Light and shadows
The door thudded closed behind her as she entered the large, dimly lit storage space. Empty but for one large crate or box in the center of the floor, there was an eerie feeling about the place which made her shiver.
Approaching the large crate, which was around a meter and a half on each dimension of the cube, she walked around it, inspecting it, as she did every time she visited. In the dead silence of the place, the hollow sound from her shoes echoed with each step.
The cold iron crate was strongly secured, with steel bands reinforcing each joining, and wrapped in heavy chains fastening it to the floor. On the front hung a huge lock, looping through links in the chain as well as through the hasp of a latch holding the lid down.
She shouldn’t have come. She knew better than to come here, especially when she was upset or angry. She wasn’t even sure how she got here. Each time she found herself here, she stood outside the door to this place, not knowing how she’d arrived. And each time, she felt the pull, the tantalizing temptation to open the box and experience what was inside.
There wasn’t much to see, to be honest. It could have been any large metal shipping container stored here and awaiting delivery. But that was if she were only looking with her eyes. When she opened her inner vision, the box pulsed with energy which called to her for release.
Tiny tendrils of energy found their way through minute cracks around the edges of the box and teased her senses, as if hoping to convince her to relent this time and set them free. So much energy trapped inside, ready to do her bidding, if she would only open the box and let it out into the universe one more time.
Somehow, she had moved closer to the box, close enough to press her palms against its cold exterior. The tingling in her hands urged her closer still until she leaned against it, eyes closed in order to hear every faint whisper from inside.
The longer she stood there, the stronger the temptation grew to use her key to open the lock and throw wide the lid. Hanging around her neck on a chain, the key lay heavily on her chest, under her blouse, where she could easily remove it.
The voices grew louder, promising all manner of things if they could just leave their prison. She knew they could deliver on those promises. They offered to avenge her for all the wrongs done to her and her family through the years, avenge the humiliation of those openly laughing at her as she trudged through the village.
The power they offered would let her take revenge on all those who had hurt her and make sure it never happened again. And when her vengeance had been satisfied, she could use the power for good, to help those in need.
Wouldn’t that be lovely? Think of all the people she could aid with the power she could possess if she would only open the box and accept this gift.
The tendrils grew stronger as the voices grew louder, crooning their assurances directly into her mind. As she listened, the key began to tingle in resonance to the heartbeat of the energy leaking from the box, adding to the urging from within.
But somewhere, deep down in her mind, there was another voice, the voice of reason. It told her the voices in the box weren’t to be trusted. And while she knew it was right, she really wanted to experience the power she could unleash on the world.
Images formed of her standing against all her enemies and blotting them out in seconds with the power she had to hand. It was intoxicating. No one would dare make fun of her again, push her down into the mud, or deny her a lift in a cab, or refuse her a room because she wasn’t good enough. Never again would she feel that kind of embarrassment.
But still she hesitated.
Yes, she wanted very much to lash out at those who had said she was a nobody and would never amount to anything. She would show them. All she had to do was take the key...
With great effort, she opened her eyes and forced her hands away from the box. The tendrils resisted as she drew away from them,willing her feet to step back and away from the box. An even greater effort was required to close her inner eye and still the voices.
Soon, shaky and slightly ill, she was once more in a dim store room looking at a rather pathetic looking bound shipping crate. Reaching for the strength to leave the place, she made her way out to the door, pushed it open and stepped into a dim corridor. Turning to her left, she followed the corridor to a set of stairs.
Exhausted as if she had been running, her legs shook as she counted up the stairs, from one to fifteen. At the top was another door which opened out into a more brightly lit hallway.
One more step and she was out of the stairwell, walking between the dining room and kitchen of a cottage toward a small sitting area. The sofa there was comfortable, she knew from experience, and she dropped heavily onto it, letting her eyes close while she recovered.
Soon she felt more rested and began counting from ten up to one, and after another brief moment, counted all the way back to consciousness, emerging from her altered state into the mundane world of her own home.
Yes, she could always find her way home from the box, even if she didn’t know how she ended up there. And so far she had resisted the temptation to take what it offered. For what it offered was real enough. But she knew that once she accepted that offer she would never use it for the good she could do.
The box held all her darkest secrets and desires, her inner demons, which she had locked away in the deepest, darkest corner of her mind where they could never again see the light of day. For if they got out, they could never be locked away again. They would not only destroy her, but everything and every one she loved.
Time to shake it off and get in touch with nature. Rising from her overstuffed chair, she put on her shoes, grabbed a walking stick, and stepped through her front door and into the sunshine. Just down the drive, a lane turned down into a little dell between fields and the forest.
Once she'd turned onto the lane, a cat joined her, rubbed around her ankle once or twice, and then led the way. Bright sunshine shone on the fields to her right, while the darkness of the forest beckoned from her left. The cat was happily tiptoeing down the center of the lane, at one time in the sun, other times in the shade of the trees.
The two of the followed a path of shifting mosaics, sunlight and shadows, the interplay between the sunshine and the trees overhead. This was where she was most comfortable. Not fully in the dark, but not quite in the light either.
Such a fitting reminder of life’s journey. Maybe what they said was true. One cannot appreciate the light without the darkness.
But one should always remember that in the struggle between light and darkness, light must always retain the upper hand.
About the author
Wife, mother, animal lover, musician, martial artist, writer of fantasy romance with a touch of magic, with seven books up on Amazon. I do a little bit of everything these days. The cat approves.