Tuesday, 11 October 2011

39) On Light

    A young boy stared up at the single electric light bulb hanging down from the ceiling in the middle of his room. His long division homework was ignored, sitting half finished on the table, what entranced him was the light and the moths fluttering around it, occasionally banging into it as if they had no choice. He remembered magnets and a campfire, something about electricity through the air. He wished so hard he knew more. Light seemed like something solid, but the way it moved through glass told him different.
    He pulled his house key out from under his shirt. He closed one eyes and held the key between his open eye and the light. Light bounced off its contours and he saw something else in there. He slid the shoelace lanyard with the key on it off his neck and dangled the key like a pendulum. It twisted and turned, brightness flashed off its flat surfaces. He looked around the room and took in the way the light was colored like the key in its reflections sliding over the wall.
    An idea flashed through his brain. He slapped down the key on the table and got up so quickly the chair clattered to the floor. He ran over to his closet and dug through layers of dirty clothes and various found precious objects. Eventually he found the objects he was looking for, a funny bit of glass he’d found the weekend before at the beach and his flashlight. The glass curved gracefully on one side and was ridged on the other side, tiny bits of something sparkled inside it. The flashlight was his grandfathers, chrome and simple, scuffed but reliable. On second thought he reached into the dresser by his bed and grabbed some scotch tape.
    With all the objects in hand he started to combine them. The lanyard went around the flashlight. The glass went on the end of the flashlight, secured with tape around the edges. He pushed his chair back and carefully overturned his table. His homework fluttered to the ground.
    He stood directly under the lightbulb and looked up. Only one moth was left and he was a big one, his poor wings rained down tiny specks every time he hit the light bulb.
    The boy pulled up his lanyard and turned on the flashlight, a beam of pure white blasted out, lit his face, momentarily blinding him. He turned it back away and noticed the light spraying out the end of the glass and the way it illuminated his room. The stains and cracks on the ceiling and walls looked more like old skin in that light.
    He twisted the flashlight around and around then let it spin out. He let the lanyard slip down, he took the end and began to swing it around and around his head in a perfect circle. The object whooshed through the air and the moth banged against the light bulb.
    After the thirteenth swing his arms began to get tired. He looked up and the lightbulb seemed strange. It looked dim, redder, and the moth had somehow disappeared. He took that as an encouragement and gave his swinging more effort.
    There was a tone then, a high pitched “Nee…” followed by a sharp report like a gunshot. At that moment, to all outside observers the boy in that room would have disappeared.
    None of his neighbors were around to hear the sound so no one called the police until later when his mother came home and found him missing and his room a complete mess. She did everything in her power to find him, but it was all in vain. He had gone some-when else, far far away.

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