New Flash Fiction, (c) 2013 by C. N. Nevets
At one time there was nothing but darkness. It was so thick you could feel it as you moved through it. It was cold; it was clammy; it was suffocating. Navigation by guesswork was the only option. It was no hardship, because it was the only way anyone had ever lived.
Then there was light.
With light came vision, warmth, and navigation by sight. The light was pale, and though it brought shadows, it also brought clarity and details. The world was richer and warmer. Suddenly there were things and there were air, and we were no longer suffocated.
Then there was bright light.
A small light. A glow that could not be looked at directly. The light that had filled our world with richness suddenly seemed poor and dim. Where there had been details there was only shadow, except where it was touched by the new, bright light.
You cannot walk past the light. When you come near it, it compels you. It not only draws your attention but motivates your action. You walk toward it. You stand. You bask. You reach out toward it, as if to caress it or at least to touch it and know it as real. But your hand burns in the outermost periphery of light, and if if you bask too long, you will be consumed. Warmth will flash, and flesh will be cinders.
And so I place a glass jar over the orb. To contain it. But it still compels, and the glass burns just as hotly as the light itself.
And so I place a boundary at a distance, a line that cannot be crossed. To keep us from approaching to near. But it still compels, and a boundary requires compliance.
And so I paint the jar black. Opaque. To hide the light. But we have seen the light, and to see the jar is just as compelling as seeing the light itself, knowing what the jar contains.
And so I find the first light, the pale but warm light that first brought details and shadows out of the blackness, the light which allows us to see the boundary I have laid out on the floor and the jar which I have painted black and which contains the most compelling force that we have ever known.
And I take a hammer in my right hand.
And I raise my right hand.
And I swing my right arm.
And I shatter the light.
Returning us into darkness.
And saving us from the light.
Saving me from the light.
For in the darkness, I remember that I am all alone.