Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Lost Stories: The Light That Never Goes Out

This is the second story written for a specific question. See my other post "Sleven Goes Home" to see how the process works. The question for this story was "How can I meet a guy who likes me and who will pay attention to me?" Although the main character in this story is a man, it's mostly about me and my shortcomings. There is a possibility that the main character's self-centeredness might be taken from a couple of guys I've known, but I can never be sure about that.

The man never knew what hit him. He’d spent most of his life in that state, but each time he was clueless. He still didn’t know. He wasn’t introspective at all, just focused on everything outside. He never realized he was making his own problems even when he clearly did stupid things to the detriment of himself and those around him.

One day a demon showed up in his bedroom just before dawn. The man woke and trembled in terror. The demon started to recite a list of his most grievous wrongdoings and explained to him that it was all to his making. He chose to ignore, he chose to be arrogant, he chose to allow himself to lose sight of his inner self and his inner workings. The man pledged to change if he demon wouldn’t hurt him. The demon refused. Instead, he tore the man from limb from limb and dropped off parts of his body to the people he had grievously wronged as payment for the wrongs done to them.

The man’s soul wandered in fear and pain and loneliness in a cold empty space. There was no one there to talk to, nothing but the hard cold ground and an all encompassing darkness. The demon left him with a single light, an eternal flame covered in a small hurricane lamp that would never go out as reward for offering to change.

“The offer to change is better than nothing,” the demon had said. The man called out to the darkness until he was hoarse. He realized he might spend the rest of eternity here if he didn’t think of what he must do next. A very long time passed and then the man found a single object on the hard ground as he wandered around. It was a compass. And it worked. The man thought for a long time about which direction to go. It was difficult to know in the pitch blackness, but while he was thinking about it, he noticed something in the lamp with the eternal flame that he hadn’t seen before. The top of the glass from the lamp could be removed. He carefully removed the glass and the eternal flame stood alone. He stared at it for a while and then turned around towards the compass. Immediately the flame flickered in the dark for the first time. He thought it was his own movements causing the flicker, but realized there was a slight breeze coming from somewhere. The man held the flame here and there and was able to figure out which direction the breeze was coming from: northeast. He carefully closed up the eternal flame in it’s glass covering then carefully setting the compass, the man started moving in the right direction.

This story is very simple and lord knows I've written about people (myself) being lost in a featureless dark place. The flame is clearly a throwback to the Lord of the Rings and the dark place is what I think of as Purgatory even though I'm not Catholic. The flickering of the flame is something I borrowed from spelunking as a method of finding your way through a cave system.

Did this story answer my original question about meeting a good guy? Yes and no. To me it means that finding a good guy is something secondary, there's a breeze to find, a compass to use and the flickering flame. Somehow those things transcend dating.


anne said...

lovin' these!

Mock Turtle said...

Thank you so much for your always welcome feedback and thanks for coming back and reading.