All the houses are full of light and ash; it is there in equal abundance. Dust roils in the corners of the low-beamed dining room, and as I walk through it, I hear heartbeats. I smell vitality, and I fear knowledge. I was born out of wedlock, and my father deceived my mother. I know what it is to deceive innocence.
It is agony. I hear the rushes, I smell the sweat, and I feel the light on their forehead. I was born in darkness, and I was born again in darkness. My father deceived me.
I fall beneath the oaken table and clasp my ears. It is not a matter of hearing; more a matter of knowing, and that is an irreversible process. Outside the moonlight still whispers through conifers; the dark’s pets crawl and scrabble over stone and oak. Men drink in houses; they sit around tables as though I have never happened. In the light, I have not. By darkness, they know I will.
Innocence is easily devoured by the dark. Fear is harder to see when you see nothing at all. They see me, and they know fear. I know innocence; I was born in darkness.