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Shades of Gray - Short Horror Story

January 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 151

I cannot help but to every so often sit and contemplate the meaning of things, how a man gazing from his window, watching the leaves breeze by, seems to know a little too much about the many shades of gray, those of the literal and those of meaning, and the very nature of existence.

How often is one inspired to sit and ponder such things, and also ponder that which we take for granted about what we believe we know? I can especially recall a rather shady day many years ago, the events of which are still vivid and clear in my mind. The very core and definition of these recalled events are yet rather shady to me, both literally and abstractly.

My recollection of the strangeness of that brisk, late August day begins with its most glorious of sunsets. I had been taking my usual shortcut through my neighbor's yard from the street behind my own. I had been paying special attention to this sunset, and the very mood of things at the time.

With every step, I caught a refreshing lungful of cool, nature-conditioned and fragranced air, as a wooing zephyr ran its fingers through my hair. Even the sunset carried with it such soft-spoken pleasures, and bore such beautiful hues that, if impressed by happenstance upon the casual wanderer, its shades of waning day would be long remembered. Such hues upon God's great canvas I had never before seen the sun paint, along with shady, yet almost living, breathing strokes of animated gray clouds. Even the sun itself seemed to thrive in two worlds as it took its residence on the horizon. Balance, or the seeking for it, was one world, and the other was Judgment, reserved for the end of the day.

However, as I continued towards my house, and the waning beams of light let on thickening layers of darkness, those shades of gray, the entire scene remained altogether acquiescent, almost painfully peaceful, and deeply devoid of any sound or commotion from within or without. As I continue to inspect this very scene over and over in my mind, I find that it seemed to foreshadow the scenes that unfolded in a somewhat similar fashion later that evening.

Indeed, later that evening, as I was relaxing in the solarium, things remained to be strangely quiet. Ironically, a loud, persistent knock on the back door broke the silence.

"Who in the world might be knocking at my door," I thought to myself, "at this time of night?"

I cautiously stood up and slowly trod towards the door, and opened it in just the same fashion. To my relief, it was simply a young-looking man, with yet a few years more on him than I, standing on the other side. I noticed that he was carrying a professional-looking briefcase, whose contents, as well as the importance pertaining thereto, I am to this day still unsure of. He mentioned his name to me as I began to welcome him in. However, over the years, I have forgotten what it was. I do recall the gist of our initial conversation.

"I am trying to keep away from him," the fellow spoke, "and it is important that I hide myself away for just a little while. The dark one must not find me and what I carry."

"No problem," I replied in an effort to calm him somewhat, "I have an extra room. You can stay and work with your things in there."

"Thank you," he began again, "I really appreciate it. I wish I had a way to repay you."

"Don't worry about it," I reassured him, "I'm sure that your mission is indeed important. I'll do what I can to help. Just the mention of a 'dark one' sends chills up my spine. Oh, by the way, I was about to get along to bed myself. I'll show you to your room on the way."

We went about our way through the house, and I indeed showed him to the room, which is located near mine. That was fortunate enough, for if there was to be any trouble, I was only a room away.

From there, the fellow began shuffling through his mysterious, yet obviously important briefcase. I checked up on the rest of the house, as I prepared for what was to be a good night's sleep - or so I thought.

I had already been sleeping comfortably when there came a ring on the doorbell and a loud, yet perfectly measured series of knocks on the door. As I sat up quickly in surprise, I wondered for the second time that night who could possibly be at the, door at such a time. Yet, could this time be the coming of this 'dark one' as it was foretold by my guest, looking for his target, his victim, his prey, his enemy?

With that thought in mind, I proceeded out of bed to greet he who was on the other side of the door. It was to be the only way that I would lay to rest my apprehensions as well as shed some light on my guest and the so-named 'dark one'.

As I approached the door, I put my eye on the peephole to catch a glimpse of my second late-night guest. What I saw puzzled me and yet even worried me somewhat. I saw nothing. Literally nothing. It appeared that the whole neighborhood had just blacked out and become darkness.

For a few seconds, I stood there, frozen-like, weighted down with heavy ponderings. Yes, the night had continued to lay upon our half of the world its layers of darkness, the sun had set upon our wrath and into its world of judgment, and the world still yet almost seemed strangely devoid of sound...I could hear my own heart beating.

Could it have been judgment on the other side of the door, he who will come to them that are not ready, as a "thief in the night"? Or the "blackness and darkness of death" which is reserved for them at judgment? Or possibly, the concentrated powers of evil to thwart a holy mission for good?

At long last, I opened the door, and took a single step out. It was there, at such a close proximity, that I noticed what the darkness was that I first witnessed from behind the door. It was, in actuality, the 'dark one' himself.

I stood frozen again, before this shade, this shade of a man that might be, or might have been. Yes, I stood before him, I in my balance, and he in judgment. A shade of gray he surely was.

"I am looking for a young fellow," the dark one spoke with a slow sureness, "who goes by a certain name."

A name was mentioned by him, a name which most certainly belonged to the man that had become reluctant guest in my home.

"Tell me if you have seen him," the dark one beseeched, "or if he is here."

"I've met no one by that name," said I while attempting to keep a straight face, "and in the name of Jesus Christ, get thee away from this place and never return."

Those were the last words we spoke one to another; I immediately stepped back inside, being the least bit interested in seeing what mode of travel that dark man used, whether the four winds or just two dark feet.

That was that. I decided to attempt to sleep the rest of the night and not dwell too much on those events before the daylight and hope dawned once more. Come morning, I would also bid my happenstance guest goodbye and good luck.

Indeed, the events that transpired that night were peculiar, mind-boggling, yet altogether thought-provoking. I hadn't noticed on that day, but as I have of late given it much further thought, I find that it was yet just as much a lesson for me as it was a small part of the struggle between good and evil. The sunset that day, its shades of gray, its clouds, the sun itself existing in two worlds, the coming of night, and the next morning seemed to all mirror me and aspects of myself.

With the sunset and ending of the day, I remembered the Biblical saying "let the sun not go down upon your wrath", in which the true meaning to be gained is that one should not rest in the fight for good. Settle what you can before the sun goes down and the night becomes you. Settle what you can in life before your sunset quickly approaches and death becomes you, that you would be prepared for the eternity you will face afterwards. Be a benefactor for holiness, and the unending internal conflict of the cosmos.

The sun on the horizon signified my very nature. The image of the sun on the horizon symbolizes existence in two worlds, one being balance, and the other judgment. The greater aspect of the nature of the cosmos is represented by the setting sun. The universe is balance, ordered chaos, mathematical spontaneity. Yet, with the setting of the sun, comes the struggle, and the judgment itself, with the old universe eventually wearing down, Heaven coming down to all those blessed, and the darkness and blackness of death in the lake of fire reserved for the unrepented. We find that the young fellow represents balance, as well as the struggle. The dark one represents judgment, in another way signifies evil, and yet in another way the coming of the darkness and blackness of death for whom it is reserved.

The young man and the dark one even represent the respective sides of myself and each one of us. The man held himself true and balanced, and carried his work with him. I suppose that his briefcase can be compared to that which all of us should carry and work from in talking to others about God, and working for Him: God's Word. Let neither any person, nor the clouds of stresses gone by (like unto the clouds blotting out wonderful hues in the perfect sunset), nor evil things, change it or blot it. The dark one was that thief in the night, the darkest shade of gray (both literally and abstractly), the dark blot coming to throw out the good. The unlikely guest was yet prepared and inside the house of balance and true chaos was not let in.

With the wrath now gone and the peace of the good night coming, the sun, as well as hope, would indeed dawn again. Yes, dear God, I'm ready for the struggle. Love is the light that conquers all other shades of gray!

The author teaches martial arts in South Carolina, and is a native of Lake City. View his first officially published book of poetry online for free, over at Moonlit Journey - online book.

Source: EzineArticles
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