|Out of the Dark
Author: Lea Ai PM
There is little warmth in this vast emptiness we call life. From the moment we are born, the darkness slowly covers us like an oil slick—filling our pores and making it impossible to see clearly. Written for the September WCC.Rated: Fiction K - English - Spiritual/Angst - Words: 1,989 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 1 - Published: 09-05-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2717132
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Out of the Dark
It is cold. There is little warmth in this vast emptiness we call life. From the moment we are born, the darkness slowly covers us like an oil slick--filling our pores and making it impossible to see clearly.
As babies, we have some natural defense--we are carriers of the disease only--but none are immune. It creeps upon us slowly, gradually blocking our vision until we are no longer able to see the sun. The age that we succumb to the sickness varies, but by the time we reach our teenage years, the blindness ravages us, and we are left as empty shells.
In our despair, we wrap rubbish around ourselves--a blanket of shadows--and for a time it gives us warmth. Then it hardens, encasing us in the vileness; trapping us. We feel colder than before, the filth having washed off what natural protection we had. In our deprivation, we reach out for more, hoping for the relief to last a little longer this time. It is all in vain. We have achieved nothing but an increased burden on our already weak bodies. There is still no escape.
All around me, the masses struggle to find their way in the dark. In an attempt to gain sight of what they do not understand, they step on each other, careless of whether they are breaking man or woman, infant or elder. In a desperate effort to ease their suffering, they lash out, inflicting pain on others. They don't know any different. The darkness has been here for too many generations. It is what they have always known.
My childhood was similar to the rest of those in this environment. As a baby, the murkiness was there, but it was kept at bay. All of the children could play in peace; could see clearly for the first few years of their lives. But, as we grew, the shadows that had only covered us in patches grew with us. By my teenage years, I had lost all hope. The darkness was all consuming.
I knew that it was futile, but I continued to follow the many paths that those around me walked, frantically looking for a way out. Time after time, I would think I had found the way, only to smash into a wall, falling, bruised and broken. I tried again. There had to be a way to alleviate this misery.
Everywhere I looked, there were those who had solutions to removing this never-ending prison. They sounded intelligent. They sounded logical. They sounded like they had peace.
They were all wrong.
Samantha had shown me her way of dealing with the pain. She had found a magic pill. If I took enough of the pills, the darkness would disappear. So, I followed her down that path. And for a time it seemed to work; the pain subsided and I was left with a drug-induced peace. But, when the magic pill wore off, the darkness engulfed me, seeking to destroy. I wanted the pill to remove the pain again, but I was too terrified of what would happen the next time the pill wore off. I did not stay with Samantha long.
Belinda was sure she had found the way to escape. Everyday she traveled to a radiant tower in the center of the town. It glowed, and once within the sphere of light it produced, we could see. It was not a clear light--it dimmed as if covered with a dense fog--but I could capture glimpses of the world around me. It had been ages since I had been able to see through the darkness. I was ecstatic. This had to be the way!
But the tower was demanding. It would not give away its light for free; it required a sacrifice. If one was unable to meet those obligations, they were expelled.
Those within the tower's light marveled at their own greatness. They had done all that they were asked and knew that they were better because of it. They were able to see some of the world and were thankful. There was nothing of importance beyond that sphere.
At first, I was grateful for the chance to see anything. I, too, soaked up the rays that the tower deemed to bestow upon me. The tasks I was given were simple: bring those that I met out of the darkness into the light, help those that continued to struggle, and take care of those that could not take care of themselves. I could do those tasks, and I was proud to be a part of this honorable group.
But the tower was not done with me yet. Soon it required me to spend more and more time in the darkness. To prove my worth to the light. To show that I was above those that remained in the dark by their own free will. I was to close my eyes so that I was unaware of the darkness around me, and I was required to remain clean. It was an impossible task. I could not continually enter into the darkness without help and keep from picking up the filth. The tower eventually kicked me out and I was thrust back into an endless night to which I was no longer accustomed.
I moved through the darkness, still trying to keep myself clean out of habit, but failing miserably. Tripping through the blackness, I quite literally ran into Leonard. He imparted on me a new way of thinking--a path that was not a path. He had chosen to accept that there was nothing out there but the darkness, to be content with what he had. Perhaps this would be the way. To be happy, I must have faith in myself. After all, I had attempted to lean on others and they had let me down. There was no one that I could trust. I was on my own.
There was a sense of freedom in his philosophy. What I wanted, I took. The darkness blinded all; who would see? And so I joined in with my fellow society members. I climbed over others in my haste to be first. I reveled in the darkness--it hid my greed, my lust for power, and my emboldened desires.
However, this did not bring me the happiness that I craved. Free of caring for others, they were also free of caring for me. My life had no meaning. Once more, the darkness overwhelmed me, and the pain multiplied. There was no one to nurture me. My selfish ways had left me alone and bitter.
I fell on my face and closed my eyes, knowing that I was not good enough, that I could not do anything on my own. In the pits of my despair, I stopped searching. I lay down on the ground and wept with the realization that I was lost. I was ready to die.
It was then that I met him. His name was Joshua and he carried none of the filth that surrounded the rest of us. In fact, he glowed. Not like the tower, his light was not filtered through a haze in the darkness, but shown clear and bright. When I was near him, nothing obstructed my sight; the filth was removed, and the world was beautiful.
Joshua carried with him a flame that combated this darkness. The light grows the more it is shared and the darkness hides from its power. Joshua roamed the earth, seeking those that he could trust to carry these lights for him.
He told me that he had been calling out, searching for those that were ready to find the way out of the darkness. He had gone to the tower first, certain that those who could already partially see would want to follow him and truly see for the first time. But they were too busy completing their tasks to hear him. Only a few were chosen to bear the gift of light he brought.
He next looked for those who had lost themselves to the magic pill. He felt great sorrow for their pain and many of them gave up their pills to follow him. Unfortunately, some of those that were chosen walked away from the light they were given and were pulled back into the darkness, the light becoming only a glimmer. When they are ready to try again, they will find the light waiting.
It was in the last group, Leonard's group, that he found the most struggles. Few wanted to listen to his call. They were content to hide in the darkness and angry that he would attempt to remove them from their self-sufficiency.
As he was searching through these people, he found me. He called out to me and I listened. And so, he chose me to carry one of his lights. He asked me to share the luminescence with all who would accept it. He promised that if enough people held on to the light, the darkness would be defeated.
I was honored that Joshua had given me this great task, and I proudly displayed my light for all to see. I was certain that my friends who were blinded by this inky blackness would appreciate the radiance. I wanted to share it with them. However, I was met with anger and even hatred.
Leonard thought I was crazy--after all, what could the light possibly show him that he didn't already know? Belinda thought I was being judgmental--the fog through which she saw was just as good as my light. Samantha claimed that I was being restrictive--there would be another way to see through this darkness and she refused to be limited by my light. Many others resented the illumination--they did not want to see the scars that the darkness had kept covered.
One by one, they pushed me back into a corner. In fear of their threats and punishment, I have hidden there, keeping my light hidden with me. I soak in the warmth that the flame gives and yet it grows dimmer, devoid of others to share it. Those who wander nearest to me comment that the space around me seems brighter, but I do not offer an explanation. I listen to their screams of torment and pity them because they do not have my light. I have almost forgotten how to uncover it.
Although I am no longer blind, the darkness is closing in on me. It is winning. My flame cannot be extinguished, but a burning ember rarely roars to a bonfire--it must be fanned.
Why do I fear? Many still cry out for help. They continue to search for the way. The darkness will swallow this world soon and then there will be no hope. There is not much time left. I must illuminate the path for those who need to see.
I will not hide my light any longer.
A/N: This was written for the September Writing Challenge Contest for the Review Game. This month's prompt was: "For many are called, but few are chosen." -Matthew 22:14
If you liked it, please take a moment sometime during the week of Sept. 8th-14th to vote for it. (The Review Game is found in Forums/General and it is the first choice...great place to hang out if you like to give and receive reviews!)
In general, it is difficult for me to do one shots and I struggled with the length restrictions on this one in particular. At 1912 words, I was just short of the 2000 word limit! A few paragraphs ended up on the cutting room floor that I may put back in eventually.
This was a bit of a personal piece. I hope you found it thought provoking. :-D