November 12, 1994
They say that light is the fastest thing in the Universe, Dr. Samuels had once told me. But you know what’s faster?
I remember shaking my head at that. He’d cornered me in that conference room by the gym after prayer group one day, trying to push his point: that I was now irrevocably different, that I wouldn’t have to be anyone’s punching bag, literally or figuratively. Not now, not ever. I didn’t know which “they” he was referring to – scientists, probably. Maybe that was a trick question, I thought. I was wrong, though; it was really dead simple, and I didn’t even realize it back then.
Darkness, he had said in that strange, growling, cooing voice of his. At that moment his eyes were the wildest I’ve ever seen them; those big, white circles opened up in his almost-black face with floating irises that turned from grey to black right as I looked helplessly into their depths. It was unreality time. Those eyes spoke of secrets, even as they spoke of science; they spoke of magic that was and magic that would be, drawing unbreakable lines between them.
I get it now – light travels at 671 million miles per hour; well over a billion kph, if you’re into the metric system. Darkness, however, travels faster. Light can chase it, but it can never catch it; light can reveal what was hiding in the dark, but can never show us what darkness is. That’s fast.
Darkness and light – they can flush each other out, fight for ground, chase each other around, but the fact remains that if light is supposed to be the fastest thing in the Universe, then darkness is undoubtedly faster. I should know, since I am a creature of darkness.
I went out earlier with Kyle and Devin on what Kyle likes to call a “power trip”. We practiced it all, starting with obfuscation; we did that for Devin’s benefit. He hasn’t been right since his parents abandoned him, and he blames himself for losing control in front of them. Kyle and I have never told him so, but we think Devin might be right about that. His mom and dad, uptight to the extreme and more Christian than Christian, saw the darkness bleeding out of him during an argument; and when Devin gets in his high-strung way, his pores don’t just leak – they spew darkness. His parents – they freaked out, avoided him like the plague, and by the next week they had packed up and left while he was at school. Samuels hooked Devin up with a stipend and a room, but he still struggles with it all. I’m ashamed to say it was Kyle’s idea to practice obfuscation to help Devin, since Kyle has almost no tendency to think of others, but we both have a soft spot for Devin – he didn’t have to be this way; his peace of mind is a casualty of our efforts to rebalance the Universe.
We flew, we ran, we jumped, we practiced our influence – mostly on parked cars at “Makeout Park”, which is always hilarious – we did some shapeshifting, but we’re still not a hundred percent comfortable with that, because the results can be. . . a little too realistic. Mostly, we obfuscated. We hid. The hardest power to control is also the coolest; you know why?
Because we’re good at it. We are darkness – “Darklings” – and we’re so fast that we can hide while standing still, right out in the open and in full sun. I could disembowel a guy in the middle of downtown on a busy day, and nobody would see me coming or going.
I don’t know why I had to put it that way. That’s really not me.
This post was prompted by the Okay, What If? Halloween writing challenge. What if you threw a vote my way?