mid-afternoon nonetheless, everything was about to change.

-Chloe how was your day in school?

It was Joyce’s voice coming from the kitchen.

– As if you care… – she thought – awful. What is he doing here?

Chloe asked.

-Hello, Chloe.

-Oh, David and I were just about leaving.

-Okay then… Have fun?

-We will come late so there is a dinner in a fridge. Just heat it up. And don’t forget to…

-Mum. I can handle it, really.

When the doors were closed Chloe felt relief.

-Finally. I’ve thought that they will never leave. “Chloe, don’t forget about this and blah blah blah”

She imitated Joyce’s voice.

-Ok, Chloe. Now it’s time. You have everything you need… You have to move away from the past or it’ll kill you.  Everything that happened needs to be left behind.

Chloe thought and went upstairs, right into the bathroom. She closed the door and lean on it. Took some deep breaths and bring out the xanax out of her backpack. She approached a wash-basin and looked into a mirror. Her strawberry blonde hair was hiding her face. Chloe opened her mouth and drunk a pill. She waited a moment expecting something going to happen, but there was no such thing.
She took scissors and started cutting her hair. With every wisp, she felt an indescribable lightness, beatitude and some kind of alleviation as if they were unwanted memories which she wanted to get rid of. Still not feeling any significant difference she went to her bedroom. She threw away her backpack, launched stereo and tumbled into bed.
She was lying down for a while and listening another Mazzy Star’s song when suddenly she felt piercing warmth wave. The whole world surrounding her was slowing down, and a few minutes later it looked as if it was frozen. Chloe felt the strange relaxation of her muscles as if she was slowly sinking in bedding. She devoted herself in this peculiar situation, chilling and listening intently to a serene rhythm of heartbeat and psychedelic guitar accompanying from afar. That’s what she wanted to feel. Completely nothing. For the first time, everything seemed so unrealistic, so far away from her. Nirvana was only disturbed by a tender puff of autumnal wind giggling her cheek and sunset coming through the window.

~III~

Every day looked the same. The autumn has passed. Winter has come. After that, the spring has bloomed. David was visiting their house more and more. Her grades in school got kinda worse. Nevertheless, for Chloe Price, all these changes didn’t matter. Gray days were passing by like scenery outside for passengers of an express train. The World became a vibrant place, scintillated in various colors and finally the summer came too.

-If I had been a better daughter and a friend all of this would have happened?

Chloe was contemplating every night.
Her previous angst changed into apathy. In a classroom, she was miles away. She dissociated herself from people, she even lost her bond with Megan and their paths diverged.
Yet still a part of her was looking forward each sunrise with a little hope that perhaps something will change. Whatever it’s going to be.

Her wish came true.

The savor of Joyce’s dishes was spreading in the entire house. She, Chloe and David sat down at the table and started eating “family” breakfast. At the end of the meal, Joyce acknowledged that it’s a good moment for a serious talk while Chloe is still here and not in her room.

-Chloe, we need to talk.

-About what?

She grunted, gazing into her cereals.

-I’ve wanted to say it earlier, but there was no opportunity… David and I… we are going to marry.

-Wait… WHAT?!

She hit the table with her knees, almost dropping her bowl.

-Chloe, please understand that I and your mother love each other very much.

-HOW COULD YOU? How could you do such thing to me? And what about my father? What about William? Did you forget about him? About me? About us?

-Sweetheart, of course I didn’t. You know very well how much I loved him. Although I want it badly, nothing’s gonna bring him back to life. I beg you to see my point. I need change. WE NEED CHANGE. David has been comforting me since we met.  He always cheered me up. When he is around I feel truly happy. That’s why I want him to move in, to become part of our family. And together we can start everything once more. New beginning.

-And have you ever though what I feel? What do I want? Does anyone give a fuck about my opinion?!

Chloe shouted, rose from the table, took her backpack, left the house and slammed the door.

-Come back here immediately, young lady! Chloe Elizabeth Price!

-Leave her alone, Joyce. She’ll come back when she’ll cool down. Maybe we shouldn’t have rushed so much. I know only one thing. I love you. I really do. And I want you to be joyful. I want to be for you and for Chloe as well a real family, protect you no matter what and take care of you. I won’t let anything bad happen to both of you.

When she closed the door another chapter in her life has ended. That was not a change she expected. Shuffling forward the sidewalk she was passing by more and more Arcadia Bay’s buildings. Not knowing where to go, she was going ahead. Chloe got into outskirts and saw abandoned railway tracks with forest behind it. Without thinking, she decided to go along them.

– I still can’t believe in everything that happened this year. As if it was a dream. Despite waking up every morning this nightmare is still a truth. There are 7 billion people on Earth. Why actually me?

She asked herself. Yet in this question she wasn’t driven by anger, it was rather a sense of strong injustice in the Universe.

Little by little she was becoming more exhausted and her legs have seized up when suddenly an old junkyard has emerged. This forlorn cemetery for cars was fascinating but atrocious as well.

-It’s a good place to rest… to hide. It’s going to be my secret hideaway. No one’s gonna find me here. Especially you, Max Caulfield.

~IV~

-Hey, Chloe – Max asked – What would you do if you saw spaceships over Arcadia Bay?

-Maybe they would take us somewhere nice?

She answered.

-Miss Price… Chloe Price!

This sound blasted in her head and she opened her eyes.

-It is not the first time when I reprimand you on my classes. I understand that our math lessons aren’t pleasant for you, yet I’d prefer if you pay some attention to what I’m saying. Understood?

Thankfully Mr. Terry’s voice was drowned out by a bell.

-Another day in this stupid school.  I’d do anything to get away from it all. – She thought and betook herself toward exit doors – I’m fed up.

Not having reason to come back home, she decided to get into her batmobile and immediately went to the junkyard. It’s been a year since David moved in. Idyll didn’t take long and now Chloe spends every free time in her oasis. When she’s decorated it, it looked more like a cozy place.

-This asshole and his stupid PTSD… it becomes worse and worse. With all his bans I guess he’s trying to be my father. What a prick.

Chloe said and took a puff.

Suddenly she heard a rustle in the bush.

-Shit.

She hissed, being afraid that maybe someone finally got interested in this place. Guard, policeman or bum… whatever it’s going to be it doesn’t sound good.
After a little while hard to identify object came out of the forest. Blurry at first, it was becoming focalized. She felt unimaginable relief.

-No, It can’t be… doe, but what is it doing here?

Its little snout was directed to Chloe, big black eyes were looking right into hers. There was something peculiar in this doe. It was unusually calm. The ordinary animal would shy, yet this one, few steps from Chloe didn’t care about the presence of a human. Maybe it even was glad for this meeting because it looked as if it encouraged Chloe to approach. Chloe got up and slowly started moving and simultaneously she was looking at the doe.

-Hush, easy… easy… please don’t go… easy… don’t rush Chloe.

She bumbled.

With every step, she felt more confident seeing that mysterious creature doesn’t run. When it was within arm’s reach she tried to pet it. With her fingertips, she sensed soft coat, but the doe turned back and was leisurely heading toward the forest. When it reached first bushes it stopped and looked back, giving a signal to Chloe to follow. Chloe almost straight away decided to come after the doe. She still didn’t fully understand what was happening.It brought back her memories when she was younger and with Max were playing pirates, chasing imaginary treasures. And now naïve as well she chases the doe, just like Alice chased the White Rabbit. But the doe was so fast that Chloe finally loses sight of it.

-Where are you?

She quietly asked.

On cue, doe showed itself and came out of a bush. It looked mischievously at Chloe. It occurred like the doe wanted to play hide and seek.The area became hilly. Chloe was scrambling through the thicket. Although she enjoyed playing with the animal, seeking was making her exhausted a little. After few minutes of walking, she got out of the forest. She squinted her eyes because of strong glare. But the doe disappeared.

-Where are you now?

But doe didn’t show this time.

She looked around and saw a lighthouse.

-Oh, I’ve completely forgotten how beautiful place it is.

Chloe thought and stared at picturesque scenery. Westering sun in its last moments of this day was embedding whole surroundings, filling the sky with reddish gold and honey colors. While Chloe was admiring the landscape she didn’t notice that someone was sitting on a nearby bench. Someone whom Chloe’s presence spooked.

-Sorry for interrupting… I was just looking for… oh it doesn’t matter. – Chloe said and looked at the blonde -haired girl standing in front of her – Could that be a dream? Animals don’t disappear just like that. – She thought about doe.

-No problem. This place is beautiful. Isn’t it? I like to come here when I want to be alone.

-I’ve better go then…

-Don’t go. I didn’t mean… – girl seemed abashed – What’s your name?

-Chloe Price.

-Chloe – she repeated – It’s nice to meet you, Chloe. I’m Rachel… Rachel Amber.

THE END

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