Embarrassment. Humiliation. Shame. That was the story of my life. A short, plump, slightly overweight girl in hideous clothes. My entire life has been a series of disgraceful incidents which left me deeply sympathetic of the feelings of others around me. I attended the educational institution that modern people call a school where I was part of the walls unnoticed and ignored till I posed a target to the popular crew who derived immense pleasure from scorning and mocking me, treating me with contempt and derision. I was always the strange kid whom nearly everyone saw as peculiar. Clearly never accepted, I remained a misfit, an outsider.
The most magical and extraordinary day in a girl’s life is her sixteenth birthday, the day my life turned upside down. It was magical in a way I had never imagined. It was the day I acquired the ability to see people, not what they present but what they were really. I could see the Light in people. The purer their soul, the whiter was the glow of their spirit.
I had always loved reading. Fantasy is my favorite genre. Unsurprisingly, my obsession with fantasy caused me to see monsters and devils lurking in every shadow. But my sight taught me evil is not a colossal, hulking creature with slobbering fangs and unholy screeching. A universal force it is in us, in every being created. It twists the mind of the weak, who yield and fall prey to it while those of strong minds resist its pull. I could see those few pure, untouched souls whose essence shone white and those dark, black souls burning with hatred, jealousy, rage, greed, revenge.
I felt the evil slowly overwhelming the good. Fewer white souls were left with every passing day. I sensed them struggling against the lure of evil but not many prevailed. Darkness left none unscathed. The world was a mixture of good and evil, present in all in different proportions, providing a dark undertone to the Light of their life. As time passed, Darkness permeated everyone. My power developed and I felt the aura of evil pressing around me, loathing my presence, considering ways to exterminate me.
My next shock came in a few days. Being used to the presence of Darkness around me, I was startled to see a man glowing pure white amidst the servants of evil. His entire physique was seemed to be composed of pure light. The very air around him lit up with the innate goodness I felt emanating from him. Instantly the Light in the people around me flared brighter, overwhelming the Darkness for a moment. I stared at the man who felt quite familiar, though I knew there was no earthly way I could have met him before. He met my shocked gaze with a kindly smile and said “We have work to do, my friend.”
It was such an extraordinary pronouncement that it distracted me from the wave like quality of his voice, like his words floated in air.
“Who are you?” My voice came out in a whisper.
“Don’t you know?” he asked. He chuckled at my bewildered expression and continued “I am the Light.”
“Kind of obvious” I muttered. “Uh …Mr. Light, are you like sunlight or moonlight or…”
He chortled and spoke majestically “I am the Light, the good in all. I stand for hope, love, ethics, morals, honesty and everything that is good.” His form wavered. “This is just a manifestation. Light and Darkness are two forces of the Universe. Once in a while, Darkness threatens to swallow the Light. It has to be pushed back. The Universe works on a balance between Light and Darkness, the good and evil. Neither can be destroyed or contained.”
“So evil is essential for the proper functioning of the Universe?” I asked, confused by this analogy.
“You hit the nail right on the head. Well, at least as long as both are in proportion. But the present dark times signify the tipping of the scales in favor of evil. It has to be subdued. It has to be surmounted for achieving a balance.”
“By me?” I choked.
His luminous eyes compassionate, he nodded “You have the power of the daughter of Light, my daughter, a victim of Darkness. Channel it. Use it to gather the Light, to defeat evil.”
“I am possessed by a victim of Darkness. Wonderful.” I muttered sarcastically.
“No, not possessed. You have her skills, her life-force in you. She was the apple of my eye. Alas, her fate had other ideas. Evil succeeded in eliminating her. It couldn’t tolerate her presence. Darkness has no offspring. It just multiplies, feeding on despair and hate. Nevertheless, Light doesn’t die, so she is still there with me. Her spirit lives on, spreading good where it is most needed.”
“Oh” I mumbled, not knowing what to say.
“Anyway, good luck” he wished and vanished, melting into tiny beams of Light.
I had no inkling on how to go about my quest. After Mr. Light’s appearance, the Light in everyone grew stronger. I used it to augment the Light and shield them from the Darkness infiltrating their mind. Evil sensed my intentions and I felt its rage. I was terribly frightened but did not let it stop me. My existence was for a reason. If I let fear conquer me and failed the people, it would be worse than death.
The day I anticipated and dreaded soon arrived. Darkness decided to confront me. I stood alone in a small garden with cheerful, gurgling fountains on that moonless night. The forces of evil surrounded me but I repelled them with my Light. The whole world had gone eerily silent, watching a battle raging between a sixteen year old girl and the entire Darkness at its prime.
As good and evil clashed, the way it has for eons and will for eons, lightning cackled, thunder crashed at evil’s will but I perceived only the malice, the hostility encircling me. I tried to suppress it but I was exhausted after a few hours. Darkness did not relent and pushed further as I tried to shrink and contain it, extending tendrils of malevolence from it dark cloak to swathe the earth. Hopelessness loomed inside me, endangering my chances of overcoming my foe.
Mr. Light’s voice suddenly spoke, making me jump. ‘I am hope……Use it to gather the Light, to defeat evil….’ I realized that my subconscious had scoured my brain and come up with the very words I needed to save the known world. Perhaps it had a little help from the daughter of Light. My despair was aiding the Darkness. I resolved to give evil a taste of its own medicine but in my style. I thought of all the good remaining, the bright Light in people, my effort to fortify it. I thought of what made Light stronger than Darkness, the way the sun erased the darkness with his dazzling rays and the moon kept even the night bright. I thought of how new hope was born with the arrival of light. I felt power surge through me. The strength of all the good left on earth charged me, boosted me. I experienced the Light course through me, blazing against the Darkness. I was the mediator who wielded the Light. I tapped into the potential of the daughter of Light, really feeling her presence for the first time, using it to illuminate the world and lead it out of the dark. I blasted the evil with the intensity of my emotions- sacrifice, hope, truth, faith, belief, love -the things that supported the Light.
The evil slowly dissipated, its manifestation breaking into wisps of Darkness that vanished, unable to withstand the full force of Light. I looked down and saw I was aglow, radiant in the quiet garden, set ablaze by my sentiments. The Light faded gradually with the ebb of the passion that sparked me. I was left standing alone in the deserted garden, just having thwarted the Darkness about to engulf the world. I turned and saw my old friend, Mr. Light, smiling through the gloom. He was shimmering stronger than ever and I felt his gratitude and jubilation as he dissolved bit by bit.
The world shone vividly, the Light bold and optimistic after the combat. The world was not rid of evil but good definitely had the upper hand, at least for a while, if not for eternity. Nature itself seemed to be rejoicing at the downfall of Darkness with chirping birds fluttering about and flowers blossoming out of season, their sweet fragrance a reminder of the wonders good could work. It was common to see white souls now, with the end of the evil battering them. Black spirits still wandered about but with Light working its magic, I had no doubt they would be better off than they were. Darkness still breathed evil thoughts in the minds of men but didn’t do any lasting harm. With evil banished, it looked like the world was born anew, fresher and more glorious.
My life took a new turn after my confrontation with evil. Of course, people still found me bizarre and unnerving and I was not credited as savior of the world but I learnt to be happy with what I had. I appreciated the good things about my life and was much happier than before. I found a new friend, the daughter of Light, who I named Melissa. She was my constant companion and I could feel her emotions and even speak to her, within the confines of my mind. She had chosen to make me her temporary home as I was sensitive to feelings of others around me even before I could see the Light. My receptive mind could use her powers. She had to wait till I was old enough to understand and strong enough to withstand. Now, my life had started again and I was determined to make the most of it.
Don’t let the Darkness vanquish the Light in you. The fate of world may lie on your shoulders in the future, as it did on me, a sixteen year old girl.