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'Outer glow'

Language > English
Type > Original fiction
Length > Short story
Notes > Michelle requested a follow-up to 'Inner glow', so here it is. Hope you like it darling :)
I think it's just long enough to qualify as a short story, and not just a short drabble-thing.


You’ve long since lost track of how long you’ve been walking, tracing back your steps, trying to find landmarks that you recognize, remember from long ago. There have been a couple, some shockingly – achingly – familiar, others nothing more than a vague memory from a distant past. Some even made you doubt whether you’d really seen them before, or if that was just your imagination. If maybe you’d just heard others talk about them without ever really having been there yourself.

It doesn’t really matter. Either way it means you’re on the right track. On the road back, though you’re not entirely sure back to what. Maybe it’s not even exactly back, but more like giving yourself a second chance. Back to where you went wrong, to try again from there.

You remember you branched off one day. The road in front of you split in two, and one path was clear, but vague, full of hurdles and obstacles and choices. It was bright, all right – but it was threatening too. The sun hung over it, but there was also a thick fog, a mist covering most of it so that you could never see very far ahead. The other road was ominous, shrouded in deep darkness. Maybe you couldn’t see ahead there either, but at least you knew what would be coming – more of the same black. There were fewer choices, fewer obstacles. It simply headed downwards, accelerating your step as you went, propelling you forward further and further down its path. It was easier. Joyless, yes – but easy. And you already felt so troubled and burdened. You were tired then, had been walking for god knows how long then too. You didn’t want more difficult choices, more high hurdles, more uncertainty and that frightening thing, possibility. You just wanted some peace, some ease. You knew that the darkness would probably be oppressing, but you were willing to take that, shoulder that weight.

You did for a long time.

But not anymore. You shook the weight and straightened yourself, dusted off the darkness and tried to cleanse yourself of it as much as you could. And then you travelled back. You have avoided the black path as much as you could, have seen glimpses of the clear one now and then, as you make your way through the gray no man’s land. It shimmers and blinks, turns to sepia now and then, but is otherwise mostly colourless. You are okay with that. Gray and sepia are better than black. You will get to the colours eventually.

But the darkness still threatens. You chose it then and it will not give you up so easily now. It quivers and shakes and reaches, and it hasn’t taken hold of you yet, but it might one day. So you hurry on back to where the one road became two and you made your last choice. You gather candles on your way and place them deep inside, but you know you cannot light them until you are back there. And if they aren’t lit, and the darkness swallows you, you will get lost again. You need their shine. You need to glow to light your own path.