Darkness A sixteen-year-old girl Kelly Anderson and her family lived in Atlanta. Kelly was alone at home one day because her parents were invited to dinner at Bob Creighton’s house that owned Creighton Construction. Kelly’s father Ted was looking for a job in construction, but was turned down by Bob. While back at the house where Kelly was, she was in the bathroom, with the door open and the lights shut. She was looking in the mirror when she saw a man in the mirror over her shoulder.

The man Kelly had seen so often in her dreams but only caught glimpses of when she was awake but at that moment she saw him clearly. He was old, his loose skin hanging in folds and his eyes sunken deep within his sockets. Kelly had been seeing a psychiatrist before because her mother, Mary, thought that she needed help, she thought it all started after her parents told her that she was adopted, but this man had appeared to her ever since she was born. She stopped going to the psychiatrist because she told her parents and the doctor that the Man was gone she did this to convince herself that he was gone but really he wasn’t. As she continued to stand there in the darkness of the bathroom, she turned around but he wasn’t there, she turned on the light and turned back to the mirror and he was still there and now his hands were reaching towards her throat.

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She started yelling “no! No more!” then she punched the mirror, and the mirror shattered, and she could still see her ancient tormentor still mocking her, laughing at her, reaching out for her. She picked up one of the sharp pieces of glass raised it up and plunged the blade into her belly. Determined to end the life of the baby that was growing inside her and her own. The baby that was growing inside of her she knew was the old mans because one night she felt him but she didn’t bother to open her eyes or yell because she didn’t want her parents to think she was crazy, she convinced herself it was only a dream. When her parents got home her mother felt that something was wrong.

They were going upstairs to see if Kelly was in her room but before they got there they saw Kelly lying on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. Her mother dropped to the floor next to her and told Ted to call the ambulance. Her mother saw that she was still bleeding so she knew she had to be still alive, so she covered her wounds with towels. Ted’s eyes flooded with tears when he saw the pale mask on his daughters face. At the hospital, Dr. Hartman told them she was okay and they were aloud to go see her. The parents agreed to each other not to speak of her committing suicide, so they spoke and they told her they were going to stay at the hospital with her.

They were the only ones in the waiting room and Dr. Hartman told them that the reason she did that was because she was afraid to tell either of you she was pregnant, but the doctor tested her and she had never even had sex before nor was she even pregnant. She thinks she is going to be locked up because she is crazy, she says nobody loves her and she doesn’t blame them and the doctor told Mary and Ted to show her she’s wrong. Ted called his father Carl Anderson and told him about what had happened and Carl was staring at the picture on his dresser of Ted, Mary and Kelly with her pink hair, her dark clothes and those empty eyes. Then Ted asked if the construction job was still available for him, Carl owned his own construction company which had taken off five years ago when Villejeune started to change, his construction company drained out most of the swamps and built houses, condominiums, and old age homes since there were so many old people living in Villejeune. Carl was really happy that they were going to come and live with them.

He was pretty lonely in his big house ever since his wife Bessie died of cancer. He had to go to the doctor because there was pain spreading from his hip. As he drove by Arlette Delong’s caf’e, he saw Judd Duval, he was the deputy sheriff but to Carl he was still a swamp rat. He went in to see Dr. Phillips. Carl told the story to the doctor about Kelly.

After the doctor he went to see his lawyer, Craig Sheffield, to change the name from Anderson Construction Co. to Anderson & Anderson, then he remembered Kelly and then he remembered that Craig had a 16-year-old son, Michael, and Carl started to ask Craig some questions about his son. Carl thought that all Kelly needed was a boyfriend, a nice kid, about her own age. When Carl left Craig started to wonder why Carl was asking all those questions. Michael had been looking for a summer job and maybe Carl wanted to hire him, then he thought the Swamp Tour, Phil Stubbs owned, maybe Michael could get a job there.

He called Phil and everything was settled and he told Michael. While Michael was getting ready and he was combing his hair in the mirror in the bathroom, he saw an old man with red rheumy eyes peering out of deeply sunken sockets, then he saw the old mans hands moving towards his throat, when he was about to scream he was about to scream when Jenny his younger sister came into the bathroom. He didn’t know why that face appeared in the mirror and he didn’t want to know, it had happened before he thought the house was haunted he tried to tell his mother about it all she did was laugh and told him it was his imagination. He took off to the Swamp Tour on his motorcycle. Ted, Mary and Kelly were on their way to Villejeune.

Kelly was looking out the window thinking of all the lies she had told the doctors just so they wouldn’t think she was crazy, she told the psychiatrist that she had been worried about her father not working, and she felt that she could never do anything right and that she’d decided that maybe it would be easier for everyone if she weren’t around anymore. She talked her way out of telling Dr. Hartman about thinking she was pregnant, too. She just said she’d been feeling really bad lately, and when she missed her period she automatically thought she might be pregnant. She even claimed that she’d been drinking with some friends one night, didn’t remember what had happened and just assumed she must have gone to bed with someone (which was not true).

When they got to Villejeune, there was a large billboard that said “VILLEJEUNE LINKS ESTATES ANOTHER PROJECT FROM GRACIOUS LIVINGFROM ANDERSON & ANDERSON”, Tod was quite happy so was Mary. They got to Carl’s big house, he very happy to finally see his granddaughter. Kelly got the guest room, which was huge, she was so happy. Michael who was still working at the Swamp Tour for four weeks, was the most dedicated worker Phil had ever seen because he loved it so very much and he was always the last to leave finishing jobs that others did not, one night he stayed late because he wanted to find frogs for display, so he took a rowboat into the swamp and set out to find some. Kelly admiring her room decided she wanted to go out for a walk. She walked along admiring all the houses her grandfather had built.

When she saw the swamp, she thought she recognized it and she saw the face of a boy in the swamp and so she got closer. Amelie Coulton a pregnant women who lived along the marshlands with her husband George. She made him promise that he wasn’t going to give the baby away to the Dark Man like Tammy-Jo and Quint gave theirs away, she made him promise three times. Jonas Cox and The Dark Man came to their house that night and George went towards them in their boat still in the water, Amelie could not see them. The Dark Man got mad at George for promising his women that he wouldn’t give the baby to him when it was born, the Dark Man insisted that it was his baby.

The Dark Man ordered Jonas to release George Coulton from the circle; George stabbed and twisted the knife in his chest ripping it upward to slice through his heart. George’s body toppled into the shallow waters. The Dark Man and Jonas disappeared into the darkness. Amelie got into a rowboat in search of her husband. When she saw a corpse in the water still bleeding she noticed it wasn’t even her husband.

She got out of the boat and went into a shack crouched at the edge of the swamp behind her house. There was a phone in that house. Amelie sighed and thought to herself that it was going to be a long night. Kelly came to the same bridge she crossed earlier; she couldn’t even remember what she had been doing for the past hour. It was dark and when she got home she knew she was going to here her parents tell her how irresponsible she was, but she wouldn’t be able to tell them where she was because she wasn’t aloud to go near the swamp and because she seriously could not remember.

All she remembered was that there were people. People like her who shared the lonely inner emptiness. Then she headed back home, but her parents said was that they were starting to get worried, but she told them that she had lost track of time and all of a sudden it was dark and she was nowhere near home and she was sorry. She said that she liked it there and that she was glad that they were there, that made her parents and grandfather happy. Michael Sheffield arrived back at the tour headquarters, he too had lost track of time and the dozen frogs that he had collected were all dead.

He was confused but he had to get home, he checked all the animals’ gates, he froze to the sound of police car sirens, when they passed him the tension drained from his body, for some reason he thought they were coming for him. Then he realized that his hand were wrapped around the nutria’s throat that he had been holding before he heard the sirens, the nutria was dead, he put her back in the cage and took off on his motorcycle. Marty Templar, Sheriff Duvals partner, was going to his house where Amelie had gone, to tell Duval that there was a dead body in the swamp. All three of them went to the swamp, they took the body out of the swamp, not one of them knew or even ever saw him before, and Amelie told them that she thought that they had killed her husband. Judd Duval told Amelie and Marty that the Dark Man was just a story but Amelie believed he existed because she saw him. Michael got home but didn’t really get in trouble when he took his shower he felt as if someone was watching him, then after his shower he saw an image of a dead man in the mirror.

When he went to bed that night he kept having nightmares seeing the dead man over and over. Clarey Lambert lived alone in a house five miles from Villejeune. Quint and Jonas went over and she knew the story of what had happened to George and she told Jonas not to worry it wasn’t his fault and to hide. They told her there was a new girl in town and she knew who she was, she hoped that this day would never come when she came back, now her and Michael will meet and they’ll recognize each other and they’ll know what they really are, and they’ll go looking for their brothers and sisters and the Dark Man. Tim Kitteridge, the Chief, was to go and examine the dead body, which he hated doing the most.

Orrin Hatfield, the coroner, was there. Warren Phillips walked in. They took the cover off the body; Kitteridge felt the churning in his stomach. They were talking about the swamp people, how they barely existed. Most of them had no birth certificates, no school records; most of the women still gave birth at home.

The dead mans few straggling wisps of hair was snow white, and his heavily creased skin of his face was draped loosely around his skull, most of his teeth were gone and his body was no more than just skin and bones. No one knew who this guy was. Kitteridge wasn’t satisfied with this, so he decided he was going to go to the swamp, find some of the people who lived there and ask them some questions. Phil Stubbs got to work the next morning and was ready for the people who were coming from Orlando for the tour. When a little boy mentioned that their was a dead nutria in the cage he went over and took it into his office, he studied it carefully searching for wounds, when he picked it up its head flopped to one side, he checked its neck and it was broken then the image of Michael gripping the mop so tightly whenever he daydreamed popped into his head and then he called Michael into his office.

First Michael told him that he didn’t know what had happened but then he told him the truth. Phil told him to take the rest of the day off to relax, but Michael couldn’t go home or stay in the town he didn’t want his parents to find out what happened. He rode out of town a bit on his motorcycle, he was going to find a place in the swamps where the tour boat don’t go and he was going to explore all day. Kelly that day wanted to go further into town and see other things, she was walking when she heard a motorcycle and a car sped right past her almost hitting her. Then she saw the motorcycle and the boy who was on it fell into the ditch. She thought he was dead, until she saw him sit up, then she went up to him and as their eyes met, Kelly’s stomach tightened, she knew him, but she thought it was crazy, she’d never seen him before in her life.

Michael was thinking the exact same thing. They tried to convince each other that they must have met yesterday by the swamp but couldn’t remember. They introduced themselves and they agreed to have a picnic and Michael gave her a ride on the back of his motorcycle they were both thinking; I know this person. I’ve known this person all my life. This is the friend I’ve never met before.

Somehow they were connected. Time Kitteridge trying to find people to tell him any details they knew about the body that was found in the swamp but he got lost. He found Amelie Coulton’s house and he went over, George didn’t even come home that night but Amelie didn’t really care. Amelie showed Tim a picture of George and herself on their wedding day to show him that the man in the swamp couldn’t have been George. Then all of a sudden she had a contraction and Tim hurriedly got Amelie into the boat and took off through the swamp.

When they got to his car they took off to the hospital. When they got there, Jolene Mayhew took care of her and Tim stayed back to fill out some papers to dispose of the body in the morgue. All Tim could think of was that the body was indeed George Coulton’s and that Amelie must know something. Amelie was still having contractions, when Tim went in her room, and he said to her, “it was George you found last night wasn’t it?” and he asked her who the Dark Man was, she just said to ask Clarey or Jonas, her response to who they were was “they be the Dark Man’s children, and they are all dead!” Kelly and Michael were on their picnic twenty miles away from Villejeune. There was a pond that had been dredged out of the lagoon and a sandy beach that edged it.

They ate and talked, they told each other how they felt inside, how they feel different from everyone else and how they can’t connect with other people, afterwards Michael dropped Kelly off at the same place they had met that morning. At Michael’s house he asked his father if he knew Mr. Anderson’s granddaughter and he just told him to stay away from her because she tried to kill herself, how she decided she was pregnant but she really wasn’t and she just imagined it and that she was probably a druggie and that she must be a tramp. His wife, Barbara, got really angry with her husband and they started yelling at each other back and forth. Michael got really mad and took off on his powered rowboat.

In the delivery room when Amelie had finally given birth the baby died. She was devastated, she wouldn’t believe the doctor and she was crying. At the Sheffield house they were still fighting, when Barbara got a phone call from the hospital saying that she had to go counsel Amelie because her baby had died a stillbirth. She knew how she felt because when she was giving birth to her first child, it had died and she was given Michael because his mother didn’t want him. After Barbara talked to Amelie, she was exhausted and she fell asleep, but when she woke up she said, “He ain’t dead,” “If he was dead, I’d know it,” somehow she knew her baby was alive, and yet somehow already dying, his own soul slowly being stolen away from him.

Kelly was sitting in the den with her parents and grandfather watching television. She went upstairs saying goodnight to everyone and she had a feeling that Michael was coming, so she snuck off the balcony in her room and met Michael at the bench near the waterfront and they took off in his boat. They came to a place where they felt as if they were at home; they felt as if something special was going to happen, like they were going to finally find out whom they were. Kelly and Michael were experiments, to see what would happen to them if they grew beyond the circle, Clarey Lambert called all the children. The Dark Man hypnotized Michael and Kelly and told them to lie on the floor.

Michael lied there with his chest bare and the Dark Man saw the almost invisible scar on his chest and lowered the needle deep into his chest and took out a fluid. Kelly too lay there with her bare chest and the Dark Man did the same thing to her, he held up the syringes and said “Youth,” “Youth, freely given”. Then he told them to join the circle of children. After Jonas Cox and Loretta Jagger had a baby for him, but it was not theirs. When she got pregnant with Jonas then they would be able to get married.

The Dark Man took the baby and stabbed it in the heart. The body remained unharmed but the spirit was slowly dying; now he too was a part of the children. Back at the clinic. Amelie Coulton woke up screaming in her dreams, she had seen her baby and her baby was not dead, it was in pain and it needed her. Kelly’s parents found out that she had snuck out that night and at breakfast her mother and grandfather tried to talk to her but they just ended up fighting with her and she ran out of the house after telling them she was with Michael Sheffield. Two hours later Ted and Carl were inspecting one of the houses, when all of a sudden Carl was out of breath and his face turned gray. Ted rushed him to the hospital and was out of Dr. Phillips office in fifteen minutes good as new, he had just missed one of his vitamin shots.

Tim Kitteridge and Judd Duval were in a boat on their way to Clarey Lambert’s house to ask her some questions and if she knew where Jonas Cox was. She wouldn’t cooperate with them so they just left and on the was back to Villejeune, they spotted a boat that had COX on it, so Tim got in the little boat and told Judd to leave but to stay close by, then Jonas came up about to get in the boat from out of the swamp water but tried to get away when he saw Tim, but Tim grabbed his hair and cuffed him. Judd came with the boat and the three of them made their way to Villejeune but Jonas wouldn’t answer any of the questions he was asked on the boat. Kelly was sitting in Arlette Delong’s caf’e, reading a magazine, then she started to think about the red mark on her chest and she knew she had to find Michael to see if he had it too or if it was just a hallucination last night, so she looked for Sheffield in the directory. When she got to the house, Jenny was playing outside and she told Kelly that Michael wasn’t home and Barbara came outside and invited Kelly inside for some lemonade. Kelly, Barbara and Jenny sat in the backyard, Kelly and Barbara got talking and they decided that they all dye their hair a honey blonde.

Tim Kitteridge was questioning Jonas Cox about the man who was found in the swamp, but Jonas kept on saying that he didn’t even know who he George Coulton was. When Tim mentioned The Dark Man, Jonas’ eyes narrowed and his lips curled but he still kept saying that he didn’t know whom he was talking about. Tim knew he knew something. Tim kept thinking in his head why he even bothered to take this case because he would never have enough evidence about anything because no one wanted to cooperate, so he started to give up. Tim told Judd to bring Jonas back to his boat.

When Jonas was in the squad car with Judd, Jonas told Judd that he was in big trouble for helping Tim find him and that maybe The Dark Man would turn Jonas against Judd just like he did to George and that Jonas would rip the life out of Judd. Judd was frozen stiff by the words and he stood there watching Jonas disappear into the swamp. Warren Phillips went into Amelie’s room and told her that she could go home soon, but she demanded that she wasn’t going home until she got her baby back. Warren tried to explain again that her baby had died but she just wouldn’t believe it not after the dream she had. Warren told Jolene to get him fifty milligrams of Thorazine to put Amelie to sleep. Amelie put the pill in her mouth and gulped it down with a glass of water, when she shut her eyes Warren and Jolene left the room.

Warren went out to lunch. Amelie got up and flushed the pill down the toilet. Amelie escaped her room through the window and she was off to look for her baby whom she knew was still alive. When Barbara was finished with Kelly’s hair, she loved it, it made her skin look healthier and her eyes look bluer, but her clothes and jewelry were all wrong so she asked Barbara if she would go with her shopping, she said yes and then Barbara began to think that, that’s how Sharon would have looked like, if she’d lived and that’s how old she’d be. Even after Kelly left she still kept thinking about it and she couldn’t stop.

Lavinia Carter was a young lady who watched all of the Dark Mans babies until they were old enough to go back to the swamp, in a house in Villejeune. Her voice had been taking away from The Dark Man during a ceremony at the swamp. Clarey and The Dark Man told her that she was the most special child of all the children. As she was feeding one of the babies she heard footsteps, she knew those footsteps only from The Dark Man. Warren Phillips walked in to the room; Lavinia was the only one who saw who The Dark Man was behind that dark mask.

He went there to collect the faintly brown but viscous liquid that was dripping into a collecting bottle on the rack from Amelie’s baby. He looked at the eight empty cribs, too many babies had been born dead in the swamp and more fathers are coming to the emergency room with their wives lately, they always watch their baby. He went downstairs into his lab to filter the fluid. When he went to Clarey’s house, she told him about wh …