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The Lamp A Short Story By Campbell Rodriquez

Posted by Campbell Rodriquez on 16th Jan 2019

No one knew who lit the flame in the old lamp or even how it got there -- hanging in the corner of a neglected barn, help by four cords which were thinning and challenging each second by their mere ability to carry the lamp.

The lamp was older than the children that held their breath when they passed the barn, a rare occurrence which only happened when they were hopelessly lost.

The lamp was older than the parents of the hapless children. Older than the tales they spun of its wavering flame and their debates of its existence.

The lamp was older still, older than the grandparents who had visions of the barn in its heyday, although such visions were merely fabricated fantasies because neither the lamp nor the barn had been spotted in perfect condition by a soul who was unfortunate enough to continue to walk this earth.

At one point, in the past long forgotten, bats would admire the lamp and warm in its slight heat although they loathed its light no matter how small it was. But these bats were no more.

The spiders who danced in the lamp’s wavering glow, crawling and spinning along its delicate frame, were nowhere to be found.

Even the moths who gave the lamp their ballads and showered it in sonnets had lost their way.

Still, the lamp shone.

Not brightly.

Not courageously.

But it shone.

In the same way a child stares into the inky pitch at the end of the hallway, knowing they could never fight or even face what lurked in the shadows, in the same way that child knows their end will meet them the moment they look away, in that way the lamp shone.

A cowardly resilience that was terrified of the darkness.
A scared, wavering flicker in the night.

Dust overtook the lamp, slathering it in grime and grey. Perhaps it was trying to destroy the lamp or to offer it the relief it seeked, for dust knew better than any creature that every object has an end.

Perhaps the dust was providing a blanket of protection, shielding the light from the overwhelming strength of darkness, dulling the black to a weak grey.

Or perhaps the dust was only doing what all dust does, settling on still objects and creating homes out of the untouched, tracking time and scribing history.

The moss was to be expected. Given the cool damp of the lamp’s abode, given the taste of its silent tears, given such perfectly grim circumstances, how could the moss deny a visit?

It crawled along the lamp, stuck to it, hung to it, offered soft songs that resembled softer cries: the cries of mothers who hearts ached for their children, the cries of lost’s agony.

The moss saw the shattered pane -- the shattered pain -- and asked no questions. Instead, it sung its soft cries.
The light reflected the pain; the pane reflected the light, distorting it, twisting it, magnifying it, minimizing it, creating something that was never meant to exist.

Worn and bent.

Cold and broken.

Shattered and crying, the lamp and its flame burned.

A cowardly resilience.

A wavering flicker.

Terrified of what it meant to no longer burn, of what it meant to be extinguished. Terrified, the lamp and its flame burned.