Author's Notes: Hey, well, this is the first very short story I have posted on here. I usually type/write Harry Potter stories, but this is very different. I was in church (and I like HP, ironic, yes, I know) and when I'm there, I usually try to think of something else other than Harry Potter or ideas for my Harry Potter stories because, you know, it's church and they think it's evil. Well, I don't know where this came from, but this is what came out of drifting off into my little "Writing Space". Eh, I don't like how it came how, but I thought I'd post it anyway. It's very different than from my usual writing style and that's probably the only thing I like about it.

~*~

One Small Candle

By: Krystal Lily Black

You are in church before the service starts. Your father is talking to a lady whose name you do not know and you honestly don't care that you don't. However, you're bored of standing beside your father, not saying anything, him and his friend's voices fading in and out. You look around the room, but you don't see any of your friends yet.

But something is bothering you in the back of your mind. You're feeling misplaced-like you're in the wrong place at the wrong time-like you shouldn't be here at this moment in time. You want to leave-to walk away and pass throughout the church by yourself. You want to explore the place even thought you know what is behind every door.

You mutter a goodbye and a short explanation to your father, not sure if he heard you or not, and meander away from him. You skim through the small crowd and enter the hallway where you see a few younger children running to the other side of the hall and into another room. You assume they are playing tag or hide and go seek while you dodge a few of them yourself. They are giggling and laughing; they seem to believe that they are in the right place.

You've been walking down this corridor for a few minutes now and it has become darker. It has become a little more ominous as each of your steps echo softly. You're beginning to wonder where you are going and if you are even going somewhere at all. Do you have a destination? Or are you just destined to wander the rest of eternity? Perhaps, you think, it is a sign of what is to come. But then again, you have never believed in fate.

The hallway is getting darker the more you travel down it. There are a few doors here and there on your left or on your right, and you suppose that you know what's behind it. After all, you've been going to this same church since you were four and now you are sixteen. One should know their way around after twelve long years.

Your shadow dances along the wall in what dim light you have and you find it rather foreboding. It reminds you of the stories you heard of demons crawling in the shadows, watching your every move and antagonizing you without you even knowing it. You want to stop and turn around. You want to turn around and run back to your father, but then, you argue that that would not be the sixteen year-old thing to do, really. It's rather pitiful.

And besides, it's not what you really want to do. What you really want to do is continue to saunter down this hallway. You don't know why. You don't know why today of all days. All you know is that you want to walk down this hallway right now. You think you could possibly be searching for something, but you just don't know. It's bothering you-searching for something you don't even know-you can't even see. You feel rather blind, in a strange sense.

That's when you see a dark door at the end of the hallway and you quicken your pace. Your heart is racing and you don't even know why. Your mind is spinning; you hasten your fast walk into a jog. And then, you stop at the door and time seems to freeze. There is nothing special about this door. There is probably nothing special about the room behind the door. You touched the handle and it almost burns. You grip the doorknob tightly, ignoring the peculiar burning sensation shooting through your fingertips, and twist the knob, slowly opening it silently.

There was a room at the end of the dark hall you meandered down on this day. There is a chair in the middle of the empty room. And in that chair, is a girl with long, wavy black hair that has fallen across her face. Her face is in her hands. She is crying.

You do not know the girl or why she is crying. You've seen her from time to time in the church service, but you have never stopped to talk to her. She is one of those people that like to stay to themselves and sit by themselves, think by themselves, and probably talk to themselves. She's as sane as you, which you had just been questioning, so you know she's not mental. She's a new girl-very new, in fact. She's just been here to three services, but that is all. She knows nothing about everything. And now, you feel the same exact way. You should know why she is crying-you should know her name-but you do not.

She doesn't seem to have noticed your presence, but that is fine with you. You feel as if you're being rude, as if you are disturbing her disheartened peace. You find that you are feeling regretful and you're beginning to come to think that you have interrupted something very important.

You want to shut the door, walk away, and try to forget about what you have seen, but you don't. You cannot. Instead, you watch her with interest-with concern, you suppose-and you wonder if there is anything you can do to stop her tears from flowing. You know nothing.

You're not that sort of person-one who just jumps out in front of a speeding car to save someone. That is what you think it feels like-to help someone in spiritual need because you believe that you're not strong enough in your faith-in your bravery-to do something like that. You feel a little discouraged yourself for not being able to help this girl.

The room is very dark-very frightening. The atmosphere is very chilling and very down in the dumps, and you're beginning to feel that is would be proper to just start crying on the spot for no reason at all. Maybe your reason can be that you just felt like crying and you had to let everything out. Perhaps you can argue that everyone must have one pointless breakdown in their life. You might as well get it over with when you are sixteen.

Neither you nor the crying girl can see the demons wallowing in the shadows, jeering the girl cruelly-poking fun at her-making jokes about her- laughing at her-sneering at her. They are the ones that are provoking this attitude on her because she is weak and miserable. To them, the room is black and dark, blackness is as thick as liquid, dripping down the walls like ooze. Her tears make them stronger and make them more confident.

But something has held them back slightly. Just a minute ago, they had been dancing around her, actually jabbing her in her feeble spirit, but now, they could do no such thing. Again, without your knowledge, it is you who has done this. They growl and sneer at you angrily for you have brought a small candle into this dark world of theirs. For every room of darkness, there shall be one candle and you are holding that one candle in your right hand limply.

In your right hand, is a Bible. It is old and worn out; you've had it for years and years. But it is quite dear to you. Your older brother had given it to you just an hour before he had gotten in a serious car wreck with his friend and died. It has served you very well in life, you suppose. It gave you strength and gave you the hope and faith you have today.

You now know that you want to do something to help this sobbing girl, but you are still wondering what you can possibly do if you don't know what her problem is. You look down at your shoes, but see the Bible in your hand instead. You pull it up to get a closer look and think.

And then you decide. You walk into the room, making a path of light, unbeknownst to you. The demons back against the wall and hiss at you. The once completely dark room now has a brilliantly lit path to the door and they are losing the battle, they know, but you do not. They look on at you spitefully, snarling at you, but knowing that they can do nothing with the Bible in your hand.

You silently and slowly make your way to the crying girl in the chair. You stop in front of her, but she still hasn't noticed you at all, which is fine with you. Her hands and hair are hiding her eyes and muffling her soft sobs that seem to be deafening to you. You bend down and set the Bible at her feet.

You stop suddenly. You look up at her one second, wondering if you should give her something so precious to your heart, and then you let go of it. You stand up straight, take a deep breath, give her a look over, and walk away. You grab the doorknob and begin to pull it shut when you stop. You look back at her and give her one last glance. You blink and shut the door completely. You walk back to your father and maybe to some of your friends.

~*~

The girl slowly stops crying and pulls her face out of her hands. She rubs her eyes and sniffs, trying to wipe the tears away that just keep falling. Her cheeks are tear-stained and rosy; her eyes are read and puffy; her nose is running and cold, but she does not care. Looks do not concern her. She looks down and sees the Bible at her feet.

The demons are crying out, yelling at her, screaming at her, but she is not paying attention to them at the moment. The Bible is crossing her eyes, shooting through her mind. How did it get there? She did not recall seeing one there before. Perhaps it was a work of God to help her. She bent down and picked it up.

She sets it on her lap and stares at it for a minute. She wonders how a little torn up book could possibly help her through this tumultuous and miserable time in her forsaken life. She always been a doubter-she was always the skeptic. Never once had she done anything by faith. And now, she had lost her hope, the last good thing about herself, she supposed. Now, her father had died and she was sad and angry.

She had gone to church-like she had promised God. She had prayed every night-like she had promised God. She had given money to help others-like she had promised God. She even did all of the work at home-like she had promised. She had promised God she would do all these things... if He would at least let her father live.

Her mother had already left her and now, so had her father. She was alone now. He hadn't let her father live-like she had wished. She wondered if He would help her now that her father had also left her on the earth alone.

~*~

You sit down in a pew in the back rows. You usually sit up front, but without your Bible, you feel that you should sit in the back and use one of the church's decrepit ones. You pull a Bible out from a little spot under the seat and set it in your lap. You smile at it, but it's a wan smile. You liked your other one better, but you suppose it might be of some good help.

You open the Bible at random and land on a page. You skim down the page and your eyes land on a certain paragraph. Your eyes seem glued to it. You cannot take your eyes off of it. You realize that you haven't read this verse in a while. You decide to give it another shot.

The verse is Psalm 23: 4. You've read it plenty of times-you can remember each time-but you feel that you need to read it one more time for the time seems strangely appropriate. You don't know why, but it just does. You begin to feel as if it may soothe you or possibly give you answer to something, but you just don't know what. You read by what you suppose is faith.

You know most of it by memory, for it has stuck with you through life, but you never really could remember all of it and feel its true meaning. You sigh and look back at the page, surmising that it won't hurt you to veer from the pastor's talk for just a moment.

You began to whisper it to yourself, feeling as if you may feel more power if you do so, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death- "

~*~

She opened the Bible slowly and it landed on a page near the middle of the book. She looked to the top of the page and she sees that she has opened it up to the Book of Psalms. She can barely remember hearing someone tell her that the Book of Psalms is full of wonderful, praising songs to God written by someone by the name of David.

Her eyes land on one sentence, and she knows. She knows that she must read it aloud because maybe it will give her some peace. But how could a sentence in one lousy book possibly give her any peace for something as grave as this? She doesn't know how, but she just knows that it will.

The demons on the walls now begin to quake in fear. She is not supposed to read aloud for she will get stronger and they will get weaker. They are in fear. You were not supposed to have entered the room and have seen her. You were not supposed to leave your Bible for her eyes to see. But you did. And now, the demons are in fear of losing control of their victim. They are slowly losing her already. There had been a thick veil of darkness surrounding her once, but now... now it was dimming and fading away.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." she murmurs, breaking off when she hears herself say the last word. She cannot bear to continue to read, but she knows that she must and so she looks to the next sentence.

~*~

"-I will fear no evil, for you are with me," you say, though you are not sure if what is happening is really happening or not. In a strange way, it feels surreal to you. You feel not all though, but you know you are, aren't you? Your mind is spinning, but you want to read further.

~*~

Her hands are shaking, but she presses a finger at the next sentence on the thin page in the Bible hard nonetheless, determined to read if only this one, single verse. "I will fear no evil, for you are with me," she reads under her breath.

Her heart is racing a million miles per hour; she can feel it pressing against her chest and she can hear it thumping as fast as it could humanly go. Her breathing was turning erratic. Her mind was racing. She was getting excited. There was something about this that was just touching so close to her heart now. It was something that was just so close to her. She needed to continue to breathe. She needed to continue so she could live.

~*~

"Your rod and your staff..." You stare at the last three words in the sentence, not sure if you should continue because you are getting louder and you know that you cannot keep your voice down. For some reason, you want to just stand up and shout it out to the High Heavens. But you know you shouldn't because it is during the middle of the service.

You take a deep breath and close your eyes to meditate silently. A vision of the crying girl reading your Bible flashes in your mind's eye and then you open your other two. You try again.

"Your rod and your staff..."

~*~

"...they comfort me."

She stops breathing right then and there. She feels as if she cannot breathe or make a sound or move a muscle for it might break the energy in the room that she believes is precious. She feels a light smile on her face for the first time in days.

And it is all because of this one single, little verse that she had randomly come upon by chance-no, by miracle. Out of all of the books-out of all of the pages-out of all of the verses-she had come across this one-the one verse that could give her what she wanted the most.

She knew. She knew that she was not alone on this earth. She would never be alone in the world because God would always be with her. She may not be able to see Him, but through this dark time when she walks through the nights and days without her father, He is with her.

Though she has fallen into the valley of the shadow of her father's death, she shall not walk through it alone and she will not be alone in the battle to live. She has God and she knows that He will never forsake her. When her own demons will come to torture her, He will keep them at bay and shoo them away from her. He will help her heal.

And this makes her smile once again. It's a small smile, but it is more than she has ever done in the many days behind her. She closes the Bible and then stops. She wonders: Who does it belong to? It had to have come from somewhere. She opens it up again and sees what is written inside on the first page:

I shall always be with you. Though you may not see me, I will be in your heart if you chose to keep me there and continue to love me, for I will always love you no matter what.

I hope you keep this closely. Mom gave this to me when I was a little boy and now that she has gone to a better place, I believe that you should have it now. After all, you were mom's little angel.

From,

Your big brother

And this simple little note brings more tears to her eyes. She cannot explain if they are tears of sadness or of hope, but she really doesn't feel the need to interpret them now. She sees your brother's name written down and then your own younger, sloppy signature below it. She knows who you are.

She closes the Bible and holds it closely, feeling the need to make sure that she keeps the promise that is not her own. She deems that she needs to make sure that it is never broken by anyone. She stands up and looks at the door. She gives it a feeble smile.

There is a pathway of light to the door. Once, there had been nothing but darkness and gloom, but after you came and went, you left not only your treasured Bible behind for the girl to use. You also left a road of guidance.

It reminded her of the song, "Amazing Grace". Once, she had not been able to see the door through her many tears, but now, after this, she could see again. She could escape the darkness of death and of her own doom. She could push the depression and loneliness behind.

She took a deep, shuddering breath and walked towards the door. She thought her heart might have just stopped when she touched the doorknob. She froze in suspension. She wondered if she should smile again and if she was doing what was best.

Maybe she should go back to crying because she was alone and had no one left. Maybe she was being rude to her father's memory by smiling and walking away from all of the depression. Or maybe she was doing it right and what was best. She clutched the doorknob and opened the door. The demons screamed for her and flailed themselves at her feet. She looked back at the room... and walked away, shutting the door behind her.

~*~

You have been sitting there on the pew in the back rows for minutes, just staring at that single verse in the Bible. You can't move. You can't take your eyes off of it. You just stare at it. It is ricocheting off of every possible wall in her mind, vibrating over and over again in her head. You know that you must look quite foolish, but you don't really care. You can't break eye contact with it.

You know that this is not your Bible. And in the back of your mind, you feel a little sheepish because now you are wishing that you had not given it away. You want it back, to tell the truth. This Bible is too hard and too cold, like it has hardly ever been used. It looks too... new, you decide. You want yours back and you feel guilty for thinking that.

Suddenly, out of the blue, the once crying girl you had seen in the room sat down next to you on the pew very abruptly. You hadn't even heard the doors open; you had been so determined on that verse. In fact, you were still gaping at that same verse, even with her sitting next to you.

And you can sense that she had your Bible sitting in her lap. And you can sense her looking over at your calmly. And you can sense that she is not down so much anymore. You feel slightly proud of yourself because you might have possibly just done something right and helped someone out.

She holds the Bible out in front of you, over the Bible you had been staring at. Your eye contact with the verse has been broken, but truthfully, now that is has been, you don't feel so bad. Besides, you are now looking at your cherished Bible.

"I believe this is yours," she mutters softly. You look up at her and see that she has dark brown eyes that you know you have seen from somewhere. You nod your head mutely and take it from her hands very slowly, as if afraid that you might damage the book. You close the other one expertly and put it aside very gently. "Your brother..."

"Heaven," you merely answer quietly. She nods her head and looks away, back up to the pastor, who is still giving what could be a powerful sermon.

"And your mother...?" she asks, her voice as soft as the slow wind.

"With God," you simply say. It's been a long time, you know. You find it slightly comforting that you're holding the Bible both your brother and mother once owned and read. You skim your fingertips across the worn out edge and it is warm to the touch, like it is always. She nods her head again.

"So is mine," she sighs wistfully-almost passively-still watching the preacher intently, "and now my dad has joined her again."

You look at her slowly, not really knowing what to say. Now that you have found out why she had been crying alone in that room, you wish you hadn't gotten told in the first place. Comfort was also never your area of expertise. You had never known what to do when your mother and brother had died either; you had been empty and numb.

You couldn't cry-even at the funeral outside. You had called their funerals "goodbyes". You knew what the word meant in reality. The world liked to shorten things-even lives-and goodbye was one of those things that had been shortened. "Goodbye" really meant "God be with you". You'd picked it up from somewhere, perhaps your dreams at night. And that was what she thought a funeral was-a goodbye because they were with God now. So, you had taken that as good and not as bad. Or maybe you had just been so sad you couldn't cry; you didn't know.

Their deaths had been harder on your father than you, you supposed at times. You had been so young and so... naïve then that your emotions hadn't fully blossomed yet. You had just been a young girl at the time.

And now, you found out that this girl's parents had died and you were beginning to wonder if someone had robbed you of your emotions or of your comforting words when you were a child. You just stare at your shoes very hard and concentrate on your shoelaces.

"Thank you," she whispers suddenly in the silence. You look up just into to see her flash you a small, genuine smile before she gets up and wanders to the front pews so she can hear better. You sigh-with almost relief-and slid lower into your seat. You press the Bible against your chest and drift off into what you could call space.

~*~

The service is over and everyone is standing up from their seats, stretching or talking to their neighbor. Some are even walking up to the pastor to talk to him or congratulate him on an excellent sermon. You wouldn't know; truth be told, you hadn't really been paying attention to him.

You silently slip out of the room and wander down the same dark corridor you had gone down before the service had even started. You hear the doors open again and people spilling out, talking loudly, and some even laughing. You ignore them and ignore anyone who may be looking at you curiously. You walk in total silence and forget about the foreboding darkness and peace.

You see the door to the room you had walked in earlier. You walk to the door slowly and you stop at it again, wondering if you might possibly walk in on someone crying again. You can't possibly help two people in just one hour, can you? You shrug the thought away and open the door anyway.

The room is dark-like it had been the first time she had entered-but there was something different about it. No, it was still empty and there was still a single chair in the middle of the room, but... It just felt different to her. There was a lighter atmosphere and not so much of a depressed, sullen one. You take in a deep breath and walk in. You stop at the chair.

You stare at it for a second, wondering who might put a chair in the middle of an empty room, and then you set your Bible down on the floor gently. You stand straight up again and grab the chair, folding it up slowly. You walk over to a closet door and open it up, placing the chair inside of it. You close the door and walk back into the middle of the room.

You look around the room again. Something is missing; you can feel it in your bones. You look around again and there in front of you is a dry erase board and one marker. As a child, you had scribbled all sorts of random things on the boards, much to the elders of the church's dismay.

You had been a silent girl, always unraveling and explaining yourself in what you wrote on the boards. Your father and the pastor had taken it as that that was the only way you could communicate very well after the death of your brother and mother. You supposed that they could be right; you didn't really know yourself.

So now, you walk up to the board and you think about what you're going to write. And just like old times again-just like when you were but a young children with no mother or older brother-you picked up the marker again. You put it to the board and you wrote what was in your mind.

You sat the marker down when you were finished, realizing that there was no eraser, but you didn't quite care. You took a step back to admire your meaningful words. You give them a wan smile before you walk back into the middle of the room where the chair had once been and now your Bible lay.

You abruptly sit down on the floor and cross your legs Indian-style. You feel better than you did before, you know that much. You have helped someone you didn't even know. You had chose to give up a little of something you held dear in your heart to someone you didn't know. You had helped someone get through something that you had never been able to get through unscathed yourself.

You picked up the Bible and sat it in your lap. You looked at the words on the board you wrote just seconds ago, and you read them out loud for the Lord to hear.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff; they comfort me... they comfort me..."

~*~

I hope that was good. I have never written a story like that so this is very new for me. I figured that I needed to do something different and I hope it went well. Thank you for reading!

This is Krystal Lily Black, signing out! Ciao!