A childhood reflection

Light can squeeze through a gap thinner than the hair of a spider’s leg yet it can also expand to fill an almost limitless space. Despite a pretence of transparency light is just as likely to reveal as conceal. Its business is it’s own and mischievous; while you could swear it originates from a particular source, due to complications of geometry and nature, reflection can make it appear to originate somewhere else entirely.

It’s universally true that light cannot be trapped, beguiled or depleted and yet light depends for its very existence upon darkness. In fact, it’s impossible for one to exist in the absence of the other. It is also true that light’s crystal energy can penetrate a space within any human being that should have remained forever dark, a secret place where demons live and wake them.

The boy sniggered because he knew where his demons lived and one day, one night, he would trap them in their beds and bury them under shovelfuls of tar, cut out their needling terror so it would never, ever be his turn again no matter how much of a good boy he had been, how deserving of their heaving, cigarette stinking, sweaty favour.

Oh yes, he knew where they lived alright. He knew all of them and spoke the names aloud, one by one: Mr Hacket, Mr Hargreaves, Mr Lambton . . . they didn’t walk abroad, they didn’t go forth and make a name, lay claim to their place in the world as they were keen to preach, no, they hoisted their wrinkled maturity, their smug authority to strip a boys body and soul and take whatever they wanted.

These men slithered in dark places sucking up the fungus of a child’s credulousness, the rotting mush of naiveté all the while concealing their malevolent intent behind breezy smiles and cajoling encouragement – how brave to take that catch! Praise, which stung like a whiptail when the truth was out, oozing from pitch black shadows into which their cruel nature drew them.

But he knew they were at their most sinister, their most dangerous in daylight, among people, out in the open. For in the light they consummated the dark art of manipulation – the light concealed cancer aimed with infinite patience to enter the chosen boy drawing him, willingly at first, to the succour of a tweedy breast. How they cared, really cared, with practised knowing and rehearsed wisdom, sharing the pain of childish isolation. The horror of abandonment. Turning love to hate.

Once inside their heads, it was mere slight of hand to be inside their bodies.

>Extract from: Tick Tock by Rod McRiven<

© Rod McRiven 2017

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