I exhaled in relief and rested my arms and forehead against the cold metal railing. The lighthouse appeared to tower over the island—I could scarcely make out the outline of its foundation and [[the rocks and sea further below]].
And yet, a small tinge of material seemingly appeared in the pitch-blackness—a disoriented speck of <html><font color="#8f1c1f">red</font></html> light. Alone and purposeless, this ageless nonentity—unconscious of its own existence—drifted about [[in oblivion]].
I woke up lying on the cold ceramic floor of the gallery. It was still nighttime, but a dash of red shown on the horizon between the sky and the ocean. It looked like a <html><font color="red">r</font><font color="orange">a</font><font color="yellow">i</font><font color="green">n</font><font color="blue">b</font><font color="indigo">o</font><font color="violet">w</font</html> of color creeping out from behind [[a black quilt]].
I blinked furiously, clearing the salty tears from my eyes, and I inhaled deeply, trying to slow down [[my fluttering heartbeat]].
When I looked west away from the sunrise, the world appeared to be pitch black—an expanse of clear emptiness, achromatic, lightless, and silent—a blank space, [[an abyss|Abyss 2]].
I looked out over the sea. The wind had slowed, and I could feel the warmth of the sun beginning [[to usurp the cold]].
When the night sky was completely black, with no light from the moon and no stars in sight, I felt as though the universe extended infinitely in [[every direction]].
...\n...\n...\n\n[[CONTINUE|Continue 2]]
...\n...\n...\n\n[[CONTINUE|Continue 1]]
“...our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”\n—Vladimir Nabokov, <html><i>Speak, Memory</i></html> (1951)\n\n[[PLAY]]\n\n<html><font size="1">This story is best read while listening to <i><a href="http://www.schoenberg.at/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=173&Itemid=347&lang=en" style="text decoration: none">Verklärte Nacht</i>, Op. 4</a> by Arnold Schoenberg.</font></html>
I released my hands from the railing and stood up straight. Slowly, I walked in reverse until my back was once again up against the smooth storm panes. I pressed my fingertips against the glass and presumably left behind a silhouette of my fingerprints.\n\nResolute, I ran at full speed [[toward the balcony’s edge]].\n<html><b>OR</b></html>\nI took a small step forward and [[immediately felt weak]].
But suddenly, quite unexpectedly, I was gripped by a mysterious power. A biting sensation completely engrossed me—cold and stinging, like a sharp knife thrust into flesh. It disrupted my wanderings, for I—a little mass of photons—had [[never felt anything ever before]].
I fell to my knees and put hands to my chest. It burned and stung and my heart felt like a sharp knife was being [[thrust into it]].
The night sky was crystal clear and moonless. I could see the Milky Way arcing across the heavens and reflecting in the ocean beneath—it looked liked the headlights of automobiles reflecting in the water under a suspension bridge during rush hour.\n\n"Luminous," [[I whispered in awe]]—
I sprang aloft toward the onyx sky. My feet landed on the railing with my thighs leaning against the cold steel and my body [[swinging precariously above the brink]].
—my voice was barely audible over the roaring of the wind and waves. Cautiously, I stepped forward in the pitch-blackness, placing one foot in front of the other until my toes reached the edge of the catwalk. I blindly groped for the railing and [[grasped it with both hands]].
The universe—an expanse of clear emptiness, achromatic, lightless, and silent—extended infinitely in every direction. All that existed were boundless shadows barren of any matter or energy—a blank space, [[an abyss]].
But my eyes sight rapidly blurred and cold sweat formed on [[my brow]].
But when the night sky was full of stars—the Milky Way radiant and bright—I felt as though the universe was encroaching upon [[our small space in the universe]].
I closed my eyes and reopened them. The shadows were equally dark with my eyes opened or closed. It reminded me of being a child and hiding inside a closet or toy chest, and yet, it felt less claustrophobic than [[a clear sky filled with stars]].
The lighthouse lantern had darkened. The flame must have went out sometime [[after I fainted]].
The Lighthouse's Tale
I stood up slowly. I rubbed my eyes with the heel of my hand and then gently grasped the cold metal railing [[once again]].
I stood barefoot on the lighthouse gallery with my back leaning against the glass storm panes—the cold ceramic tiles benumbed my feet and the bitter nightly land breeze sent my hair lashing against my face. [[I looked about me]].
—like nebula and bright clouds twirling in haloes around masses of stars. Sadly, I was unable to cease my course and rapidly surged through outer space, unstoppably hurling toward a new destination—a celestial body in the arm of [[a distant spiral galaxy]].\n<html><center><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bohemien_fleur/7900783132/"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8447/7900783132_22542248b4.jpg"></a></center></html>
...She walks on, stumbling.\nShe looks up; the moon keeps pace.\nHer dark gaze drowns in light.\n—“Transfigured Night” by Richard Dehmel\n\n[[CREDITS]]
And hence, forevermore, the lighthouse lantern was lit by an eternal flame of <html><font color="#8f1c1f">red</font></html> light—shimmering mightily in the [[darkness|THE END]], the lighthouse continued to be a beacon of hope in dark times.
I inhaled deeply and dived forward. For a moment, my body was poised, weightless in the air, but soon I plummeted [[toward the salty sea]].
Forcefully, I was propelled away from my empty origin toward a mysterious bluish-green energy. Scarcely aware, I soared by other radiant objects—[[large accumulations of dust and energy]]—
There—in the heat of the swirling planet’s atmosphere—I blazed as I plummeted to the sage green earth—like a shooting star, a twinkle of light, I flew across the sky and fell into the warm embrace of [[a lighthouse lantern]].
Visual snow quickly blinded me and suddenly everything went [[black|Black 2]].
And when I finally reached the murky depths everything went [[black|Black 1]].
<html><i>Wait—where am I? What—what am I? Am I this strange essence, this <font color="#8f1c1f">red</font> drop of light? I am, and yet, I am no longer me. I am no longer what I used to be.</i></html>\n\nI meandered erratically, darting back and forth, up and down, even though cardinal directions [[did not exist in the void]].
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And hence, forevermore, the lighthouse lantern remained extinguished and [[lightless|THE END]], never to signal the safety of the shore to any lost souls ever again.
Suddenly, a <html><font color="#8f1c1f">red</font></html> twinkle of light flew across the sky and fell behind [[the horizon]].
And then [[I dived]].
Story written by <html><a href="http://rine-karr.blogspot.com" style="text decoration: none">Rine</a></html>.
All of a sudden, I felt this unexplainable desire to leap from the side of the lighthouse—the desire to soar from the precipice never to be seen again—[[l'appel du vide]].
<html><a href="http://rine-portfolio.blogspot.com" style="text-decoration: none" style="color:#8f1c1f"><font color="#8f1c1f">Rine Karr</a></font></html>
I had lived a hundred million years, even though time had no meaning in obscurity. I had lived a hundred million lifetimes, even though [[life and death did not exist]].
Nothingness—devoid of anything—it was a timeless place with no beginning or end, no sensation or conception. There, the darkness was darker than black, and the stillness was immutable. In that place, there was nothing, and yet the concept of [[nothing did not really exist]].