Light and Dark

Fiction by Christopher Woods

Every night the same, he would go looking for her. In parks, in garbage cans, at the dark riverside, anywhere where he thought he might have left her. His dreams were filled with guilt.

She slept for always, in a dark place, where he had placed her so gently. But she continued to dream, and when she did, she dreamed of light.

After many months, his health suffered from lack of good sleep. His dreams were long and often exhausting journeys. Even when he was hospitalized, the journeys continued.

In time, she learned that she could imagine light. A warm, soothing glow from the other side, from life. So drawn to it, she recovered from her eternal sleep, rose and walked again.

The doctors could not help him. He was placed in a ward for the soon to be dead. He knew few people, and none of them came to see him. They had moved on.

She felt as though she wanted to give back, to do something. She was so thankful to be alive again.

He fell into a long coma from which he never awakened. No one could know what he dreamt, but the constant twitching of his legs suggested walking, even running.

She became a volunteer at a local hospital. She delivered mail and flowers to patients. She lingered in the ward for the dying. It was a lonely place, but she knew well about such places.

In the depth of his coma, he could sense her presence. His legs stopped their incessant movement. He began to relax, to drift away.

She held his hand as he passed. She smiled at the peace on his face, with the thought of where he would be going. And she felt no guilt about it. Whatsoever.

Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His work has appeared in THE SOUTHERN REVIEW, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW, NEW ORLEANS REVIEW, COLUMBIA and GLIMMER TRAIN, among others. His photographs can be seen in his gallery –

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