Light can squeeze through a gap thinner than the hair of a spider’s leg, yet it also expands to fill an almost limitless space.
Don’t be fooled, despite the pretense of transparency, light is just as likely to reveal as conceal. Its properties are unique to itself and although everyone will agree, Light is Good, I have to say that it can also be mischievous. You could swear that a beam or a sparkle originates from a particular source, but due to complications of geometry and nature, the phenomenon of reflection makes it appear to originate from somewhere else entirely. Light is complicit in the illusion.
Light cannot be trapped, depleted or charmed. It is universal and yet light depends for its very existence upon darkness. It is impossible for day to exist in the absence of night.
It is also true that a kind of light, a manifestation of it’s clarity, can penetrate a human soul and sniff out a space within that should remain forever dark, ambiguous and indistinct. A secret place where demons live.
Beneath the blankets of his dormitory bed, a ten year old boy shivers and sniggers to himself because he knows only too well where his demon dwells. He visits that place within every minute of every day, but never shares his knowledge. The demon’s secret is also his secret because there will be dire consequences if he tells. His life will not be worth living and anyway, no-one will believe a snotty child whose parents never visit. Why should they care? They have far more important things to do.
His demon doesn’t walk in the footsteps of greatness with the notable alumni of the school. It doesn’t go forth and make its name or fortune in the world, as it religiously preaches. No, instead it hoists its stinking, wrinkled maturity and inveigles its conceited authority to strip a boy naked, maul his shivering skin, crank his pre-pubescent cock and take whatever it wants. But, one day, one night, the boy is certain he will trap the demon in its sweat-soaked bed and suffocate it. He will terminate its wheedling seduction so it will never again be his turn. No matter how much he deserves its heaving, cigarette stinking, favour. He will never be its “good boy” again.
The memory is clear and bright, as if it were yesterday. That man, that demon, even in broad daylight, is cloaked in poisonous mist. He slithers amongst gutter filth sucking at the fungus of a child’s credulity, the rotting mush of naiveté, all the while concealing his malevolent practices behind breezy smiles and cajoling bon ami – “How brave to take that catch!” “How smart you look today young man.” Praise, which still stings like a whip-tail.
The demon was at his most sinister in daylight, among people, out in bright spaces. For in the light he consummated the dark art of manipulation. With infinite patience he selected his boy and like a cancer, entered him, infected him with his friendship, his compassionate ear, his genial advice, drawing him, willingly at first, to the succour of his tweedy breast. How he cared, really cared with practised understanding and rehearsed wisdom, sharing the pain of a child’s isolation. The horror of abandonment. He turned love into hate.
And once inside the boy’s head, it was a slight of hand to be inside his body.
© Rod McRiven 2017
Photograph: Manga Verde