Tim Ryan is a writer based in Calgary, Canada. He has published stories in The Write Launch, Prometheus Dreaming, Short Editions & Alberta Views. "Scottie" won Alberta Views 2017 short story prize and ... [+]

Image of Short Story
Blackness was everywhere.
Well, okay, so maybe blackness was almost everywhere.
At the very least it was dark.
The darkness was quite complete. Except, of course, for those three points of red light.
For absolute clarity then, except for the three above-mentioned points of light, the darkness was complete.
Of course, it was the three lights that stood out because of the otherwise completeness of the dark. In fact, it was the three points of light that thoroughly upset what was an otherwise perfectly dark setting. This upset made the otherwise uniform dark interesting.
Time went on within an equanimity between the dark and the light. It seemed that stability would reign.
Just as the reign seemed stable, one of the three pricks of light changed slightly into a different point of light—still very much the same red colour and still very much the same intensity it had had, but somehow altered from the point of light it had previously been. In a sense it was a revolution in light-ness. Or perhaps an evolution. The darkness might have seen it as a devolution. Luckily, the darkness could not see. It just was.
For a while, the darkness was once again fairly complete, penetrated only by three relatively stable points of light. The darkness itself was that velvety purple-black kind of darkness that one gets in very remote areas at night with high cloud cover. In fact, if one had to provide a parallel to the entire setting, a very remote area with high cloud cover allowing only three distant red stars to penetrate it would fairly represent the setting. However, and to be clear, the lights were not stars, the darkness was not the sky and there was no cloud.
The darkness kept on being dark and the three lights kept on penetrating it until, once again, that single point of light changed ever so slightly. This may have been seen as a flaw—the darkness being interrupted only by the three lights and with the single light changing almost imperceptibly—had there been anyone to see it. And, while not ideal, the single occasionally changing light was not judged by anyone or thing to be entropic. No world was ending, no life was lost, no crisis imminent.
And so it was.
Until a radical new pattern emerged and the point of light just to the left of the previously only changing point of light joined in for an almost imperceptible change of its own.
This new event, this iconoclasm, completely distorted the universe as it had been, and created a completely new existential pattern with the first light changing fairly frequently relative to the less frequent changes in the case of the second light. The darkness...well, the darkness just kept on being dark. Really, what else could it do?
And time went on.
It seemed that the darkness and the two changing lights and the one stable light had finally established a co-existence that was both harmonious and interdependent, a symbiotic existence that, while not necessarily pleasing to all, allowed all to exist without concern about pleasure. And, really, what more could be expected of darkness and light? Each was, as much as the other might not admit it, necessary to the other in some form.
And time went on.
Of course, as time goes on, expectations might change. Thus, when the third pinpoint of light, the light just to the left of the second changing light and two points to the left of the first changing light, this third light decided to get into the action and change almost imperceptibly as well, when this happened, expectations had to change.
At first the universe as it had come to be understood was shattered by the activity of the previously stable third light. But, as with all things, a deeper acceptance of cosmic machinations emerged and a pattern that had order and merit emerged: the almost all-encompassing darkness penetrated by the frequent almost imperceptible changes of the first flight, the less frequent almost imperceptible changes of the second light, and the relatively infrequent almost imperceptible changes of the third light.
The darkness asserted itself as best it could, given the circumstances. It had no manual or guidebook to do otherwise. Its raison d’etre, it’s fundamental nature, its elemental expression, remained dark. In being so, it could, with only minimal angst (if dark had angst at all, which it did not), continue as it almost always had been.
It was, frankly, the appearance of the fourth light that really rocked the order. Just to the left of the most infrequently changing light, a fourth light appeared. This fourth light lasted for two imperceptible changes of the relatively infrequently changing third light.
At the appearance of this fourth pinpoint of light, the darkness felt its sine qua non in serious jeopardy and some primordial re-assertion became necessary. Thus the fourth light, after two more changes of the third light, disappeared, thus providing the darkness with a firmer hold on its all-encompassingness.
And time went on.
And darkness mostly prevailed.
That is, until the morning news came on and a hand reached from the covers for the snooze button.