The Long Night
Beyond the walls, the cold encroaches. The night is impeccably dark, the moon obscured by a mass of immoveable, invisible cloud cover.
Through the window there is nothing but the dim reflection of my own dirty, stubble covered face. Yet it is ill-defined enough to not bother me. My face, I have not seen it in months. I make sure of this. It is a rule in this new world, a rule among many others that have sprung up since that time. It reminds me of my past, and that pain is too great to witness, to bear.
I glance around the room that has become part prison, part safe haven. It’s strange how you can be both glad and in resentment of certain things. These walls, they are sterile, homely, dank, comfortable. I don’t know where I’d be without them. And I think, such is life.
On the only table in this one-roomed cabin sits a candle, my candle. Slowly it burns down, barely illuminating the furthest of walls. The light flickers, forwards, backwards, creating mysterious shadows that have ghastly habits of forming into recognisable things… recognisable people. I shiver at them, turning my eyes away, wishing for the shadows to create just one pleasant thing. But they are evil, against me.
Have I lost my mind? Here in this sick world, can any person be truly sane?
Leaning back in my rotting rocking chair, I examine the candle. Intently I follow its flame, swaying from side to side, looking for the oxygen it needs to sustain life. How do I sustain my own life? These past two years, how have I ever managed? In front of me, contained within its burning flame I see my past life, the people I have loved and was loved by. My wife and my children, their smiles and their eyes. This is what I always do. I long for the old world, to return to those blissful times.
I wish, and I wish. But that is all I do. Wish and survive, they are my directives.
It gets me nowhere at all. My life is on rails, heading towards a station that doesn’t exist.
Tomorrow will be like all days. My life is simple in this way. Things are easy to predict, easy to judge and consume. I will farm, I will feed the animals, I will eat and I will shit. Begging for some end to this lonely monotony is too much, the words will not leave my mouth, the question will not form.
Out there in this world of darkness, I know people must exist, must live lives like myself. I imagine conversations between these people, hearing their words, seeing life in their smiles. And yet, something stops me from seeking all this. An unknowable, mighty force. One I cannot overcome.
I am destined to endlessly live out my life in this corner of our darkened world, trying to ignore the storm of questions that incessantly harass me.
All while the candle burns on, oblivious.