Light

The house is dark and silent when you’re the only one in it. Your feet move slowly, leaden; the world has a weight it didn’t have before, it presses in on you. You go through the motions of eating, but food sits in your stomach like stones. You can’t sleep with the space in the bed next to you, and the dark lies on your eyelids. In the world outside you stand shadowed and cumbersome while the chatter of others lifts and darts, like fireflies. You were warned about grief, but you didn’t expect this – this dense, tangible creature with the heavy feet.

Every morning you stand on the balcony in the cold twilight of dawn, and watch for the sun to rise. But it never does.

One day it will. You will be surprised to hear the ponderous tread ring lighter through the house. The dark, alone at night, will gradually cease to press, and will embrace you softly as it used to.  You will move out of the shadows and your words will tentatively gleam and whirl.

One day you will stand on the balcony in the cold twilight of dawn, and the sun will flood the sky with light. Your heels will lift from the stone, and you will spread your arms and rise, like the bubble of the sun, into the golden air. You are as light as nothing: you ride on the wind that blows through you. You may never stop going up.

The Gloom of Righteousness

The pain was gone at last. The rest was is easy, just head into the light and ignore the distractions of the world. Silently John congratulated himself on preparing so well. Slowly, savouring the moment, he opened his eyes.

“After all”, he thought, “you only get to die once.”

The light, the glowing doorway to eternity, was before him. John felt the warm satisfaction of being right. Jackson might have got that corner office, the girl and the BMW but one day he’ll be sitting here and know John was wise to invest in the spiritual.

As his eyes adjusted he saw Master Sighn sitting on the dirty maroon floor. Dressed, as always, in simple black cotton he looked, as always, utterly serene.

John looked up sharply and spoke, “You taught me all about the light and a place of eternal gloom but you never mentioned a maroon carpet. So you don’t know everything after all.”

“Moron,” Master Sighn uttered impassively.

“I studied at your feet for seven years; paid good money to learn to die – and you ripped me off – any idiot can walk into the light.”

“You’re an idiot,” replied Sighn, “what are you waiting for?”

This reply, delivered with such disinterest, irritated John.

“Did you ever teach me anything useful?”

“It seems I never taught you anything.”

This time Sighn’s gentle tone really upset John who snapped, “Well I might have missed some lessons but I read the book and it didn’t mention any smoky, red office cubicles.”

John sat snarling and considered all he had sacrificed: the steak he resisted; the hours of Zazen practice, endless fees and classes and the hours of practising detachment. He always hated that stuff with a passion.

Master Singh sighed quietly. He stood slowly. He walked away into the light – closing the door behind him.

The Colour Light

There are only a few of us left now.  Huddled together in the soft yellow light – the safe light.  Safe from the dark spreading out before us.  We can all see it, standing in the yellow light looking out, the heavy dark.  With its secrets.   We can’t see them but we know they are out there… Just there.  Like the cold…  The cold rolls into the yellow light relentlessly.  You can lose your eyes against the dark but the cold shatters all illusion.  But we can also see… the white light.  We see it moving in the dark.  Near, far, nearer still – every time the white light comes close, touching the yellow light, there is a moment… Who is next?  Who will leave with the white light?  Me?  The cold, the dark, the white light that leaves you behind, the waiting… But we know there is only one end – the white light.  We all know the white light will come for us but which white light will take one of us away from the safe yellow light and into the dark?  The cold, heavy dark.  With its secrets.  A white light comes closer and I know it is for me.  But I am ready…

I leave the yellow light of the office doorway and cross the white light of the car headlights to the passenger door – my lift home has arrived on this cold winter night.

Follow

12
You arrive at a crossroads. Dark clouds gather overhead, casting deep shadows. A low mist rolls over the moors that surround you to the East, South and North. To the West, the road leads up to a wind-battered inn. A wisp of smoke escapes the chimney and swirls into the fog.
In the East, over the marshes, a faint light flickers.
To enter the inn, go to 207.
To follow the light, go to 91.

91
The path twists and winds, avoiding invisible dangers. The light shimmers, more distant now. You are too slow.
Return to the crossroads? Go to 56.
Try and go on? Go to 314.

314
An old man emerges from the darkness. He carries a misshapen bundle which twitches and cries anxiously. “Do not follow the light”, he says. “That way madness lies.”
To ask about the bundle, go to 67.
To find out more about the light, go to 3.
Ignore the man and resume your chase: go to 202.

202
You are alone in the dark. The light has faded into the gloom. It is too dark to turn back; you will have to make your camp here.
Go to 159.

159
Your sleep is feverish and cold, filled with nightmares.
Suddenly, there is warmth. You sense a blue glow around you. You do not open your eyes. A small, hot hand rests on your cheek for a moment. Your dreams light up with alien beauty you will never describe.
You wake up.
A flickering light is speeding away across the marshes.

To follow the light, go to 12.

[really should have thought of a title]

I wake up with my head pounding. My eyeballs feel like hard-boiled eggs.
The bridge of my nose is sore, like it’s been squashed in a tiny vice.
A nose vice. For squashing noses.
God, I need a coffee…

I open my eyes to darkness. That’s odd.
I’m not sure where I am. I’m not at home. Or crashing on someone’s couch.
I reach out in the darkness for a switch, a lamp, something, but there’s just the floor. It’s cold and smooth.

I hear scratching and scuttling from somewhere above me. And… to the left?
Like a metal chair being dragged roughly across a freshly polished metal floor.
Now I hear some kind of whirring and clicking.
A thin beam of light appears a few metres away from me, floor to ceiling.
I sit up and look around. Dammit, I can’t see anything except the beam. Stupid beam.
My head and the ceiling have a meeting – apparently it’s quite low – so I Quasimodo my way over towards the light.

I can’t tell if it’s coming from the ceiling or the floor.
I reach out to touch it – it’s hot like a black coffee from Starbucks on a frosty morning.
I sniff my fingertips; they smell like matches.

More clicks, and another beam appears to my side.
Then another few in quick succession, circling around me.
They’re close together; I can’t get between. More whirs from above, and the circle tightens a little.

“Good, you’re awake. We can resume testing.”
Oh, this doesn’t sound good.

Light

Hello all.
I am pleased to announce that ClubMicFic250’s inaugural theme is

Light

Light speed, light years, light as a feather, Coke light, traffic light, desk light, ultraviolet light…
I was very tempted to use Telepathy as the Theme, since that was the one we missed and that inspired us to do this thing, but in the end I decided an all new, shiny and fresh, one was the way to go.

As a handy helpful size guide, this post is 250 words. It’s not a lot, is it?
Please try and stick to the word limit – a handful of words either side is okay, but 100 words out (in either direction) will get a Glare. Maybe even a single raised eyebrow. You have been warned! WordPress has a built-in word count – handy.

The submission deadline is

midnight on Sunday 13th June 2010.

No late entries allowed: Glare, eyebrow, etc.

Please add your submissions as Posts in the

Light – 31/05/2010 to 13/06/2010

sub-category.

I realise that not everyone is familiar with RSS feeds, so I’ve added a Subscribe Via Email thingy in the footer. Most updates, announcements, etc. will be done on this blog device, so please make sure that you’re subscribed to it somehow. Thank you!

I am very excited and looking forward to reading everyone’s entries. Yay!
Once this first one is out of the way, we can start discussing if and how we want to change the system – more words, less words, my side, your side, shorter time, longer time, etc.

Some Thoughts

  • Seems you want Themes for theme announcements but we need a place suggest theme ideas from which someone can select (after all do we really want ‘Space Cheese’ to disappear into oblivion … well actually…) like ThemeIdea category perhaps? Or just use General for this?
  • How do we all feel about others joining in – my vote is the more the happier – and can offhand think of 3 people who might want to play. (Did anyone invite egadfly?)
  • Can we get RSS feeds by category (like only submissions) somewhere?

Very excited about starting…

We all missed it, so let’s do our own.

Despite good intentions from all sides, it seems like we all missed the deadline for the micro-fiction compo that I sent around a few weeks ago. Oops!

Bursts

I like the idea of frequent, short, bursts of creativity and a continuing Micro Fiction mini-competition thing with people I like seems like one ace way to do that. Also, I’d like to get (a lot!) better at writing.

So: here are some first thoughts on how it’s going to work.

General stuff like this should go in the General category.

Themes

Choice of theme will rotate around the group. The chooser will have one week to think of something, and it should probably be one word. Like “cheese.” “Space cheese” would also be acceptable.

Theme announcements should be posted in the Theme category.

Submissions

These will run on a two week cycle.  I’ll announce the first one on Monday 31/05/2010 and submissions must be in by midnight on Sunday 13/06/2010. We’ll start with a 250 word limit and see how that goes. The time and word limits might be changed – we’ll see how we do!

Submissions should go in a sub-category of Submissions, and should be of the form Theme date start to date finish. You’ll see my example for the first one shortly.

Feedback

Part of the process will be improving our writing, so there are also three categories of feedback that you should mark you submission as, depending on what you want. See descriptions below – match your feeling to the category.

  • “La la la, not listening!”  – add your submission to the No feedback category
  • “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” – add your submission to the Gentle feedback category
  • “Tell it like it is. I can take it!” – add your submission to the Constructive criticism category

I’m going to start with Gentle feedback until I feel like I’m getting okay at this writing thing :).

Changes

Right, that’s it for now.

Now I’ll start sending out the invite wotsits and making sure everyone can log on and post stuff, etc.

Any ideas for improvements / changes, either pop a post here or email around.

Very exciting times!