Of Darkness

3 min
Image of Fall 2020
Image of Short Fiction
There were two kinds of creatures. Those of darkness, and those of light.
They lived in their separate worlds––those of darkness stepping from shadow to shadow, and those of light from sunbeam to sunbeam.
They reveled in their differences. In coolness and heat. In gentle colors and vivid ones. Each thought their ways to be superior and never took the time to understand their opposites. Despite this, they lived, of necessity, in a sort of harmony, for shadows and sunbeams often interweave, and so, too, did the worlds of these people.

One day, in a bustling city street, a girl stood beneath the covered walk that separated day from night. Amid the noise and the chaos of the traffic and the sellers, her eyes caught on a moving figure on the other side of the street. The boy was handsome, and she, naive, so it was a forgivable offense that she stopped so abruptly, nearly tripping her mother as they walked. Her mother laughed, as did she, because all youth experience this at some point or another. But the girl kept staring, and, before her mother could do anything about it, she stepped from the curb and into the light.

Instantly, the day burned her. She could not breath nor speak, and her skin prickeled with needles. She might have died, there in the street, had not her mother yanked her back beneath the awning. Yet even as she regained her breath, and her mother decried her foolishness, her eyes followed the boy as he continued down the street and out of sight.

Months passed, and one evening, at a busy station, the boy waited for a train. The crowd grew, and as it did, he politely stepped nearer the line that separated light from dark. In much the same manner as the girl before him, he glanced around and saw her. Unlike her, however, he was alone and had no mother nearby to laugh at his naiveté nor break him from his trance. So, when he, without a second thought, stepped across the line towards the girl, he had no one to pull him back to safety. So when the night smothered him and weighed upon his chest, he should have died. But, maybe because of luck or perhaps the small sound of his exhalation, she saw him, and when she saw him, she ran to him, pushing him back across the line and into light.

They laughed together at the audacity of their actions, and flirted with each other with the easy banter and openness of those who have known not love nor loss. The girl, too, was alone, so when the trance took them both, no one came to break it. They talked and joked as trains passed by, both having forgotten where they were going and why, and through those hours there was no day nor night nor dark nor light nor heat nor cool––just a girl and a boy and several feet between them.

From that moment on, they took whatever chance there was to be together. In shops and parks, at junctions and stations. Anywhere and everywhere that the shadows touched the sunlight. With each meeting their love grew, and in each hour apart, so did their longing. There’s was a soft and gentle love, but with a vividness and sincerity that none but they could comprehend.

But everyone thinks they can comprehend.

So when the unusualness of such a love came to the attention of friends and family, it was with that universal air of superiority that they set about to destroy it. Their detractors came out in force––they worked them both longer and requested their time and attention more frequently––apparently hoping that this love, like many others, might be ruined by sheer separation. When it became clear that neither side side could successfully separate the two, they came together to pull them apart.

The boy no longer loved her. The girl had fallen for another. A web of lies and gossip and hearsay was stitched together and thrown over them.

Finally, the girl received a letter. The boy was leaving, and would be headed out that afternoon. The rest of the letter contained some explanation or another, but she never read it, because after the first line, she was already running. She raced until she reached the station, just in time to watch a train pull away. His friends said he was on it.

At once, for the girl, darkness was no longer comforting. It wasn’t cool. It wasn’t gentle. It was black, and it was empty; but as black and empty as it was, at least it was not light.
Days passed, and she wandered in that emptiness––no longer lingering where day and night mixed. Her friends had been right; the sun had burned her, and from then on she would do her best to avoid it.

But one night, in a dark wood under a dark sky as she walked in silence, she saw a light. It was only a flicker, but it was odd, and it caught her eye.
The light was a candle. And beside the candle stood the boy. And inside the boy’s head was the truth that they had both been duped.
They felt pain, but they also felt love. That night, in a wooded clearing, beneath the flickering of a candle, day and night didn’t just harmonize. They melded.

There, the girl and the boy touched. There, they danced, at the faintest edge of shine and shadow. There, they were alone, yet not alone; for with them danced both the light and dark, yet where ever they stepped, they found none but each other.

Together, the girl and the boy changed. From then on, they were neither of darkness nor of light. They were of love. They were of each other. They did not live in separate worlds, but in one. Together they reveled in coolness and in heat. In gentle colors and in vivid ones. In shadows and in sunbeams. And, together, they were happy.

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