The Light

The cold set in that evening after the sun's beating heat had set across the east. Peter had been up early that morning collecting firewood for his master, whose waking he had ominously been counting down. Although he did get along with Master Pittlebee, the few hours before he awoke Peter had some time to himself. His master was known to be talkative, invasive and, at times, obnoxious. But he got away with these traits by apparently being notoriously chivalrous, after gallantly saving several people from the creatures of the dark. However, to Peter this story was one that was much too often told and vastly exaggerated.
Collecting firewood had taken much less time than expected, so Peter decided to wander around the forest. Looking up, he noticed flourishing trees that reached out at one another, occasional branches entwined together, as though each tree had a desperate desire to be connected. The sky was silver; the rim of the sun was beginning to appear. The navy blue of the sky had almost gone as rippling golden swirls from the sun tore into the night sky. Peter's boots sunk into the sloshy mud, it felt soft beneath his feet and he felt grateful for the cushioning sensation after a long, rough walk that morning. To him, this place was beauty. This had so often been his place of peaceful solitude, where his thoughts were collected.
He came across a tree that had a curve in it, perfect for sitting in. He finally allowed his muscle's to relax, as his body went into a slow recline and sank into the wood. His mind flittered off into a harmonious daydream. The common thoughts of a boy's mind filled him; summer days, a warm meal on a cold night, his forest. One recurring image uncovered in his mind, the only place that had ever seemed better than this forest. The image remained blurred, but the feeling that consumed each part of his body was clear. From what Peter could capture, a mossy green hill was engulfed by a purple sky that gradually turned into a crystalized blue. As unadventurous as this seemed, it made Peter feel warm, but also envious, and in slight unease. Although this dreamland was not as beautiful as the forest, it was far more exciting.
As Peter broke free of his trance, he noticed a change in the air. There was a bustle in the leaves, the wind wisped over his cheeks, and the forest had somehow grown darker. For a moment he panicked. Had he dreamed the day away? He looked up to the sky, and seeing smoke coming from Mrs. Patchworth's chimney told him that it was still morning, yet he felt the need to get out of the forest. He jumped to his feet and briskly walked in a direct line back to his master's house. When he saw the end of the trees a calm washed over him. The air seemed fresher, the sky brighter and the forest more alive with friendly animals.
Just as he slowed down, he heard a hushed chime in his hear. So silent, nobody else could have heard it. His natural instincts made him turn around. The forest had reverted back to its darker nature. As Peter stepped cautiously forward, the ringing in his ears grew. He felt his feet uncontrollably moving deeper and deeper into the forest, the chime louder and louder. Unbearable. Peter covered his ears, and screeched out of physical effort to try and stop him from going any further. He squeezed his eyes shut and fell to the floor. He lay there for a second, before snapping back into action. This time he controlled himself. He looked up, and all he could see was a distant light. The air was now thick and misty, and particles of light were drifted and carried away by the mist. It was a bright dot encased by darkness. With total self-control, Peter walked towards it. With every step he took, the light moved further away. Beginning to get frustrated he moved faster, trying to capture it.
Failing to catch it for a third time, something changed. It burst into a blinding white light. Peter was not sure how he was able to carry on looking into the unforgiving brightness. Suddenly, his dreamland flashed in front of him. He reached his arm out and as his hand met the glow, he felt that same warmth he felt as he had daydreamed. But this warmth had intensified. Just as Peter took a step closer, the light leaped away. He naively tried to retouch the light, but it began moving away again. Out of desperation, he began to run.
Peter proceeded to follow this light for the next three hours, so when the light came to a stop, and with his step did not move further away; Peter could only stop as well. All he had wanted to do was reach it, and now it seemed an impossibility. Slowly he recollected himself, but kept his eyes fixed on the light, afraid that if he looked away for one second he would lose it. He was more afraid, less daring than he had originally been, and feared what might happen if he touched it. Would it disappear completely? He finally became able to move towards it, and eventually reach it. He put his palm towards it and found it was hot, but would not burn. He became more confident and dared touching it with the tip of his finger. It wobbled. As Peter went to grasp it in his hands, he heard a voice.
“DON'T!”
Peter froze. He felt exposed. The light made it impossible to see anything else around him, so he could not see his intruder.
“Hello?” Peter said.
Suddenly he was thrust to the floor. Taken aback, Peter did not know what to do. He scrambled around on the floor achieving nothing, and at first did not realize that his light was being taken away from him. Managing to get up, he began to run after this anonymous figure, but he soon realized that he would not catch up. As he came to a halt, the chime began in his ears again. Instinctively, his feet moved forwards. He soon discovered that, if he moved away from the light, the chime almost became inaudible, but if he moved closer it became louder. He used this as his own sense of direction.
Hour by hour, the chime became louder and louder. Before the noise had been unbearable, but this time it seemed justified. Climbing over stones, twisting left and right around trees, jumping over the now irritable sloshing mud that made him slip, he finally came into eyeshot of his light. It seemed the Light Thief had made the mistake of stopping. Peter became aware that he had no attacking or defense skills to go by, so decided to think before acting. Going straight on at him would leave him exposed for a second time, but Peter felt that he could be quiet enough to get him from behind. He chose a large rock from the floor as his weaponry and headed towards him. Peter was five meters from him. His breath was uncontrollably loud. It felt as though he was sucking in and blowing out the entire night sky. Every crackling twig seemed to move underneath his foot. But among all this noise, his victim did not flinch. Peter was now within jumping distance from them, and without thought he leapt forwards. They both fell to the ground, rolling around, grabbing onto flesh, clothing, whatever was available. Peter went for his rock, but realized it had gone. He looked to his left and saw it. It was just out of his reach, and he had now become the unprepared victim. His opponent had a hold of his legs, making it impossible for him to reach his weapon. He wormed and wriggled, fighting for freedom, but nothing would unlock him. He gave up on the rock and thought he might have just enough strength to hit him, break free, and then grab the rock. So, with a final push Peter forced his back upwards and he came face to face with his opponent. Before, he realized that he was fighting Master Pittlebee he had already hit him. Master Pittlebee now lay on the floor, and Peter realized he had knocked him out. He had underestimated his own strength. His Master laid, eyes shut, with a line of red glistening down his face.
Peter was confused, but the need to obtain the light was greater. He grasped it in his hand. It felt as though the forest had gone into complete darkness. He was jolted back and forth, and suddenly halted still. The light blinded him at first, but he soon regained sight. He looked around and found he was back in his dreamland, except now it was reality. It was a place of complete tranquility. If such a place of paradise existed this had to be it, he thought. He felt happier than he did in his forest.

Eden Voller

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