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Will-o’-the-wisp

February 17, 2014

It was dark, when I first awoke, again. Pitch darkness, all around me, no hint of light, no hint of brightness anywhere around me, in the deep fens I came to call home.

Except for me. I became light, I became a white spark, cold and lifeless, but brightness nonetheless. A tiny, miniscule parody of the Sun, glowing in some forsaken fen, south to the town I once called home, where the river my corpse was emersed in ended, decaying away like everything.

Rather fitting, really, this fate of mine.

I always knew I had the light inside, so I wasn’t surprised in the slightiest. Okay, maybe a little, especially because the clerics had whined and ranted endlessly about how much of a disgusting abomination I was before I was sent to the fire place, but, let’s be entirely honest with ourselves, self-righteousness is contagious, so I am entirely within my rights to be satisfied with my state of affairs.

Sure, his face and warmth are now beyond my reach, and I do feel myself rather empty and cold, but hey, at least I’m the light, and they are not. Sounds fair to me!

For a while, I wandered around in the bogs, the night my ever faithful squire, making my beauty shine (eh!) where the Sun does not. When She does, that’s alright, though I feel even emptier than before, and invisible, Her light vanquishing mine. I hate Her sometimes, but I cannot help but wonder if She is one like me, simply at a massive scale. When you get introspective, hatred becomes meaningless, especially when you realise secrets like this, making whatever you hate so trivial and pathetic.

For a while, I was content with the bog. I’ve always loved it ever since I was a kid, listening to the lullabies of the frogs and potoos, watching wistful fireflies and bats fluttering about in the dark. It had been my refuge long before that, away from their disapproval and pettiness and rules and like a gajillion other things they used to make me their dog, where I could just relax, just be myself, a light in the dark. Funny, how Father Trinellus and the other clerics spent so much time praising that old groove filled with roses and sunshine and other pwetty widdle things for it’s “meditative qualities” and “stronghold of light” and spending hours talking how the swamps were evil and decaying, when I found much more inner peace and joy here than in that diabetes-inducing clearing.

But that’s alright, that’s perfectly fine. Everyone is entitled to be stupid well into “how are you still alive!?” territory, as I myself had been.

You see, it wasn’t enough to have parents who love you by beating you into submission and selling off your future to marry some blonde bimbo, it wasn’t enough to have everyone in town have some strong really strong allergy to you and hate you with all their passion, it wasn’t enough for the people supposed to help you construct your future be more interested in making you into the scapegoat necessary to make everyone into their perfect little porcelain dolls. There had to be just one extra little little spice to make my life a living hell, and to hasten my path to become this light.

And, to be perfectly honest, that stupidity of mine was pretty damn sweet. Maybe even the reason why I’m like this now, though I was never a believer in the sappy (and hypocritical) ideas that love makes your soul ascend into divinity. Though, if that was the case, I guess I should had been way more stupid, as then every grief I have with the Sun would end. Imagine me, eclipsing Her light from the heavens and being adored as a God. That’d shut them up for sure!

But I digress. In my brightness I found contentment, and in my brightness my desire to rub my holiness in their faces grew. One foggy night, my seventh or so after being drowned, I flew up the river. I illuminated the streets, a paler, colder lamp than those lighting up the place, right in the procession to celebrate my righteous death.

Oh, their faces when they saw my light! They thought I was an angel, sent to congratulate that sinful maggot’s due death, to bless their hallowed night with heaven-sent radiance. Most of the clerics instantly broke in hymns and praise, except Father Trinellus, who was a bit more savvy than that, and eyed me with thinly veiled suspicion. I basked myself in their worshipping glory, trying my hardest to not laugh at their blatant blasphemy, at the irony of it all. I am very much not ashamed to say that I could’ve spent all night, and maybe all of eternity, being worshipped like that, by the very people who hated the fact that I ever existed.

Until I saw his face, that face I died for.

He wasn’t like the others, not by a long shot. He wasn’t overwhelmed by joy, but purest grief, purest shame, purest “I want to die horribly” condensed into the thickest fog that I’ve ever experienced. He, whom I died for, seeing the broken and shattered love of his life completly demonised by me, pretending to be a divine agent. I couldn’t do that to him, even though a part of me wanted to be done with that, to simply enjoy the adoration. A fake, disgusting adoration, that quickly began to taste sour like vinegar.

So I did him my last favour, and I revealed who I really was, my light taking the form of my body, when I was alive. Suffise to say, I didn’t waste the opportunity to look as condescending and smug as possible, just spice the utter horror the entire town felt. Ah, if praise and adoration were good, the shocking realisation was like divine nectar flowing across my tongue, leaving a simply divine after taste.

And the joy and hope my light gave him, the understanding that he was divine, not demonic, made that nectar even sweeter.

Do I even need to say how the aftermath was? The entire town broke into hysterics, countless praying for this to not be true and some even comitting suicide, or going into a hateful frenzy and killing their own kin. The clerics were, predictably, less deliciously in despair, and started yelling at me, cursing me. I didn’t hold back, pouring salt on the wounds, telling them that I was light and that they were evidently rather wrong about their teachings, something that sent them into hysterics and made my love’s heart bolder and his soul stronger.

Prayers and searing light filled the air, but much to their horror I validated my own claims, their light not harming mine. Granted, this was because I drew my strength from the swamp, from the fog, but whatever, my radiance didn’t falter, wasn’t damaged at all. Frustration and sheer hatred filled their hearts and minds, which I “alleviated” by quoting scripture. Ah, the joys of harming the faithful with their faith.

I stood there for hours, clearly ruinning their procession, seeing their own fetters choking them into their well deserved oblivion. But, once again, all of that paled compared to him, looking at me with nothing short than that sight he ensnared me with, that fulgid brightness and pure adoration. I wanted so much to kiss him, to hold him until dawn came, but I knew we had to move on. I took his hand in my radiant palm, and I guided him to a canoe, shielding him from harm. I guided him through the fog and dark waters, to beyond the swamp, to another village, where he could start over. And he did so, found glory and fortune and turned the tide, becoming as glorious to the rest of the world as he was to me.

And I’m left here, patrolling the fens, every hallowed night climbing the river to the streets, to remind the new population about my story, to guide lost souls or at least remind them of their own light. Some praise me, some hate me, but all know that I am right, and that alone sustains me.

Though I do miss his warmth still.

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