by Roz Levens
It had happened again. If she looked at the streetlight, she could make it go on. When she had walked safely under it to the next one, she would cast a scathing glance over her shoulder, and the previous light would obediently switch itself off. It was like witchcraft!
I followed her, in the depths of the shadows, asking care not to trespass into her pools of light. At the corner, she stopped, looking up.
“I said On!”
No response from the light.
“On. You don’t want to make me angry.”
The faintest glimmer from the bulb, then nothing.
“Nice try. One final chance. Glow, or I ring the council and it’s ‘Goodbye BC1746-2.'”
I could imagine the desperate struggle within the workings of the streetlight. It flashed into being.
“Thank you. Was that so very difficult?”
Wavering bravely, the light faded gently as she walked underneath, brightening when she glanced back. I was reminded of an exhausted soldier standing to attention under the fierce gaze of a sarn’t major, frightened of the backlash.
The light went out. I felt its relief. I tried it myself. Clearly I wasn’t intimidating. The light ignored me. I walked on.
In the darkness, a voice full of promise.
“Interested in the light, Twinkle? Come with me. The dark is much more interesting…”
I turned and ran.