Earlier this year, I read a short story, in a book of short stories, about a woman who turns into a deer at night. She wakes up each night in a new body, unable to leave her house for no longer having thumbs to open doors. Inspired by this notion of the transformative energy the night holds, I began to explore creating a stream of consciousness narrative surrounding similar themes of transformation, isolation, escape. Drawing on other stories in Samantha Hunt’s The Dark Dark, this narrative blurs the lines between dreaming and reality and focuses in on the in-between hours where lines gets fuzzy, colors are dulled, shadows are exaggerated.
The summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college I worked at a summer camp as a hiking instructor. One of my favorite activities I would do with campers was midnight hikes. Reserved for the older groups, another instructor and I would guide them into the woods at night, no flash lights, just the moonlight and the quiet of pitch darkness. We would find an open field and watch the stars, listen for the howling of wolves, the crunching leaves of deer sneaking by us. I always found serenity in those hikes, though truly a little bit terrifying, and thought about them often while creating this narrative. The pitch darkness of night is getting harder and harder to find as we turn on more and more lights in our cities, and my longing for the darkness the nighttime provides lead me down this narrative path and towards accepting the night as both frightening and beautiful.