Horror Short Story 2: Light Switch

I really, really tried to get inspiration from the last short film I posted, titled Don’t Look Away by Chris Cox. I couldn’t do it. Instead, I had a look around the room and my eyes stopped on the light switch, of all things.

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Light Switch

Light switch.

The way it stares at me, hanging on the wall. It frightens me, makes me want to look away from it, makes me twist my head and gesticulate as if a bad smell is coming my way.

I hate looking at the light switch, not for what it signifies, but for what it portends. Light is a good thing. Light brings purity and discovery. And safety, and warmth. That’s not what I’m worried about. No, what I can’t stand is when the light switch is turned off, turned down towards the floor, towards Hell. That’s what I’m afraid of: the absence of light, the opposite of light, and all of the spiked little, toothy little things that come with its absence.

Darkness; that’s what I’m afraid of.

There are other people living here, but they’re all asleep. Even if they weren’t, they would not be able to help me. This is a roller coaster that climbs up, way, way up, and it inches along on its highest track before it teeters on the precipice, before it starts its doomed ascent. That is where I am, teetering on that top edge with my fingertip resting on the light switch.

I can’t bring myself to do it. I must step away, walking to the middle of the room, turning back, knowing I must turn that switch off, knowing what will happen if I do. But I must do it. Can you understand why I must? I must muster up my courage and defeat this thing, this light switch, before it defeats me. I must reach out and do this myself, as no one else can help me.

And I do. I reach out and apply pressure, angry pressure, to click the switch and drive the helpful light away, into oblivion. What is left… What is left…

In a low staccato, this is what I hear. Over and over, this is what I hear.

Heh, heh, heh…

An old man’s laugh, a laugh of dominance, malevolence, except no old men live here. I have to listen to it, trying to tell myself it isn’t real, trying to convince myself I am somehow hearing it, somehow making it up from the darker recesses of my imagination.

The laughter continues. I can’t stand it. It feels as if it is originating from just over my left shoulder, as if someone is standing there. The light, I must turn it back on, and I reach for it, and just as my fingers scramble about in the dark, just as I come to the light switch…

My hand closes over another hand, this one cold and withered, a hand I cannot see, but I can feel it. The hand is as real as mine.

Heh, heh, heh…

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