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They Stood

When she was formed, they filled her with liquid light. It flowed through her, shining in her veins and warming all around her.

She sprang already grown, into the world, and saw grey.

She walked first passed a man with no home, and her heart – for she was all heart – burned with his pain. Kneeling beside him, sitting alongside his hurt, she gave some of her light to him, and watched as he changed before her eyes. He stood, and stood, and stood. And she couldn’t help but smile. She had made such a difference, and her light was barely dimmed. A drop from a vast ocean.

Her light was finite. The world was infinite.

She gazed upon two people who loved deeply, but a barrier surrounded them both, dark with confusion and unspoken secrets. They reached out, hands desperate to touch, but always were foiled by their own burdens – unseen. With a smile, she shared some of her light, and the barrier shattered, and the two embraced, no barriers. Again her light dimmed but a fraction – just one dust spec from a spiderweb.

Her light was finite. The world was infinite.

She saw many more. People of all genders obscured by fears, hatreds, worries. And each time she smiled, and gave them her light. Each time she knew she faded slightly, but she knew they had need. Her light when shared made troubles fade, and she would do so again in a heartbeat.

The years passed, and her once-golden skin had faded to a dark grey. Only seldom now did

a trickle of light move through her veins. She had so little left. Her hair, once gleaming as if

threaded with sun, now hung lifeless. Yet still a curious smile rested on her face.

She sat in a deserted park, feeling the last of the light weaving its way through her. Her last

link to life, her last touch of life.

A late autumnal breeze whispered through the park, shifting leaves that curled and danced

amongst the green. Swings and roundabouts were perfectly polished chrome, strange and

alien amongst the muted colours of nature. Rising from the cold lifeless tarmac.

There was a young child, hunched over a swing. Their feet scraped along the tarmac, as

they half-heartedly lifted themselves up and let themselves go in a strangely arrhythmic


She couldn’t help but walk over, and she knelt beside the child.

They couldn’t see her. Could they ever?

She looked into their eyes, so defiant and held remorselessly without tears. With an anger

that managed to turn this grey park into something far colder. A life of anger lay ahead for

them, almost without end. A life of grey without colour. A life without life.

But she had only one thread of light left.

For the first time, she didn’t smile.

She looked up at the sky, seeking the sun, obscured by clouds that promised heavy rain. She looked down at the grass, seeking colour or flowers, hidden and choked by weeds. Within her, that final thread of gold, the final drop of sunlight.

She rested her hand on the child’s shoulder. Her last gift was not one drop in an ocean, not one thread in a spiderweb. It was one last, agonised breath.

The cold rushed in, deeper and harsher than anything she had known. She froze where she stood, her skin turning to stone in an instant, all light gone.

She was finite. The world infinite.


They were the only one in the park. They sat half-heartedly on a swing, barely able to think.

All they could see were the fists, the taunting. All they could hear were the words: nothing;

waste; useless; never. Round and round, like a turning, tumbling wheel.

Powerless. Surrounded by people. Surrounded by people, but never more alone.

Their feet scuffed slightly on the tarmac. This place was theirs, a place to think, a place to rage impotently at the world, a place to spend the time in fantasies of taking back their life.

A whisper of something in the park, something more than just the wind.

They scuffed their feet again on the tarmac, driving away any thoughts of something more. Their thoughts wrapped a hundred times in the colour of anger. Everything seen through that cracked lens. Everything heard beneath incessant shouting.

Fists clenched on the swing chains. Then unclenched in a sudden moment of fear, remembering how it felt when fists struck. Then clenched again - the knowledge that they could do the same filled them with a rush of dizzying possibilities. There followed a confused horror - but their fists stayed clenched, and a grim resignation. They would not be powerless again.

They looked up at the sun, and saw nothing but clouds. Dark, fierce clouds that promised

rain. Rain they hoped would drown them.

A feeling on their shoulder. An itch? A strange warmth...

...then nothing.

They looked upwards again.

Still the dark clouds, still the rage. But for a moment – just a fraction of a moment – the sun

shone through them. A few misty bars of sunlight streaking across the grey sky. They felt

lighter in that sudden moment than they had in years.

For that moment, the rage faded. And they saw in a sudden clarity that they were not going

to be beaten down. They let go of their fists.

Shivering slightly, noticing for the first time the cold, they stood.

And stood, and stood, and stood.


I wrote this short piece about six months ago. It has pseudo-religious symbolism, but is really just a thought exercise. What would a wholly good "being", with the power to inspire and help humans, end up doing? My thought - bleak, I know! - was that eventually they would end up drained and vanishing. But not before having a huge impact on the world around them.

I'm always looking for feedback and comments on the writing, so feel free to respond below!

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