By Caleb Kelly
I could see nothing. Even my hands when I held them up to my face they were invisible, as the rest of the void. I tried to think about where I had come from, and how long I had been floating in the void. But all I could remember from the past as the last thing I had done was going to bed. Did that mean this was only a dream? I looked around me again. The darkness seemed too complete to have been created by my mind. And in addition to that, I seemed to have freedom of thought; I had realized that it might have been a dream, which meant it was, by all chances, not one. I wondered where I might be.
Around me was only darkness, the complete and utter absence of light. But then in my field of vision, a small dot of something lighter than the rest of the abyss appeared and grew larger. I wondered whether I was coming closer to it or it to me. It continued growing until it was the size of a quarter, then to that of a car tire. It steadily became larger. Soon it filled half of what I could see in my vision. I (or it) stopped moving closer to the other. I stood on the edge of the lighter; it was below me while the pure black, darker than any night sky on our world, covered the space above my head.
I gazed to and fro, searching without finding any source of greater light, a cabin or house so I could get out of this strange place (I supposed that I was lost in a woods of a sort). But nothing met my eyes, wait! There, I could see the mark of light away in the distance. I ran toward it (though I didn’t seem to be on any ground) but just as I thought I would never reach it, it appeared directly before me. But it wasn’t the light of a house that I saw. It instead seemed to a light light only. As far as I could see, it had no source. The light was about the size of I, the shape like that of a man. I looked around the light and dark for anything else, but this appeared to be the only light.
At a loss what to do next with no exit from this realm of darkness, I looked down at my feet. It is then I noticed that beneath my feet was not land on which I could walk, but water. I was standing on water. Filled now with the fear of sinking, I cast my gaze around for land of any kind. But unlike even my search for light, where I found not quite what I was looking for, there was nothing in sight. But despite my fears, I did not began sinking immediately, rather standing as before on the water’s surface. Though I disliked it much, I tried to ignore the water beneath my bare feet and focus on something else.
The light, I decided, would be a good distraction. It seemed, as I stepped on tip-toes closer to it. But it was to me now the same as it was then: a light without source, hovering over the water which cast a reflection in almost perfect clarity.
Already bored with the light and its sameness, I turned away and listened for any sounds on this plain of water as far (which was not very) as I could see. Silence reached my ears. Silence unlike anything I had ever heard in my hometown in England, where the nights were quiet but not like this. The streams around the village were always noisy, the water splashing as it went downhill. But wherever this was, the water didn’t flow anywhere. It stayed in the same spot and had not the gurgle as any stream or river on Earth. And the nights always had stars and occasionally the Moon back on Earth. Here, nothing, nothing.
Terror suddenly overwhelmed me. What if I never made it back? What if I was stuck in this world forever, without anyone knowing where I was? Lost forever in the dark, lost without a place to go.
A sound, seeming to be a voice, but different than human voices, suddenly and seeming to emanate from everywhere at once, scaring me out my despairing thoughts. Its sound resounded and echoed across the water.
“Let there be light,” the voice said.
So simple, so fundamental, and yet exactly as the voice said or asked, light illuminated the water, revealing a sea of crystalline quality. I, astonished to see the light come with but a word, as though asking someone to turn on a light switch or light a match, but of a hundred times larger.
Little did I know that the darkness of which I had been a part had been affecting my mood, sending me more often to the negative side of thing than not. The low light that filled the world changed my set of mind entirely. I was overjoyed and was excited to see my own hands before my face. The change from dark to light, the memory of such event from despair to gladness, stayed with me the remainder of my life.
Looking around my surroundings in (literally) new light, I saw that the light I had seen was the same as before, and I almost dismissed it in favor of scavenging the far horizon for land, but I stopped myself about to walk away and turned back around to the light. Something, some part of me, wanted me to watch the light, to look closely at it. So I did. And as soon as I peered closely at the light, my eyes watering against it, I saw something I and not before.
Amidst the light, which I had noted before was the size and shape of a man, was a man. Or at least he looked like a man. And as soon as I had made this astonishing discovery, the light dimmed and I could see the man as if we were in a well-lit room.
I thought that perhaps, this man is in the same problem as I. Perhaps He, too, is lost in this world as I am. But only by looking at Him, I could see the folly in this. This man, for reasons I could not explain and cannot explain now, was not to be classified as a mere “man”. He wore a white robe that trailed in the water as He walked. Around the robe He wore a sash that looked like it had been sewed out of gold thread. His hair was white, whiter than anything could ever be on Earth. But His eyes were the most stunning of all. Where the pupil would be there was fire, like a great inferno of a fireplace or in a fire pit. Fire that was contained but only barely. I was able only to look for a moment, they were so fierce.
He regarded me for just a minute, but under the stare of those eyes, it felt like eternity. Eventually, He turned away, but beckoned me closer. I felt content to stay near Him, but not at His back.
Taking a few steps forward, the water leaving ripples where He stepped, He held out His hands and again I heard the sound from before, not a voice and yet forming words. I could now see that the words came from the Spirit (for I know not what better to call Him). He said,
“The light now present in the world is good, however let the light of this new dawn last not till the end. Let it slowly fade back to the night from whence it came, only to lighten again when the time comes; an ongoing cycle of dark and light in a constant reminder of how this world came into the light from the dark.”
I waited for the light to fall away again suddenly, as it had before, though I did not look forward to the darkness that would return when it did. The light just glowed dimly from all around, as bright as it had ever appeared to be. The lack of activity bored me. I was expecting this Spirit to show His power and change the light at a moment’s notice. Time passed without my recognizing of it. I found I could sit on the water just as I could stand, which was something my legs were delighted to do. I sat and watched water below me in the light. I realized that the water beneath me was darker than I was certain it had been when the light had appeared in the world. I supposed the difference was only my eyes as I had been awake for some time and had experienced quite an emotional shock. To put it simply, I was tired. But when I glanced up at the luminous figure standing still next to me, He was in stark contrast to the darkening sky. I stood up quickly. There was no mistaking it now. The light was nearly gone from the expanse above. It was now a hazy gray, while before it was brighter white. And in a moment more, it was gone and the complete black of night returned to claim its own.
The time I spent in the pale light, but light nonetheless, seemed mere seconds compared to the decades of time in the dark. I huddled, my knees up to my chin, rocking back and forth in the night. The only thing that kept me going was the thought that the sun (out of habit I switched to the familiar form of light from our world) would return, that I wouldn’t again be lost in the dark. The Spirit remained without any motion in edges of my vision. I waited for the light. Bleak blackness was all there was, or ever was seemed to me. I waited longer. Nothing. I began to think that I had perhaps I made the whole existence of the luminous sky up. In my state of madness, I had created a “light” to find solace in this dark place total despair.
I had given up the hope of ever seeing the lovely light again, of ever seeing my hands or anything for that matter again when I suddenly saw a pale gray penetrating the blackness all around. At first I immediately became ecstatic. There was light! But a small part of me, the only that was still sane, thought that with utter lack of light, my very thoughts were appearing visible in my eyes. I tried closing them, turning around, and both at once. But no matter what I did, whenever I looked toward the far waters, I saw the black turning over to gray. It happened in minuscule amounts at a time, but always continuous. So then quite slowly, the light around me rose to what it had been before the sky had darkened.
The Joy of seeing it and everything else again overwhelmed me so and though I did not wish it, I sank down in exhaustion onto my back, having lost control of my legs and knees. I saw through my blurring vision the Spirit stepping to me across the waters. I closed my eyes to rest and felt something on my chest, as though light could touch, much like the warm feel of the sun against your skin, but greater, almost more dangerous. It crept up my chest and around my back. It followed my spine to my neck and filled my head. My thoughts were renewed. I felt strength refilling in my arms and legs. My eyelids snapped open and I sat up. The Spirit was crouched beside me, His left hand resting gently on my chest where I first felt and still felt the sun-like caress. When He saw me sitting up, His hand was pulled back to His side and the Feeling ceased. But its power did wonders to my body. I felt like I could run a marathon, even though I had never ran besides in childhood games in my life.
I attempted to speak, to ask what that feeling had been and where it had come from (I guessed His Hand, which He had been resting on me but wasn’t certain). My tongue, however, seemed appalled as the rest of my body must have felt and couldn’t seem to form words.
“I-uh-” The Spirit looked straight at me with His eyes of fire. “Thank you,” I got out, gathering my courage and looking Him in the face and the fire of His eyes.
He said nothing, merely standing to His feet and walking in long but spaced strides away from me. I watched as His back slowly receded from me. I got up unsteadily from the water over which I floated by inches, but fell back down in a sitting position. From there pondered what I could do next. I still had energy flowing through me. Perhaps I could run in one direction on the off chance I might encounter some form of civilization and sanity. But the Spirit turned toward me from a few paces ahead. He cocked His head ever so slightly to the side, as though He was listening to something for a moment. With what He said next, I can only guess what He had heard. But to me then, He appeared to have read my mind as I considered leaving.
“Come,” The Spirit before me said, motioning for me to follow Him, “Come.”
Did I want to follow this Spirit to wherever He might go? Or did I want to follow my own mind and ideas to save myself. My mind was split evenly down the middle, one half to follow this Man, the other to put my own needs first. I looked at the Spirit standing there, waiting for my answer. He turned away and continue walking toward whatever His goal may be.
I stood up, pushing with my hands off whatever hard surface I walked on, and fell in step behind, to wherever the Spirit might lead me.