By Raph al Guul
The light has grown elusive. Lucky the man who can catch himself a handful. And we all know what he does with it.
Down to the cellar he climbs, his fist clenched shut. His arm shakes from the exertion, sweat on his brow. There lies the chest, made of wood and painted black. He heaves it open with one arm, his other ready to throw.
It is almost completely dark in the underground cellar, though a faint glow emanates from the man’s fist. He raises it, all the while holding up the cover of the chest with his other hand. For a second he closes his eyes in the darkness and a sense of calm washes over him. Then, with a sudden jerk, he throws his fist towards the chest, unclenching as he does so. He drops the cover at the same time as he pulls back the other arm. For the briefest of moments, a flash enlightens the entire cellar – then darkness again.
The man collapses onto the chest. He’s shaking, partly from the exertion, but for the most part it is elation that moves him unwittingly. What a thrill it is to capture a spark of light! What a treasure lies beneath him in the wooden chest. He turns the key in its lock, sealing it in uncompromisingly.
From this day onward, the man guards his cellar with the utmost precaution. Not a soul is allowed down there but his. After a time, he finds himself spending every waking minute of the day in the dark room.
He sits with the chest as one would with an old friend. Remote from the world, he sits and stares into the blackness of the room as if it was the open skies. His arm often rests on top of the chest. And all the while, time is doing him to death.
He knows the clutches of reality will not be able to reach him as long as he has the light chained. He can demystify the dark with nothing but a black chest. But he has to keep it closed, lest the precious light might escape.
And so the man spends his days in the dark with the light he cannot see. He’s always ready to snap open the locked chest in case the vague evil of the world should find its way down there. He’d illuminate unholy ways, he’s sure of it. But evil never comes.
In the dark he sits – no desire for food or drink. All he wants is the light by his side. He still doesn’t know that his end is near, but perhaps there is a small inkling of doubt forming in his clouded mind. What good is it to know and not to see? How certain is he after all? And beneath these thoughts, a sick sense of desire forms. A desire for evil to find him.