The light had been taken from me, or so I assumed. In the deeper recesses of my mind, I could almost recall a time when sight was possible. I did not doubt many years had since passed, but just how many was anyone's guess.
I paced the confines of my enclosure as I had every day in memorable history. I had awakened here many years ago, or was it centuries? I could recall no specific circumstance to explain my current predicament, unless I was dead and this was hell. I remembered nothing before my incarceration, not even my own name or what type of creature I might be. What little I could glean from tactile sense told me I had two arms, two legs and a head. I had known other creatures that met the description, but was unable to recall their name.
Much of that time is a blank to me. I spent countless hours searching, prodding and prying at every inch of the stone walls that entombed me. In retrospect, for at least some of that time, I was not entirely lucid, which was to be expected, considering.
When I finally became bored with my investigations, I would pace the enclosure and try to remember. Visions of the past flitted through my mind, but none stayed with me long enough to grasp. Fragments of experiences that might have been mine occasionally came to me and then were gone just as suddenly. I knew I should have been scared, upset, or I dare say, enraged. Yet my emotions seemed to have deserted me as well. I was left with one thing only. The burning desire to understand.
I tried desperately to draw some kind of conclusion from what little I knew. I thought in words, which meant I spoke at least one language, though I couldn't name it. I couldn't recall eating or drinking, either, but that was impossible. Nothing could survive without sustenance.
Nor did I grow tired, no matter how many hours I spent examining the insignificant details of the stonework. It didn't make sense. I ran my fingers through my short hair, wondering why it hadn't grown during my years of imprisonment. That was the only thing of which I was certain. Someone had placed me here.
I latched onto the fact, strained furiously to remember even the smallest clue as to what I had done to deserve such punishment, but my mind was as much a prison as the surrounding walls. Each day my routine continued unaltered. Each attempt met with failure.
At times, I would grow increasingly frustrated with my amnesia, and I would resume my explorations, often violently. This, my only surrender to emotion, was largely wasted. I remember more than once beating the stone walls with my fists, as though I could pound my way through by will alone, only stopping when the pain became too great.
Finally, calmer, I would continue to feel along the walls, the floor and even the ceiling, which I could reach by standing on my toes. Indeed, the area was so small if there had been an exit, I'd have long since found it. Yet I knew if I abandoned hope, if I allowed despair to set in, it would surely become hell. As long as I kept trying, there was a chance.
Then one day, my hand fell upon a smooth metal protrusion that had never before been there. It had to be new, though how that was possible I couldn't begin to guess. I wrapped my hand tightly around its coolness, fearing it might fade from existence should I release my grasp. I rotated the object and pushed. The door swung outward.
For a moment, brilliance as intense as the darkness assailed me and blinded me just as effectively. The world exploded into sound. I could hear the wind, the birds, the rustle of leaves. I could smell grass and wood smoke, though the latter gave me a moment of caution. I wondered why. Only then did I realize I'd missed the sounds and scents of the world as much as the sights.
My eyes stung. When I raised a hand to my face, I could feel the tears. Voices in the distance told me I might not be alone for long. Part of me wanted to embrace the newcomers, but my intuition screamed danger. I turned, still virtually blind and ran, hands extended before me so as to avoid collision.
After a time, the landscape was a faded blur and I knew vision would return. I stopped running long enough to kneel down and run my hands through the grass. I felt tears form anew, as I sunk my fingers deep into the soil. There was something besides stone in the universe.
With its cast of heavy hitters and rising stars The Abyss is the best anthology that I've read in quite a while. There is more than one story contained in these pages that may be offensive to some readers. While I may not agree with how some of the characters acted and reacted, I have to say that I was enthralled by the situations these authors penned. Although I have heard of Steve Lazarowitz a.k.a. Master Nage, I had yet to read any of his work. I didn’t realize that I was missing out. Photo Finish is an original and gripping story, from the first paragraph to the last I was enthralled. Jordan Alexander’s, Sierra’s Choice, is one of my favorites, shape-shifters being one of my favorite themes. Fans of Brenna Lyons will not be disappointed with her contribution of Playing Games II: Blackout. The few stories that I mentioned are ones that stuck out for me, it will be interesting to see which one’s stick out for the other readers. These characters are not fair damsels or buff bodied heroes. They are earthy, no one's first pick of heroes and heroines. Creating worlds featuring any subject from ancient gods reborn to fire scarred loved ones, Dark Romance has compiled a thought-provoking peek into a world of romance that is not considered the norm.
Reviewed by: Joletta, Fallen Angel Reviews
Dark Abyss is the definitive anthology for any reader looking for an introduction to dark romance. With eighteen stories from fifteen different authors, Dark Abyss has something for everybody. Each story has a URL that will take you to that specific author's website for more of their work. This makes Dark Abyss a great reference book as well.
Brenda Edde, Romance Junkies