The Night

January 12, 2011
The glowing symbols on the otherworldly device in front of me metamorphose once again. The squiggles and half- triangles and loops disappear, replaced with a more familiar, sophisticated set of three circles, the first made of two stacked atop each other, resembling a snowman. My cue. I stiffen and straiten up. Any moment now she’ll enter, and another hard night of my crucial labor will begin.
The rose- colored door complains as it is swings open, for it is old and arthritic, subject to back pains and sore hinges. A blinding light shoots into the small fortress, as if it has been lying in ambush for a long time, waiting to strike. Then the Queen strides into the room, formal and strong, her right hand holding the abnormally sized paw of her body guard, a huge grizzly bear that has been my rival ever since I had been hired. He glares and growls softly, and I fire my most evil, red eyed glare towards him, pretending that my eyes are lasers and I can cut through his thick coat of glossy brown fur.
I attempt to nod my head respectfully as Her Majesty parades past my station, but my body is strait and hard as a nail, the only disadvantage of my prestigious position. I wait for the moment she will reach down and tap me, my signal to begin. I will proudly breath out the hottest, brightest flame I can manage, battling shadows and the sinister shroud of darkness. My entire night will be spent defending the honor of light, stopping monsters and other ill- boding, injurious, black- hearted creatures that may dare venture into this territory.
But no tap comes. I feel nothing. I glance up to notice that the Queen is arranging her guard- bear atop her bed, before she even gives the order for me to start. She must have forgotten, I think, but for the good of this kingdom, I must still prevail.
I try to start my fire by myself, but I can’t. It’s impossible.
Her Royal Highness turns towards me and reaches my position in three quick steps, then, with a sad look in her eyes, wraps her entire hand around my tiny self. In a moment of panic I realize that I am being disconnected from my power source, where I have stood for years. With a regretful sigh, the five- year- old girl reluctantly tosses me into the trashcan.
“I’m too old for nightlights.”





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