Now you don't see me

by James

Everything was burning. Every inch of his skin felt alight. He lay on his back in the sheer dark of his cave, cool rock beneath his naked skin more soothing than any lotion. Every day he grew more sensitive to the light.


He would have laughed but his throat was raw from the tendrils of light that had lanced deep into his body.

He slept for many hours. He slept as the sun drowned out the cries of the moon, reaching its zenith and then beginning its slow descent once more. It was a nagging grain of sand in his mind, millions of miles distant, and how many miles of rock now between them and yet still he could feel it. It did not matter which way he forced himself to sleep, when he awoke he was always facing the sun, as though some deep instinctual part of his mind knew to never turn his back on this enemy that seared his eyes and burned his skin.

From his bag he took the bottle of Crested Grebe and poured himself a measure. This was the one burn he enjoyed, because it was his choice to inflict it upon himself. He settled himself cross legged, took up his reader and connected the power cable. He lay it face down upon his thighs, waiting for that moment, that tingle, as the bonds of the interface formed themselves into the ridges and bumps of the living tactile interface.

He inserted the storage card and felt another tingle as the device quivered again. Another pattern traced itself against his skin, but this was unfamiliar, the meaning a mystery to the dull flesh of his body. He flipped the device, resting the rear of it on his legs, the screen open for his finger tips to trace the message

He smiled.

You smell.

Perhaps he did, of the cave, of the cold and the dark that were his normal.

She wrote him many letters each day, time on her hands because of her illness that shied her from the light, sent her screaming under the covers if the curtains were opened in the daytime. She put them on the memory card together with puzzles and crosswords and number games. When she felt able, on nights when the moon was behind the clouds her parents would take her to enjoy some fresh night air, under cover of the pergola they had blanketed with canvas.

It had been many weeks since he found a memory card stuck under one of the chairs with a piece of gum.

He began to read her earliest letter. She talked of Iceland, a country that sometimes only saw five hours of daylight, imagine it!

He had thought about places like that, longing for the cool and the dark, but five hours of daylight could not compare with his life down here in the always dark.

Feedback please!