Nightlight

During the hours past everyone’s curfew, there are only two different kinds of lights to be seen – the ones in the moonlit sky, and the one inside the tent.

Tonight, it’s his turn to keep watch on the lampstand so it doesn’t burn out, and watches the way oil burns. He’s not sure whether the lightheadedness inside his head is due to a form of mesmerisation, or a drowsiness that threatens to make him fail his assigned task.

He shakes his head to clear the feeling, and stretches his limbs upwards and out, hearing the satisfying crack of joints being popped. He checks the jar of olive oil for the umpteenth time, as if afraid it would sprout legs and walk off from sheer boredom.

But he remains at his vigil. It wouldn’t do now to sneak off, because like the way he watches the flame, he knows of others who watch him in a similar manner. In a way, the light guides him so that even the shadow it casts behind him entices others to be curious about what lies on the other side of the darkness, and eventually follow him to the light.

The clear oil produces a pure flame, and he settles deeper in his chair as preparation for what the light may bring.

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