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The Books of Darkness

by Robert N. Stephenson

Table of Contents
Chapter 29

Dr Sholan had called. I’d missed the appointment and he was worried. He insisted I come to his office immediately. I didn’t feel up to it, and I’d already had quite a few drinks; he’d smell it, comment and judge. He wouldn’t let me go unless I agreed to see him and be at his office in forty minutes.

Sarina agreed it would be a good idea, encouraged me to clean up and go. She called a taxi, offered to go with me, I didn’t want that. I felt dark, darker than any other time I’d seen him. Depression grew thick about my world, I didn’t want to do anything, nothing but drink and hide. Suicide, sitting on top of the list of things to do, a real and foreseeable option.

All the way to the office I stared out the taxi window, trying to see the world but seeing nothing. Trees were a blur, people unreal in their puppet mastered movements. Nothing was as it should be, even the sky, painted blue and dotted with clouds looked artificial.

I paid the driver and staggered into Dr Sholan’s office. He met me at the door, waiting impatiently for me to arrive.

“Please, Diana, sit,” he said leading me into his room. He took his seat behind the desk while I looked at my hands in my lap.

“How do you feel?” he asked. Real concern in his voice.


“You’ve been drinking.”

“Einstein!” I said a little too loudly. “I smell like a bar.”

“Why?” he asked. “What has changed since we last met?”

I wanted to talk about the attempted rape, the threat of violence, the horror and fear. I wanted to tell him about Sarina, the five-hundred year old woman I was now living with.

“The Dark One wants me,” I said.

“Really.” He leaned forward in his chair, elbows on the desk. “Depression can do that,” he said. “What about the darkness within, why has it affected you so badly?”

Speaking and thinking weren’t meshing together well. He took The Dark One the same way he took the term Black Dog, which in my mind was fine by me. I shouldn’t have mentioned the supernatural. If I were Dr Sholan I would have me certified on the spot.

To make matters worse I had become attached to a vampire, or Uttuke, or whatever she was. The feelings should have been good, should have been the light in my life, instead I felt like crap. I wanted to run away, hide, escape from the crazy world around me. I wanted to die.

“I love my father,” I blurted. Just came out, I didn’t know why.


“He doesn’t love me.” I headed away from safe ground, onto bad ground, into bad memories. As bad as I felt about my life, going back to those memories was better than venturing into now. Besides, the scotch screwed stuff up.

“Why do you think your father doesn’t love you?” He made a note.

“Because I’m a lesbian. Because he threw me out of his life.”

“And your mother?”

“Drank herself to death, just like granddad.” I couldn’t look at him.

“Did she know you were a lesbian? Did she love you?” His tone had become gentle, caring.

“My mother,” I said, delivering the comment with all the contempt it deserved. I hoped my cold stare emphasized the point “She loved only one thing. If she suspected I was gay she probably drank the thought right out of her head.”

He made notes, nodding slightly as he wrote. I knew what he was thinking, I thought the same thing myself. I wasn’t her, could never be her. I felt hot, the usually comforting room gave off a sense of unease, or was it the subject. Why was I even talking about it?

“What was your father’s reaction when you told him about your sexuality?” His accent made sexuality sound exotic.

“He simply said get out and never come back.”

“And did you?”

“I left. Tried to visit a few times but he wouldn’t let me, wouldn’t speak to me. He slammed the door in my face.” I could feel tears.

“And your mother, could you speak with her?”

“No.” It sounded final and I meant it. “I hadn’t been able to speak to her since I was twelve. I never knew what she’d be like when I got home from school, or from being at a friend’s house. No one visited us because of her. One moment she’d be all happy and smiling the next a screaming maniac, then happy again, like nothing had happened.”

“I see.”

“A hell of a lot you see,” I said. He didn’t take offense. “She made life a misery at home. I couldn’t bring friends around, Dad wouldn’t come home from work until late, just hoping she’d passed out before he’d got back. I had to deal with her. I had to cook the meals she’d throw back at me.” I wiped my face.

“We can stop now, if you’d like?” he said.

“Why? You wanted to know what made me, why I am the way I am, don’t you.”

“It’s making you angry, upsetting you,” he said gently. “My job isn’t to upset you, Diana, it is to listen to you, talk to you and together work out how to deal with issues.”

“Issues,” I spat. “My mother’s dead, never once telling me she loved me. My father considers me dead, never to love his little girl again. How do I deal with that?”

“Do you have someone close you can talk to, be with?” he asked. “I prefer you be with a friend tonight, not by yourself.”

Sarina was all I had. Steven didn’t listen. “Yes,” I said, calming slightly.

“Diana, I could put you in hospital for a few days. I don’t want to,” he said, voice sincere. “If you have someone close, someone who can look out for you then I am happy for you to stay with them.”

I was already living with Sarina, though I hadn’t thought of it as anything permanent. She knew as much about me as Dr Sholan, and I did feel she showed real concern for me. I didn’t want to go into hospital. A few days could easily turn into a few months and being out of it on medication wasn’t my idea of fun.

“I’m going to prescribe some Neulactil to help calm you and to help you sleep better at night,” he said, scribbling on a pad. My doctor entered details on a computer and printed a script. Sholan was very old-school. “I want you to take one a night for a while. We’ll see how it goes and later we might be able to stop this treatment.”

More pills. I trusted him not to give me anything I didn’t really need. I also understood the importance of taking the drugs. I had writing friends with bi-polar depression who kept on stopping their medication when they felt better. What a mess. They crashed and crashed big time. I didn’t want to take that road, I thought myself smarter than that, drunker at least.

Dr Sholan handed me a box of tissues so I could wipe the tears away. He sat and watched, not speaking, letting me calm, settle the anxiety of opening up in an area I hadn’t expected to. The stress of the last few weeks must have driven the stubborness, the self-protectiveness into a corner, broke through the hardness I displayed.

I looked up at the little man, softness in his face, concern in his eyes. I did feel better, not fantastic or even happy, just better than when I’d come in. He stood, walked around his desk and offered his hand, helping me from the chair. I hugged him. At first he seemed surprised, uncomfortable, then I felt a firm pat on the back.

“You’re a good woman,” he said, easing himself out of my arms. “We’ll address issues together and learn how to best manage your depression. Is that fine with you?”

“Thanks doctor.” Another wipe of the eyes. I left wondering just how much help the pills would give.

As I waited for a taxi I let the sounds of traffic lead me into a nothing place, a no feelings whatsoever state of mind. A gentle wind blew, the smell of exhaust suffocated everything else in the air and the feel of the wooden bus stop bench, rough and reassuring. Age permeated everything, the buildings, the trees, the electricity poles. Nothing felt newly developed, which was odd considering Dr Sholan’s building was less than five minutes from the centre of the city.

Sarina would have been alive before this land had even seen white people, before the wild bushland had become a home for miners and a refuge for settlers. How could a mind so full of history cope with so much change? I had a hard time dealing with each and every day; how do you adjust to hundreds of years?

I needed to get settled better with Sarina, establish a more permanent arrangement with her. I required some things first, things that were me, the person I was, small reminders that just might keep me together. The taxi arrived, its yellow cab sign reminded me of New York. Would I ever get to stand in Times Square again?

Talking about my family wasn’t what I wanted to talk about. Dr Sholan wanted to hear it, use it to help rebuild me I supposed. What I really needed to get off my chest was the threat of death. Fearing death didn’t enter into it: the inevitablity existed with everyone. I feared dying to a dark force beyond his, my comprehension.

Sarina had told me, explained The Dark One, Orlando clear enough; getting a picture in my mind just didn’t come. I should see my father, talk to him, make him listen, tell him the danger that threatened the daughter he once loved. Would it change anything? Maybe not.

A bus stopped. The door opened and the driver looked at me. I could catch it and spend some time in the city, wander the shops, do normal things. I waved him on. Why fight how I felt, the depression, the bloody black dog that haunted most of the writers I knew couldn’t be bought off with eye candy or going on a shopping spree. I’d tried it, spent thousands feeding the hole. I had a house full of stuff I bought and didn’t need. I had a house that didn’t need me.

Copyright © 2009 by Robert N. Stephenson

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