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No Light
No Light
★★★★★

© Akshata Vagarali

Children Stories Fantasy

7 Minutes   570    21


Content Ranking

“Any words of advice?” she asks me.

“There might be some if you sit and have coffee with me,” I say, seeing an opportunity.

“Sure, then. Advice coming from you is as precious as plutonium,” she replies and leads me inside the coffee shop we were already in front of.

“So what is it?” she demands.

“Make sure that there is light within your reach.”

“Excuse me?”

“When it gets too dark for your mortal eyes to see, make sure that you can summon the power to deflect the attention of it.

When your vulnerability is exposed and your strength is lost due to the power of the Night, make sure that you needn’t look far for rescue.

You might say that only figments of an imaginative child are what prowl the obsidian, that only tales and stories are what plague the night.

You think the danger phantasmagoric and vulnerability incorporeal.

You think that the sullen face of the lost and the burnt hair of the vengeful are just parables to discipline a naughty child, that their lulling voices and pale tint, empty eyes and cold feel, reedy form and broken nails, are but nothing.

I think not.

How do you explain the sudden quickening of your heartbeat, that feeling you get which makes you think your chest too confining for the wild and untamed movement of your heart, when you glimpse upon that very terror you proclaimed vacuous? Why do your hackles rise and your limbs refuse motion and your mouth goes dry and your spine tingle when that insignificant juvenile phobia stands incarnated in front of you? Why does your brain simply refuse to help you when those silly monsters from those silly movies appear to you, all of a sudden?

A part of our brain called hypothalamus releases a chemical, as you may know, called adrenaline due to a reflex called the fight or flight reaction.

Which makes the aforementioned affects, a natural reaction, as adrenaline is what makes our heart beat faster as it increases the blood pressure. Adrenaline in huge amounts is what paralyses you. Adrenaline is why you experience dryness in your mouth.

Even your brain knows that those ghostly, sullen creatures, with tarnished bodies and spirits, need to be feared. An ancient part of you knows that those creatures are nothing to be messed with.

But why?

A talking bunny, a figment of a child’s imagination as well, animation does not make our hearts race and breaths short, even though it is as foreign as an eidolon. A talking bunny doesn’t horrify you terribly. Your psyche doesn’t fear a talking bunny, does it?

Then why does it know to consider a ghost or demon danger?

Is it because on some subconscious level, you know that it exists?

Or is it because that fear is something you unknowingly inherited from your ancestors due to their own wisdom and caution?

Is it that some primal, animal, part of you is completely aware of an existence so excruciating and horrible, that you can’t possibly survive it?

Or is it because, due to past warnings from past parents to past children, your brain has just made sure to make that warning a habit?

How else can you explain the sensation of utter malice you feel in that instance when that demon faces you, even only from a screen, even when you know that a safe distance lies between you and it?

How can those cursed horrors not exist?

Suppose you're walking down a street at night, thinking about how soft and warm your bed must be, shrinking into your coat for protection against the creeping chill, sulking after a long day of hard work, and you finally reach your doorstep. You open the door not so inconspicuously. You let yourself in, turn on the lights, as soon as you can, to chase away the darkness.

You shrug off your coat, put down your keys and wonder how you got here.

You give dinner a hard pass due to exhaustion and make your way to your room.

You change into your pajamas and turn off the lights, unaware.

You get into your bed, a good ten feet away from the light switch, and pull the covers up to your chin, your mind, by this point, too exhausted to conjure thoughts.

You fall asleep curled up on your side, dreaming of whatever brings you pleasure.

Only to be woken up by a dull banging on your window.

‘Who is that?’ you call out, slowly rousing, your mind only minutely alarmed.

In vain it was, you realize. It did not answer.

You get up to go check on your window, stupidly, without bathing the room in light first.

You reach the lone window. The banging stops.

You open it. You peer out.

No moon. No stars. No light. No help.

You hear banging. You realize it was never coming from the window.

You shut your window. The banging stops. A dull thud you hear.

For a moment you wonder if you are imagining all of this.

But you are not.

You turn around. It is completely dark. You can’t see.

‘Who-who is it?’ you call out, your voice stuttering and trembling due to your fear.

It never comes from a window, you don’t realize. It always comes through a mirror.

Those dark tales of horror, told to you by your elder brother around a campfire in the woods, just to make you piss your pants, come to you. Those horrible images of ghosts and demons from horror movies, seen as a dare by your best friend who called you a wimp, come to you. All of it comes to you. Except one thing.

You feel stupid for fearing this. But it is only human to do so.

You hear glass shatter. From where your mirror should be.

Of course, the banging was coming from the mirror, you now realize, a little too late. And now, it will come from the mirror too.

Mirrors are portals to other worlds, they claim.

Now, when this knowledge hits you, you stand there, petrified.

No way out.

And because of the stygian tenebrosity of your room, you can’t even see the face of your own ruin. It wouldn’t be able to hurt you, if you could. Its caliginous and darksome demesne isn’t ray less for no reason.

What you don’t realize is that your strongest weapon is light. light is their asthenia. Light is their undoing.

But you don’t realize that.

So, when I say, make sure that there is light within your reach, I mean it. How else will you be safe at night?

You can’t fight it. You can’t ridicule it. You can’t defeat it. You can only hope to avoid it,” I finish.

She looks at me quizzically, wondering if I'm crazy, for sure.

“Um, ok. That’s…..something else,” she says, sipping the coffee she had ordered.

“If you don’t believe what I've said, don’t apply what I've said, well, then, you will know soon enough,” I reply. My own attitude when I heard this tale from someone else had been similar.

“What do you mean I’ll know soon enough?” she asks.

I give her a sad smile.

“I was cursed with the same tale by someone else. I have been plagued ever since. The curser took mercy on me and told me how I could get rid of this curse. And I am feeling merciful as well. The only way you can get rid of the curse is if you pass it onto someone else. Share the exact same tale with someone else and it goes to them.

I'm sorry. There was no other way I could escape. You knowing will attract its attention. Now it will come to you instead of me. I'm sorry,” I say to her.

She looks stricken.

“You asked for advice, right? So here it is: make sure that there is light within your reach,” I say to her and get up.

I walk out of the café without a backward glance.

You must understand why I did this. It was horrible, living in constant fear of it.

You will soon too. You read this too didn’t you?

So the only way to get out of this sane is if you show this to someone else.

You believe me, right?

So, take care. And remember: light is their undoing.

mirror curse light

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