Chapter 6: Island of light

In which more dark secrets are exposed.

The large owl hooted once and fell silent, turning her head in consternation. Humans were not welcome here at this time of the night!

Jon couldn't care less. It was not as if he was welcome anywhere else either. At least here in the woods at midnight he wouldn't run into people. Even with a flashlight the forest would be dark and forbidding. He knew the feeling all too well: As a kid he had been afraid of the dark. It seems strange now. A creature of the Darkness, afraid of the dark? But he had not really known, back then. He had known that he was somehow different, and that something bad had happened because of him. But he did not really understand, back then. He only understood that he was alone, afraid, in the dark. It would still be a few years before he understood, before he realized that he belonged in the darkness.

When he was eight, he came to a new foster family. His new "parents" taught him about demons; and they ought to know, they were deeply religious people. They had shown him pictures and told him stories. To be honest, the pictures did not look much like him. He probably took after his mother mostly. But he did have a long, sharp face... and the eyes. Eyes with large black irises. Not like human eyes at all. He had his father's eyes, and that was all that counted. And so he finally came to believe in his heart what had only been a shapeless sense of guilt: He was a demon-spawn, begotten in sin and destined for darkness. They had tried to save him. They had been good and kind and loving. They had taught him to pray and to meditate on the holy Scriptures. They had taken him in like one of their own children. But in the end he has failed them – no, betrayed them – and they had to send him away. Before he could destroy them all.

He had begun to see the blue light already while he lived there, but not clearly, just a flickering of blue in the darkness. He had learned that blue light was the light of the Devil. And during his teen years that light grew stronger, until it became what it was now.

Jon stopped and looked around. Around him for a distance of ten meters in all directions, everything was clearly visible in the weird electric blue light. Dark-sight. Demon-sight. It was not truly a matter of light, for no one else could see it, and it even reached down through the ground. He looked down right now, followed the roots of the nearest tree deep into the stone-specked earth, seeing a few worms slowly working their way through the humus. Clearly this was some sort of second sight, like some occultists claimed to have. Except he was born to his, and it never failed him. It was his heritage, from the father he had never met. His mother had died without telling anyone. Died rather than telling anyone. So terrible was the secret that was Jon Rye.

He started to walk again, and the island of blue light followed him. He imagined human shapes outside the circle of light, shaking their angry fists at him. He could almost hear their voices. "Liar! Trickster! Demon! Demon! Demon!"

He was a liar, he was a trickster. An ophtalmologist had managed to create a set of contact lenses that let through enough light yet hid enough of the blackness. They had tried brown, but it did not show against the black. This special blue material reflected enough light, and made it possible for him to pose as a human. The ophtalmologist believed it was just a simple mutation, perhaps a throwback to an older form of pigmentation like in some animals with dark eyes. And Jon let him believe it, even though at 16 his darksight was already fairly well developed. A small deception for one who ultimately descended from the Prince of Lies.

He had moved away, far away, and begun a life of pretense. Sooner or later it would catch up with him, and the more he mingled with humans, the sooner. But for now, he could pretend. Yet sometimes, like tonight, he could not stand it anymore. He could not stand to live in the human world, to see the sights and hear the sounds of civilization. And the darkness inside him would drive him out in the wilderness, in the darkness where he belonged.

He gathered his mind and began to expand the circle of light. He could not see through things that way, but he could see in the dark at least. He kept stretching it: Thirty meters, forty, fifty ... the line wavered as he made the forest shine blue for almost a hundred meters in all directions. And then he let it fall. The large isle of light collapsed, and darkness raced in toward him from all directions. He closed his eyes and imagined that it continued all the way, that it swallowed him and buried him in a darkness that was as deep as his own. He knew that when he opened his eyes he would see the ten meters circle of eerie blue light, and it would follow him until dawn. But for now, he preferred the illusion as he curled up on the cold ground. A womb of darkness for the Child of the Dark.