Flicker [Full]


Above me, a light flickered. I suppose one could theory that the bulb was about to short-circuit; but I knew better. I knew someone had let that bulb choke on its last breath of light before spitting out sparks, leaving me in utter darkness. Yes, I thought, this was all planned, which other way would they have done this?

Perhaps this implication seemed delirious? No, heaven’s no. I chose not to believe so. So what did they want? I speculated that they wanted something from me, knowing their exquisite taste… Oh, of course they did! I was being so utterly dubious!

So what did they want?

While I shut out the stutter of the light bulb, I figured that they wanted to chat – bored and lonely like me. Perhaps an intellectual conversation with an outsider would have been perfect for their ingenious appetite. Possibly the complete opposite: they wanted to torment, bully and tease; to pull at the strings that had been bolted and knotted deep into my bones, so that every movement would render me in anguish, which would then satisfy their erogenous fancies. They were so predictable that way – and I admired that highly. However, I realised that: what if it wasn’t just them? Perhaps it was Ryan? Yes, little Ryan. Little Ryan might have accidentally spilt his orange juice on the power box during a tantrum; launched it into the air because another child demanded that he would have it. But of course, little Ryan, silly little Ryan, rebelled and decided that if he could not have it, then no one would. So yes, perhaps little Ryan had done this, and was now stewing in his own little helpless tears, all curled up in a corner of an empty room, alone with the company of his own whimpering.

But then… another thought struck a chord within me. What if it was the shadowy figure that lingered at the back of the room? What if someone had terrorised and scared it, causing an uproar of panicked frenzies that it tampered with the power box? Plausible, I thought. Or had it gotten lost and angry? Hungry, even? I could not place a valid point.

The buzzing and flickering of the bulb mimicked the system of brilliance in my mind. The light would glow bright then simmer to a dimmer frequency, echoing the pulse that swelled in my temples. This swelling grew and grew; there was barely any space to think. The room had shrunk in the coming minutes I spent in this God-forsaken room. The walls were edging closer with their blank faces. There was hardly any space now. I wanted space, I needed space – I longed for it, and these walls were greedily glutton about it.

That’s when the laughter shattered the silence. I looked around, scanning the shadowy corners. I knew that laughter better than my own two feet. But I hadn’t a clue where it came from. I demanded them to show themselves; more laughter. The hairs on my arms and neck stood up. No games, I told them. But they laughed more. The light above me was beginning to give way quickly. It became spastic, lost in a frenzy to keep itself fully alight before its wretched demise.

I called again, aggressively this time. The laughter grew louder, fuelling the bulb’s adamant persistence. They were testing my patience. I called once more. It didn’t stop. The laughter continued, getting closer and closer, sending shivers down my spine. The room began to rock, from left to right, throwing me into the walls. I demanded they’d stop. But they didn’t. In the pandemonium, I anchored my head skyward, spotting the bulb. It was about to blow.

My pulse was throbbing in my temples, in my ears, so badly, that my head ached and my heart raced. The room suddenly became excruciatingly hot, as beads of sweat formed on my forehead. My hands grew clammy and I began to sink through the floor. I tried getting out, but all effort was useless. An ear-shattering pop. Absolute darkness.

The bulb had gone.

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