Part Thirteen: A Light In The Darkness
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Berthond couldn’t feel his arms. In fact, he couldn’t feel any part of his body. He wasn’t even sure if he was awake. It was like he was a being of pure consciousness.
He wondered if it was what being dead felt like.
Even though he couldn’t feel anything, he was cold. The Darkness around him wasn’t like being in a dark room, because in a room you had a sense of space. It wasn’t like the darkness behind his eyes, either. It was pure, solid, Darkness, with a capital D. It was true shadow, not the mere absence of light, but the opposite of light.
It was silent. Like the Darkness, this silence wasn’t the absence of sound; it was like white noise, without the noise part. Black silence, thought Berthond.
He waited. He wasn’t sure how long he waited; it seemed like an eternity. It began to dawn on him that he might be suffocated by the Darkness, that it would engulf him, and he would never return to the world of light.
Ha, he thought, but it doesn’t know what I’ve got in the sack. Which I can’t reach. Because I can’t see or feel my arms. Okay, new plan.
Berthond concentrated hard, thinking one word over and over again: Lestine Lestine Lestine Lestine…
Three shiny crystal orbs appeared before him. He could see them, as if they were positioned in front of a black screen. They were empty of any color.
Okay, thought Berthond, now what? He couldn’t touch the orbs. He couldn’t do anything, in fact.
He was going to have to think himself into existence, as he did for the Lestines. Berthond Berthond Berthond Berthond…
Berthond opened his eyes, and looked down at his nearly acquired body. He sighed. Pants pants pants pants pants…
…When he had imagined himself his full suit of armor, he looked back towards the Lestines. They were floating gently in front of him. Banish the Darkness…Light up the world…Berthond didn’t remember thinking those thoughts. Is this Selebriar again? Because if it is you’d better either tell me how to win this or GET OUT OF MY HEAD.
Whoa, calm down. It’s not the Elf. Well, who is it then? Berthond was starting to get seriously annoyed. It’s you. You’re schizophrenic. What? What’s that mean? It means that there’s another you inside your head. You subconsciously thought yourself another person to help you figure out what you’re supposed to do.
This was too weird for Berthond. He tried to scream, but the Dark silence seemed to absorb all noise. Um. Okay. Fine. Um. Hi, me. Um. Look, can I give you a name? Because calling you “me” is just too bizarre. Call me…Steve. What? Steve. It’s a good name. Um. Er. Okay. Steve it is, then.
So, um, Steve, what do I do? You thought the Lestines into existence. Lighting them won’t be as easy. Let’s see… The Lestines will save the world, right? So think of something that makes you feel safe. A happy, safe feeling. Something to do with light, preferably. Yes. Light. That’s…Um, that’s about it. That’s it? Well, you didn’t imagine yourself an incredibly wise consciousness to share your head. Still, what I figured out is pretty good, you gotta admit. Well, my work here is done. I’m leaving your head now. Bye.
Wait, Steve! But there was just him in his head. He wondered if he had just imagined it…Either way, he had a sense of what to do. Bright thoughts, think bright thoughts…
Owl, he thought, and started thinking about owls. But that wasn’t really bright. Owls were nocturnal, after all. He tried thinking about the sunniest, hottest day of the summer…But he had been miserable that day, with the sweat dripping down his neck…The entire camp had stunk of it…
No, it wouldn’t do. Back to owls.
The Flying Owl. Brilliant stars. High up in the sky, looking over him, even in the daytime when he couldn’t see them. The eye of the Owl. Having that eye shine down on him…The safest he had ever felt…
A tiny spark of light erupted in the heart of each orb, but it was just a spark, nothing more. The Darkness closed in all around him, smothered him, suffocated him…Not enough light, not a bright enough memory, gotta think of something stronger…
Owl. Carved wooden Owl. The Flying Owl, hanging around his neck. His hand flew to his chest. He groped around until his hand met a familiar pendant. He looked down at it. He couldn’t see it – he had forgotten to imagine it – but he could feel it. It was there. The gift given to him by his best friend, what seemed like years ago. He scrunched his eyes shut and clutched it as hard as he could.
The Lestines burst into life. Tendrils of color flickered inside. The three colors, red flame, blue storm, and green leaf, shot together, mixed and became a white light, pure and brilliant, like the gaze of the Flying Owl. There was a terrific noise, like a mountain collapsing. Berthond closed his eyes…