The Lamp

voir la version française

Chapter one

– Are you afraid of the dark, Thomas ?
– No
– … and of the light ?

Incident #1

Thomas crossed his dark living room in a straight line, turned into the dark corridor, and almost immediately crashed his forehead against a hard surface he didn’t think was here. He grunted, much more surprised than hurt. He went through this corridor many times a day, everyday, and sometimes at night, like right now, to go to the bathroom. It was a familiar corridor. When it was dark, his left hand would mechanically hit the light switch at the entrance and he would simply keep walking across the corridor, passing the bookshelf and the potted plants. Without ever having to think about it. This time, however, the corridor remained in the dark. Confused by the shock, for a moment, he was not sure of where he was anymore. His eyes wide open, not seeing anything, his arms spread to the sides, he slowly followed the wall back to the entrance. Did he just miss the light switch ? He would have noticed that, he thought, and he would have stopped. His head was starting to hurt. He finally felt the switch and pressed it. Nothing. The corridor still remained dark. He tried again. Still nothing. Time to change the lightbulb, he thought. But not right now. He went back to his bedroom – crossing the living room, even in the dark, was easier as some light came from his bedroom and he could navigate between the faint outlines of the table, the chair and the couch. He picked his phone from the bedside and used it as a flashlight to reach the bathroom. Under the unusual light, the corridor seemed a bit different, but everything, the bookshelf and the potted plants, seemed to be in its habitual place. He must have walked at an angle, and hit the bookshelf side, he thought. He smiled, thinking that maybe his sense of space was not that good, without help from his eyes. Definitely have to change that lightbulb, he thought.

– Can you help me, please?
– Sure, what can I do for you ?
– I need a new lightbulb…
– Sure, follow me… it’s a bit further down, on the right
– I brought the old one with me, just to make sure I get the right one…
– Here we are… let me check it. Sure, I see… maybe this… no wait… that one. Yes. That’s the one you need, right here
– OK. Thanks. Hmmm… Maybe I’ll get two. It will be easier, for the next time it breaks
– Sure… of course… but… can I… let me see that again… hmm… huh
– Huh ?
– Your lightbulb, here, the one you brought with you… it seems ok, though… doesn’t seem broken to me
– Well, it didn’t work last night, I can tell you that ! That’s why I am here
– Really ? Well… sure.. but… let me check it, though… just in case… follow me
– As I told you, I’m pretty sure that…
– Here, let me put it in our of our demo lamps. It’ll be just a second…
– Why not… but I assure you… – Here… let me… and… let there be light ! … see ?
– Huh. It… OK. But… Oh…
– Seems it’s not the bulb, the problem. More likely it’s your lamp that’s acting up

« The Lamp », John Arnyeck, Lost Editions, 678p.