My Child Of Light
My Child Of Light
By Dave Smiles
My daughter Carol had a lovely smile, which she had been quick to share with the world. Her kindness had extended to even the most cynical and she used to warm even the coldest of hearts. The light that shone from her eyes could brighten an overcast day and would simply heighten her radiance on a sunny one.
Carol no longer lives by the light. She has been stolen away from it and now exists in darkness.
It is almost dawn. I’ve been keeping nocturnal hours for a little over a week and I’m still not used to being awake to see the sun rise. I’m exhausted. Drained by the endless walking and the knowledge I now live with. I will, however, continue my search as I can’t give up hope. My love of Carol is enough to sustain me.
After yet another unsuccessful night of searching I now stand on the crest of a bridge, watching the water flow beneath me. City buildings stand either side of the waterway. The first rays of sunlight peek through an overcast sky and begin to sparkle on the water. Patterns of light and shadows are cast amongst the buildings, chasing away the remains of the night, and the ones who hide within it.
Dawn is a time of change, quick and effective. The lost people of the night are cleansed from the streets. They return to whatever place they’ve made their home. Often in groups, but sometimes alone, they lie undisturbed until sunset.
Until recently I never appreciated the differences between night and day. I led a simple life in which I saw little of the city’s nightlife. I was happy, content with my wife and a daughter, but I’ve since discovered a whole other world that transpires under the moon’s selective light; a world that goes unnoticed unless you’re dragged in and forced to face it.
We people of the day do not see those who roam the night. We ignore them, deny their existence, because deep down we know they started out as one of us. The lost ones are only interested in us when they wish to make another of their kind. Additions to their group are due to the universal need for companionship.
Even those with no reflection seek a partner.
When Carol became an addition I lost my Pixie-angel. That’s what I used to call her when she was a little girl. She was so tiny and forever running around like a pixie, so eager to seek the beauty of the world. Her angelic features would melt my heart when she’d smile up at me with some new discovery. She had a way of showing me a world that was fresh. Things that I’d seen daily throughout my life had become grand new discoveries when viewed through her eyes.
She had grown into the kind of young woman every father hoped for. She was kind and considerate, a good student, well liked by her peers. She chose her friends well and I was proud she stayed away from the bad elements.
During my searches I’ve become open to the world of those who exist by the night. They are everything that Carol is not. - Horrific, pale, wraith-like. You hardly catch a glimpse of them and they are gone, leaving you wondering why they maintain their existence.
It is hard to believe Carol is now one of them; that my Pixie-angel’s wings have been torn and her glow extinguished from my life.
As Carol had grown she became more and more independent. I gave her the space that children need to develop their identity and become confident adults. She always made the right choices and I saw no reason to maintain the same level of protection I had parented with when she was a child.
I was wrong.
On occasions, Carol had gone out clubbing with her friends. I had no idea she indulged in this recreation. The whole nightclub scene had been foreign to me. I’ve since discovered those who made her what she now is frequent these clubs. The lights and the incoherent music mask their true nature by overwhelming the senses. It is a perfect breeding ground for their kind. To a teenage girl their relaxed, eternal stare would be alluring. The inexperienced could be easily manipulated.
It is a shock like no other when you see that thirst in your only child’s eyes. - Her need, all consuming, killing her natural beauty.
My wife and I witnessed the deterioration, unaware of the cause of Carol’s withdrawal, or of a way to help. All of a sudden she had a whole new group of friends. Her old friends called less often, before stopping altogether.
She came home one morning and I was heartbroken to see she’s desecrated her golden hair with blue dye. She slept all day. My wife wanted me to talk to her. I tried, but Carol looked so different to the girl I’d once known I found it hard to find the words I needed.
I never thought I’d have to protect my wife from my daughter. I can still picture the savage look in Carol’s eyes as she screamed at her mother who had only been trying to understand what was wrong. I had been too weak to do it myself.
There was fear and bewilderment in my wife’s eyes as Carol went for her throat. I pushed Carol away, at that moment filled with nothing but hate for her. Carol looked at me and for a moment I could see the child I’d once known. She was shocked by her actions and the crying started. The hatred I held for her died. I couldn’t hate her. I hated what she was becoming and those that had done it to her. I took a step towards her, but she sank away, retreated to her bedroom, and locked herself in.
When I returned to my wife I found her unresponsive. She just stared through me. She is still yet to wake up.
The next morning, after leaving my wife at the hospital, I returned home and forced Carol’s door open. Her room was empty. She’d left by her window.
Perhaps it is my fault. I never prepared her for what was out there. In truth I was never sure myself. I was scared I’d crush her spirit if I told her about the evils in this world. I trusted to her nature and because of that I’ve lost her.
Although I am not a religious man I am inclined to pray. I’ve spent my life with my faith placed solely in myself. Now that I wish for a spiritual guide to comfort me I fear I will be unheard. I disguise this by praying to fate and if there is a controller of fate I hope he hears me and spares some light for the darkened path I must travel.
By day the lost ones seem beyond my comprehension. How could they exist in a place that has so little light? What keeps them? Why do they go on?
The substance my daughter feeds off runs through the veins. She feeds off whomever she can, at times reduced to share. It flows into her as she punctures the skin and sends the essence free.
I need Carol to know I still love her, no matter what she now is. I try to share her hours, her world, so she won’t become unfamiliar to me when I find her. I plan to drag her into the light and show her everything she has lost, everything she used to love.
It will probably kill her.
The trail is beginning to fade and in the light of day I begin to loose hope. The longer she spends in the dark the harder it’ll be to bring her back into the light.
Some part of me knows it is hopeless. I should stay by my wife and be there for her when she wakes up… but how can I face her. How will she take it when she finds out Carol is lost?
The morning rush has begun and I can see traces of my old life as the men and women go about their business. I want to tell them to hold tight to what they have as they can lose it easily as I did through my complacency.
It’s hard to get started on the journey home. I know there are memories waiting for me in my empty house. Eventually I take one step, then another. Soon I’m walking. A ray of sunlight sweeps across my path and shines into an alley that is overrun with leaves and trash, empty boxes and discarded possessions.
I look to the overcast sky but can see no origin of this light. There is no break in the cloud cover, yet the light remains.
As I head towards the alley I dare to hope God has spared some light for my Pixie-angel.