Becomes One Hundred Stories #2: Reads in the Light

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

burning-candleReads in the Light

The man turned on the light.

The man turned on the light, but the light did not turn on. The light did not turn on because the light no longer worked. The light no longer worked because the place where the man lived had lost power. The place where the man lived had lost power, but the man did not know why. The man tried to turn on the light again, but it did not turn on.

The man did not know why the place where he lived had lost power, but it did not matter whether he knew why. All that mattered was that the man could not turn on the light.

The man had wanted to turn on the light because he had wanted to read. The man still wanted to read. The man could not read in the dark, so he needed to find another light.

The man found another light. The man found a candle in a box. But the man could not find a source of fire to light the candle.

The candle was long and thin. The man touched the wick at the end of the candle and tried to think about how to light the wick. The man succeeded in thinking about how to light the wick, but he still did not know how to light the wick. So the man continued to think about it.

The man continued to think about how to light the wick of the candle so he could read in the darkness. The man continued to think until he thought of a possibility.

The man went outside.

The man entered the darkness outside the place where he lived. Outside the dark place where he lived. The dark place where he lived in darkness. The man entered the darkness outside and looked up at the starless sky.

The starless sky was empty. It was not the first time the man had looked into an empty, starless sky. The man did not even try to think why the stars had lost power. If he had thought about it, perhaps he would have concluded that the stars had lost power for the same reason that the place where he lived had lost power. He would have been wrong had he drawn such a conclusion, but he did not draw such a conclusion because he did not even try to think about it. The man only thought about finding a source of fire to light the candle so he could read.

The man walked through the darkness under the starless sky and found his way to the small building where he stored his tools.

The man entered the small building and turned on the light. The light did not turn on. The small building where the man stored his tools had also lost power.

The man tried to think about how he could light the small building where he stored his tools so he could find a source of fire to light the candle in the place where he lived so he could read in the darkness.

The man carefully moved around inside the small building where he stored his tools. The small dark building. He was glad he always kept his tools well-organized in the small building because he found his way around the inside of the small dark building without stumbling over tools and without hitting his shins on objects that cluttered the floor. Objects that did not clutter the floor because the man kept his tools and his objects well-organized in the small building.

The man stopped in the middle of the small building and closed his eyes. He did not need to close his eyes because the darkness inside the small building was just as dark as the darkness the man saw when he closed his eyes. But the man always thought better when he closed his eyes. He always could make a mental model better when he closed his eyes. So the man closed his eyes and made a mental model of the inside of the small dark building where he stored his tools.

And the man found in his mental model the place where he stored the sources of fire to light candles. He did not keep the sources of fire to light candles but rather to light the fire outside where he sometimes cooked meat. The fire that started as a small fire and then grew into a large fire then died into coals over which he cooked his meat. He usually cooked such meat in the space between the place where he lived and the small dark building where he stored his tools, but sometimes he made such a fire in the forest when he went into the forest to spend the night.

The man found the place in his mental model where he stored the sources of fire in the small building to light the fire over which he cooked his meat. The man opened his eyes and went to the place in the small dark building that matched the place in his mental model where he stored his sources of fire. And in the place that matched the place, the man found the sources of fire. The sources of fire that he usually used to start the fire over which he cooked his meat, but with which he could also light the wick of the candle so he could read in the darkness.

The man took one source of fire and turned it on. But that source of fire did not turn on. The man wondered if the sources of fire that he stored in the small dark building where he stored his tools had also lost power. Then the man thought that was impossible. The only way he could think such sources of fire could lose power was if they were wet. These sources of fire were dry. So the man thought perhaps only the first source of fire had lost power, and he tried to turn on a second source of fire. And that second source of fire turned on. It turned on brightly, then dimmed to a stable light from a steady flame. Then the man turned off that source of fire and he took the container of the sources of fire out of the small dark building where he stored his tools. He took the container into the darkness outside under the starless sky. He passed the place where he sometimes made a fire to cook his meat, and the man entered the place where he lived.

The man entered the place where he lived, and he turned on the light. The man turned on the light out of habit. And the light turned on. Perhaps it turned on out of habit, but more likely it turned on because the place where the man lived had found its power.

The man entered the darkness outside once more and did not notice that the sky was still starless. Had he noticed that the power to the stars was still lost while the power to the place where he lived had been found, he would have concluded—correctly—that the stars and the place where he lived had different sources of power.

The man entered the small building where he stored his tools, and he turned on the light. The light turned on. The power in the small no-longer-dark building where he stored his tools had been found too.

The man put away the container of the sources of fire, but he put a few sources of fire in a smaller container to take into the place where he lived so he would have them at hand in case the place where he lived lost its power again when it was dark and the man wanted to read.

The man turned off the light in the small building where he stored his tools. He turned off the light, and the light turned off.

The man entered the darkness under the starless sky and crossed the space between the small building where he stored his tools and the place where he lived.

The man entered the place where he lived and he turned off the light. The man turned off the light, and the light turned off.

The man turned on a source of fire, and the source of fire turned on.

The man touched the small source of fire to the wick of the candle, and the wick caught fire. The candle lit the place where the man lived.

The man turned off the source of fire, but the candle continued to light the room. The man took the candle into the room where he usually read.

The man placed the candle on a table next to the place where he usually read.

And the man read in the darkness. In the light.

To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.

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