December 1, 2010
By JustinSteckman BRONZE, Peoria, Arizona
JustinSteckman BRONZE, Peoria, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

As he sat in his room on that chilly winter evening, he realized that he had never felt more alone. The impressionable young man was perched at his desk, frantically searching for the truth. The only light in the dimly lit room was a candle. The light that it provided flickered as the gusts of cold, winter air blew in from the open window. As the air rushed in, the blood red drapes waved around violently. He seemed to be oblivious to what was around him. All he was focused on was what he held in his hands. He thumbed through the yellowed pages, reading every word. As he read through the words on each page, he would stop, if only for a mere second, and allow the words to soak in, to decide whether or not he believed them. His eyes no longer contained the youthful soul that they once had. They were once the same vibrant green of the fresh cut grass on a summer’s morning. They had since faded into deep, dark, pools of emptiness; devoid of all life.
The large bags underneath his eyes spoke of the many restless nights he had faced. His heart had been hardened over the years by all of the lies and hypocrisy he had to deal with on a daily basis. He continued to flip through the pages of the book, yearning for the overwhelming sense of warmth and affection he once had felt. He longed to be a child once again, before he had responsibilities and beliefs. Life just seemed much simpler back then. He longed for his mother’s arms. He longed for the innocence he once had. The innocence he had lost long ago.
He began to shiver. He rose up from his seat and closed the window. As soon as he did this, the candle that had been flickering burned out and he was enveloped in complete, utter darkness. He fumbled around in the black until he found another candle. He discarded the burned out candle and replaced it with the fresh one. He then pulled the matchbook from his pocket and with much skill, lit the match. The fire danced in front of his eyes as he slowly drew his hand closer to the candle. The bright shades of red and orange almost taunted him. He silently watched the flame wave about as he desired to be free once again. With the candle reignited, he sat down and picked up the book to begin reading. He started gingerly turning through the yellow pages, which were wrinkled with age. With the window closed, the air in the room was stagnant.
The young fellow set his book down for a moment. Once he did this he began to reminisce about a time when things were much easier. Back when life was fun to live, not when it was some arduous task he dreaded going through on a day to day basis. At that moment, he was overcome with an uncontrollable anger. Inside his head he screamed things like, “Why does this work for other people?” or, “Why don’t you ever answer me?” He had had enough of the book for the night. Frustrated, he slammed the text shut and placed it back into its mahogany case with the intricate carving on it.
He sat there in silence staring at the case that contained the book. Blankly, he gazed at the carving of the cross on the cover. He then said to himself, “Why is it that this symbol brings so much joy and peace to other people? So far all that it has brought me is pain and suffering. Choosing to stop blindly accepting what everyone else does has made me a social pariah. I long to understand why it is so easy for other people to accept what is written in those pages, but I cannot.”
He then got into his bed, blew out his candle and closed his eyes. Hours later he opened his eyes. He had not slept. He lit the candle once more and retrieved the case from under his bed. He sat there and glared at the book. Never before had his patience and willpower been tested like this; it frightened him. He opened the book and continued to read where he had left off. The more he read, the more questions that were left unanswered. Eventually he grew tired of his anger, and it melted away into sadness.
The candlelight grew dimmer as the faded white wax continued to melt into the base of the candle holder. Eventually he was weary of being so upset all of the time and he cried out, “I am tired of living this way. I am sick of the sadness and anger. I know I have so many unanswered questions. But that is okay. I do not need to know all of the answers. All I know is that I want to believe and that is enough.”
The candlelight caused the shadows in the room to dance. As the young man looked around, his sadness faded away slowly. Soon he was at peace, for the first time in as long as he could remember. His eyes seemed to glimmer in the dimly lit room. He smiled from ear to ear, a smile so bright that the flame atop the candle paled in comparison. It had taken him many years, but he finally understood why so many people before him made this choice. Satisfied with his decision, he carefully placed the precious book back in the hand carved wooden case with the cross engraved on the front. He then proceeded to crawl back into his warm bed and blow out the candle. With that, he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep with a smile on his face. Never in such a long time had he been able to drift to sleep so quickly and peacefully.

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This article has 5 comments.

Your Mom said...
on Dec. 10 2010 at 10:43 am
Justin, I am so proud of you!  You know I love reading your work & now you know other people do too!  Keep it up!

Papa said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 8:33 pm

Justin, this is fabulous.  Your diction, syntax, and imagery is what every seasoned author strives for, many without sucess.  Never mind the law, keep writing, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams!  Go Boy. 


Kezi2002 said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 8:08 pm

on Dec. 9 2010 at 7:41 pm
JustinSteckman BRONZE, Peoria, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
Thank you! Your feedback is much appreciated.

FictionGuy said...
on Dec. 9 2010 at 7:30 pm
Very well written story!


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