Flickering Candles

There was a flame. She burned beautifully, lighting the way more brilliantly than any other flame. My fire paled in comparison to her own, yet she came to me and set me ablaze. I was able to hold her, this sacred candle, and she kept me warm. I did what I could, but it seemed in time to float away from the other candles. Then she floated away from me, into a dark pit.

I loved the candle, though. I had watched it early on while the wick was still innocent, and the wax had hardly melted. I was there for her through the difficult times, when there were gusts and she needed a hand to keep the flame strong from the demoralizing winds. She continued to light my way. But the there was that pit, as I had spoken of before. She traveled there, no longer satisfied with the way my heart burned.

This pit was a legend among the flames. There were winds which gusted the deeper one went. Each gust was said to have once been a candle, or some brilliant flame. At the bottom of the pit was to be the source of all darkness. Many flames descended, strong and weak, and each remained in the dark. Those which only dabbled in the dark returned. Those looking to set the winds ablaze were lost, to become winds themselves if the fables were true.

The fables told us to not mix light with dark. The two could do nothing for each other. Show the darkness light, and perhaps some small spark would set alight. Plunge into the darkness, forsake the other flames, and the light will only know the blackness of the void, doomed to be snuffed out by an oppressive wind. This was the way of our world since the elders of elders spoke stories. Yet this candle I loved more than my own flame, more than the flames of my family, would delve into the deep desolation of the pit.

I watched as she floated away from the other flames. I pleaded, desperate and ugly. I wept and my fire flickered. But there was nothing of it, and I was not strong enough to face the pit. I wept. Then I grew. Then I worried. I went to the pit, a fire as strong as she had once been, and I descended.

The pit was black, suffocating. I had issues finding the candle whom I loved, her flame dwindled. But when I found her, I brought her close to my chest. There were a great many winds whirling about her. I tried my best to cover her.

“I will be here. We may share a fire,” I said.

“The winds, they speak. If only I could set them on fire. How many others could they light so brilliantly? Just give me time.”

“These winds, you know what the elders tell us. We must show them the light, but we should not taste the dark, as you do now.”

“Then do not follow. Great things are here.”

“I will not leave you.” I put my hand around the flame, doing my best to keep the winds at bay. I think I see her flare up for a moment, glowing a touch more brightly. “I love you too much to just turn away.”

She floated deeper into the abyss. “But I take a dark path. You don’t need to snuff yourself out. I can take care of this.”

I had to wrap my hand around the flame, so tightly I could feel the heat. It made my stomach ill. “I will not let you go alone. Where there are two flames gathered, the great flame endures.”

Soon I could not make out the top of the pit. We were the only light left. My hand, wrapped around the flame, started to blister and bleed. I started to become chilled by the winds. “When you burn brightly, you’re the most beautiful woman in the world. Come back with me to the light. Burn again.”

“The winds will burn bright. They will no longer howl, but sizzle with love. I cannot leave.”

I wept, “So be it.” My hand was raw. Scars had set in. I let the candle go, turned, and walked to the light. I turned to the candle one more time before leaving, “You know where to find me, should you need me. I pray you burn bright once more.”

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4 responses to “Flickering Candles

  1. Great story. Its a little rough in places, but I really liked how you let the characters be flames/candles/people without rationalization or justification. It really fed the allegory and kept me focused on the feelings, events, and meaning behind it all. I quickly empathized with the main character, feeling the passion of love and the fear and loss over another’s choices, choices he couldn’t control. Initially I thought the darkness was personal morbid darkness, suicide. But at the end I wonder if it isn’t more of a ‘darkness of the world’ for which she is trying to bring her light. When I think of it in that sense I lose respect for the protagonist for giving up where she persevered. Great story, lots to think about.

    • Well I had a reply and it got deleted. Short of it:
      The roughness is from a 1am writing on my tablet. I also rarely give a truly in depth edit on my blog.

      For the darkness, I think I portrayed it wrong, then. It’s supposed to be irredeemable darkness which snuffs out all light. It’s based on a friendship of mine that’s just been starting to wear on me. However, it looks like they may be coming out of the pit.

      Thanks for checking out my work!

  2. Still not bad for a 1AM tablet piece. And I don’t think you portrayed it wrong, I think you hit on a vein that goes deeper than the detail of waht you were writing about and allows the reader to interpret it personally. Anyhow, thanks again, and thanks for the follow 😉

  3. My favorite song of all time is “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind. My favorite line is “It’s been awhile/since I’ve seen the way/the candles light your face. It’s been awhile/but I can still remember/just the way you taste.” There’s a darkness in that song, too. This post reminds me A LOT of the way I feel when I listen to that song.

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