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Prologue:  

A sweeping haven extending from as far as the eye can see. My solace and my home. It was filled with rolling hills of pansies and poppies, and specks of reds, and blues. The bunnies hopped around with carefree thoughts and the soft breeze whistled a calm song. That was long ago, for the wind speaks with a different form of tranquillity; a sombre one with a voice that pierces the ears while howling along. The white quilt that engulfs the colours is doomed to arrive. I never thought it would come so fast, but there it lay all around me. Not a tree in sight, but the leaves still fall. No one is here, but someone breathes over me. The sun is gone, but I can still see. It is because I can still see that I know I’m not blind. Blinded by the evil that those say has become me. ‘Wherever you go, the winter follows.’

Cold. Freezing Cold.  

I wasn’t born this way, because once I was like those bunnies that lived free and together. I grew up with the best of them, a loving brood that held family values and showered love with not a second thought. Then it came my turn, and I only wanted the same. “Till death do us part,” I mistakenly said during celebrations filled with pomp and gaiety. I suppose fate had a different story for me because my label now is simply death. I remember that was the last time I felt my heart throb. A throb of pain, so spectacular that I thought my heart wasn’t mine at all. A sorrowful memory.  

Memories are my motivation, the only things that keep me going. I take a step forward, the ice crunching beneath my crimson-stained soles. The footprint leaves a mark of deep red, a symbol of my presence. With a grunt and a splutter, I take another pace. The cuts and gashes continue to spill, but none as bloody as the dagger in my hand. I glance at the weapon I once thought would put me out of my misery. I remember the excitement when I first received it, and recently, the ecstasy and the madness when I first used it. I loved her so much, but there was a limit to the amount I had. For deep down, my heart had already been corrupted. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. When I needed love, she didn’t show enough. When I needed help, she didn’t help enough. This one-sided relationship is nothing without me and the amount of effort that I pour in. But now her ghost haunts me, and I don’t know how to rid of it. I’ve been running away, but I can never escape. It feels like she is right behind me when it has been hours since she took her last breath.   

Standing there, the tingles in my feet get sharper while burning in the snow. The ants and scorpions begin crawling up my toes stinging with no remorse. Quivering, I let out a scream, then two, and three. Glancing down, I see my legs poisoned with a pale blue, one only that witch could have done. The only colours are reds and blues, but not the same specks I once remembered. She’s sucked the colour out of me to a point where I don’t even know what is black and white. Was what I did right or wrong? I don’t know because that’s a grey area that even my crooked mind is not willing to search through. So, I run. Run from the questions that I don’t have answers to. Run from the one with whom I shared a love of red. Run from her, who blemished the red into hatred. Now I can’t even run with her holding me in place.  

“Let me go!” I yell furiously. I feel her clammy palm on my bare shoulder as she pulls me back. “You’re gone! Leave me alone!” I desperately try brushing my shoulders, but her hands avoid mine. I left her back hours ago, how did she get here? Thoughts race my mind as I shake with fear. With rage I rabidly claw myself, my nails piercing my skin till it rips. The cuts and gashes become immersed in a sea of scarlet. The shivering goes away as I open myself more and more, but the shadow of her keeps me cold. “I killed you hours ago and miles away and you still won’t leave me!” With that, I stagger forward for a third step, but this time, I can’t stand up. Within a second, my shredded body sinks into the white quilt as the burning sensations flood me.  

My heart races, more than ever before. I know what this means but I can’t believe I lost. I will forever remain her slave, and she knows it. I feel her presence right behind me, and I can just imagine the smile painted on her face. Her pearly white teeth and sweet chuckle that would present, which only makes me want to throw up. But she’s gone, and that’s thanks to me. Deep down, that makes me feel warm. With my face submerged, I close my eyes peacefully, knowing that I can leave this abyss alone and not with someone to follow me down. Relief with a final sigh and a smile, but no teardrops in sight.

Warm. Calm and warm.

Epilogue: 

The snow falls, covering the tarnished white. The two lovers were once imagined to be far apart but end together side by side. He had not been running, and it had not been hours. Each of the three paces between the two fills back up leaving no signs of red or blue. Both lay there smiling, one deliberately, and one with staples holding it in place. One bleeding from the outer skin the other bleeding from the inner heart. One facing down into the darkness and the other staring up into the light. Both meet the same fate. As the lifeless bodies disappear under the ice, the wind changes. The calm song emerges, and the bunnies come back. The sweeping haven extends from as far as the eye can see. A solace and a home. It is filled with rolling hills of pansies and poppies, and specks of reds, and blues. Yet the darkness that lay deep down is finally gone.

Written Explanation:  

I decided to write A Corrupted Soul that displayed the theme of evil and incorporating the subject of “Hearts of Darkness.” The short story takes place in a snowy setting and revolves around a man who has just killed his wife. It tackles his mental state and how he dives into a plight of madness which continues to deteriorate as he copes with the action. I made the decision of writing this piece in more of a poetic method, using a great deal of metaphors and very descriptive language. I did this so that the reader can really imagine the main character and can visualize the corruption of his mental status. The story opens with a prologue that depicts a haven with natural beauty that quickly changes into a cold and harsh winter where the main plot is set. The natural depiction of the area is not physically there but rather a metaphor for the main character’s mental state, a change from pure to jarring. The story ends with an epilogue that also ends with a change from the unforgiving winter to the natural purity, which comes as the character dies. Throughout the story, the main character is described to be in deep pain after being troubled by his wife which gives him allowance to commit murder. However, the ending that shows the change in scenery alludes to the idea that he was simply mad, and it was his corrupt mind that was evil, not the wife. In terms of visuals, the colours of blue and red are highly used. The blue shows life being present (with flowers in the haven) to life being sucked away (hypothermia as the character freezes). The red is more used to describe blood, but also to be portrayed itself as both a pure love and a tainted one (hate). Finally, the character constantly exclaims about having killed his wife “hours” ago and “miles” away. However, the epilogue states that the three paces depicted in the story was the distance between the two. This metaphor shows that the main character was not thinking straight and was truly crazy as he was running away from the guilt mentally but physically was still next to the body. All these metaphors can be analysed further, but the usage of them truly brings a level of complexity to my story that I think represents the concept of evil and hearts of darkness as no other. Instead of a simple action being evil, the evil shown as a corrupted mind is what draws out the horrific themes. The target audience for this story is a much older and advanced audience who is willing to analyse the story and to take a deeper dive into all the hidden meanings. I recommend that the audience take time to fully take in the story and to appreciate the plot that is so intricate and complex.

Rohan Patel