Short Story: Walking In The Dark

The beautiful thing about walking in the dark, is that you never quite know where you are going. Oh, I suppose technically we might have a vagueish idea, but because we can’t see very far ahead, it’s essentially a journey of faith, every time. Have you ever wondered what happens to those bits of the world that you can’t see? What do they get up to, unobserved in dim starlight?

Well, wonder no more, because we’re going to go for a stroll.

The first place we’ll go is a walking track, deep in the rainforest. Moonshine doesn’t reach all the way down here, except on the fullest nights of the month. On a cloudy night, it barely matters where you are along the path, because all you can feel are the plants breathing on you, their rotten leaves crushed underfoot, gases rising to enfold you in a warm and damp cocoon. Around you, the ferns and beech start dancing, the shush-shush of the wind making them waltz and minuet almost on top of you. That’s how confident they are that they are unobserved, that they will roll their roots right up to your knees, trapping you and snapping you back to a moment more than a million years ago – when the trees were dancing to the same music, athough the lyrics are now perhaps more mournful. So many of their brethren sliced and diced up cruelly, can we blame them for wanting to smother us? Truly?

After our rainforesty, motherly adventure, it’s the deep Sahara we must now search for treasure. A cave in the sands rises up to blot out the sky, but it’s entrance is hidden. Only those who know the codeword can into it’s hidden depths descend, and we sit there and wait. Poised at the doorway to Nirvana and oblivious to the growing despair in me, you’ll sit there and try over and over to ‘open sesame’. But just at the moment where you’re about to go within, the sun will rise and shine over the sand, creating dusky shadows as the cave vanishes for another year. You are cuckolded by dawn’s too swift embrace, and no longer can things go bump in the night.

No walk at night would be complete, without last venturing to that last bastion of quiet, the icy snowy world of Aurora Borealis. There things don’t exactly move so much as slip into the stream, hazing and fading out of the corner of your eyes. Even though you know things aren’t exactly as they seem, when you look back did that tree really move? Or was it all a dream? Bringing hope to the unguided the rainbow lights will guide your path, but not everything they show you is helpful or true. They will deliver you to the destinations that they want you to reach, not you. Oh, sometimes your wishes are taken into account. Occasionally, a small bit of alignment will mean that you get what you think you want. No matter what, though, the lights will always lead you to what you need.

So I suppose they led you to me, dear reader! That’s how we met, after all. In a world of darkness, where we never really know what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s very lucky that your little candle of truth and light found mine. I for one, am very glad to be travelling these strange and unknown paths with you. We can see each other, after all, faces lit up with a round little glow that evaporates in highlighted hair. Even as the world swirls around and below us, we’ll look in each other’s eyes, find the life there and realise that it matters not what things are doing, out there in the night. It matters not in the slightest, dear reader. We might not quite know where we’re going, but we found each other. So therefore, in the most real sense, we’re already there.

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