Darkness, My Puppeteer

Nicole Jacobsen


If you close your eyes it’s dark anyway. I used to ask my mum for a number, the bigger the better, to help me fall asleep when, in the dark, my sanity wobbled like jelly in a skull cup.  The Darkness sat heavily on my chest, and I’d count towards the number like I counted the ways a man could break into our home. Faces filled dark places like an etch-a-sketch, but a strike of the light could unstick features from a pile of clothes. The frame that held us sleeping creaked in the wind, jolted my drowsy mind to puzzle demons from the kaleidoscope that pressed in. Press down the latch; tuck us in with a lock. Avoiding the clock when I woke at an unknown hour that could be for witching. I wish I could unsee the way my curtains trembled as if breath determined their direction. I looked down, hunting for feet, my body primed to freeze.                                                                                                                                   A growl, my dog most likely, but close. I reached for fur and hesitated, afraid of finding leather-flesh or teeth. The lamp cord pull colossal. Craving illumination of my over-imagination or the primordial within kissing distance. I expected the raking of claws, Cheshire apparition, or  wetness burning across my cheek from a tongue. I encouraged outside light through open curtains but an eye, slitted and hungry, appeared in the window. It watched me twitch and incited violence with a roar that pulled my organs down and swung my legs around. I’d have to leap. If I sat too long teasing the dead space under my mattress rats would swarm from beneath the springs. Masticate my flesh. Leave me picked-clean bones with which to manipulate my exit from dreamland like a macabre marionette.

Author: Nicole Jacobsen is a Brisbane artist, writer, poet, and aspiring editor who regularly finds herself re-befuddled by the difference between who and whom. Her background in Psychology emerges through character studies, obsessive bouts of self-reflection, and recurrent themes of mental health in her work.

Artist: SaBelle Pobjoy-Sherriff is a third-year visual arts student minoring in film. Her art practice has an in-depth focus on ideas of narrative and mythology, and tends to border on the obscure. She utilises illustration and sculpture to create vibrant worlds and creatures. You can find more on her Instagram @SaBelleeee.