A Light in the Dark is a short story written for the Liverpool Independents Biennial 2018. It features in an anthology of other writings from eight other talented writers from Liverpool and the surrounding areas.
When I began the IB18 project I was given free reign to write about whatever I wanted. Nobody loves a life without constraints more than me, but sometimes, particularly when it comes to a writing project like this, a little focus helps.
I wandered around the exhibitions, scribbling down the thoughts and feelings the artwork provoked. And then it came to me. Why not write about this very process?
A Light in the Dark is a story about creativity. How it lingers in all our brains, waiting to be called upon. It’s about that moment when creativity sparks to life and the glorious effect it can have on a person’s life. It’s about the hope, the satisfaction, the fulfilment and purpose it brings, even when life feels quite the opposite.
You can currently buy the anthology, Post-It, in all Liverpool bookshops: News From Nowhere, Waterstones etc. and as soon as it becomes available online I’ll post the link here. For now, here are the first few paragraphs.
A Light in the Dark
The clop of heels and wooden-soled shoes echoed off the looming buildings of Basnett Street. An autumnal wind sighed over the din of voices, bringing a chill that cut to the marrow. Some of the hunched forms looked his way. Never for long.
Silence, at last. He stood, slabs of ice where his feet should be. The shadows of the alley offered sanctuary. Deep into the gloom he found the basement window, the boxes shielding it unmoved. After a last glance over his shoulder, he shoved them out the way and slipped inside.
Mist billowed from his mouth moreso than outside. The smell of rot seemed worse than usual. Dark as Williamson Tunnels, he fumbled about for his torch. He’d found the palm-sized contraption outside the grand office of a law firm on Old Hall Street. It emitted a dim, flickering glow. Even without the torch, he knew his way. Three weeks he’d been here. It still made him smile. Living in the George Henry Lees building. The place he’d come to shop with his mum when he was a kid.
It had all happened by chance. One night as he passed the boarded-up building he noticed workers loading a van at the top of the alley beside it. He had slipped through a side door when they weren’t looking and hidden. A warm, dry night was all he was after, but nobody had returned. He had it all to himself. An empty palace.
He left the basement, made his way up what had once been the staff staircase. He glanced at the door leading to the ground level shop floor and froze. Clicked off his torch. Held his breath. Rushed to the wall closest the door and ducked down behind it. Light.