Wisteria’s Short Story #3: The Lights

Ambrose eyed the massive throng of people moving through the station with tired eyes. He put his sunglasses on to help darken the glaring lights that emitted from each and every person. Though he had often heard how people described auras, the lights he saw were much different. Instead of just having a contained glow around them, everyone Ambrose saw radiated a bright, powerful light. Although it was annoying at times, the man had learned to use his gift to his advantage.

Spotting a person who was giving off a bright green light, Ambrose stood from where he was seated and made a beeline for the individual. As he was approaching the man in question, Ambrose saw that the busy commuter’s wallet was hanging precariously far out of his pocket. After a few steps the wallet fell to the floor and was in danger of being swallowed up by the crowds. Reaching down to scoop up the wallet, Ambrose caught up to the man and returned the item.

“Wow! Thanks! I don’t know what I’d do if I lost this right now!” the man exclaimed, his face almost as bright as the light he was giving off. “Here, please take this as a token of my thanks!”

Ambrose graciously took the large bill he was handed, smiling and waving as the man continued about his way. The moment he had the money in his hand, the light coming off of the man changed to a bright yellow color. Ambrose quickly made his way back to the bench he was roosting on and started to search the crowds once more. 

The different colors coming off of people meant different things. Green meant that the person was going to give him something. Blue meant that they would become friends with him easily. Yellow meant that any encounter with them would be neutral and not benefit either party. Orange meant that Ambrose would be negatively impacted by interacting with them. Purple signaled that Ambrose should stay away from them at all costs.

He had seen the lights coming off of people since he was a child, though after telling his parents and seeing their reactions he had decided to keep his gift to himself. After all, it was only useful to him; no one else would really profit from the information. Keeping his secret to himself, Ambrose sought to live the best life he could by knowing exactly what every encounter would bring.

While staring out at the crowd of people, Ambrose’s heart started to beat faster. He couldn’t tell what it was, but there was something different that was both exciting and frightening. After scanning the crowd once more, he realized what had caused his body to react in such a way.

Walking through the mass of people was someone with a bright red light. He had never seen such a color before and wondered what it could possibly mean. He had seen and figured out all other colors throughout the years and had never really wondered if there were more yet to discover. Standing from his perch, Ambrose waded through the crowd towards the source of the light, his heart pounding in his chest and breathing labored and heavy. He was terrified of who he was about to meet, but knew that it might be his only chance to discover what the color of the light meant.

The crowd parted and he came face-to-face with the source of the red light. It was radiating from the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his entire life. She was nose-deep in a book and unaware that Ambrose was standing before her. Too surprised by her appearance to move out of the way in time, Ambrose merely watched as the woman ran into him, knocking them both over. He caught her on his chest, smiling at her look of shock and embarrassment.

“Hi. I’m Ambrose.”

The woman let out a small laugh at how nonchalantly he was acting. She stood and offered him her hand to help him up.

“Nice to meet you, Ambrose. My name’s Ruby.”

Ambrose was returning from yet another successful shopping trip, heavy bags adorning both arms as he walked. He had found a green-light vendor who was willing to give him a discount and a blue-light worker who told him where the best quality meats were sold. He had avoided all yellow, orange, and purple-light workers, and as such he was in a great mood. Checking to make sure that he had gotten everything on his wife’s shopping list, Ambrose continued on his way home with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.

Ruby was allowed to come home from the hospital with their child that day, and the excitement of being a new father to a beautiful baby girl was more than he could ask for. He quickly returned home, stocked the fridge and pantry with his recent purchases, and got into his car to drive to the hospital. The car seat was already set up in the back seat, and there were extra cushions and blankets for both mother and child have a comfortable car ride home.

That night, the new family sat together in the living room and enjoyed each others’ company. Both Ruby and Diane radiated bright red lights that Ambrose was overjoyed about. He knew that he was sitting with the two most important women in his life and that they would always be a happy family together. When it started to get late, they decided to put the sleeping angel in her crib and call it a night.

Instead of sleeping soundly, Ambrose tossed and turned in bed. Something was decidedly wrong, though he couldn’t figure out what. Realizing that sleep wasn’t an option, he decided to go check on his fresh bundle of joy to take his mind off of things and improve his mood. Walking as quietly as he could, he made his way to the crib, leaning over and expecting to see his daughter’s red light shine into his eyes. Yet, when he looked into the crib, there was a distinct absence of red light radiating from the newborn. Instead, her light was weakly shining and grey. Ambrose didn’t know what it meant. He watched as her light slowly faded until it was completely gone.

Fearing what the fading light meant, Ambrose reached down to touch his sleeping babe. She was cold. Too cold. He picked her up to find her unresponsive. Putting her his ear to her chest alerted him to the fact that there was no heartbeat. He had watched his own daughter die before him and had done absolutely nothing to stop it. The cry that erupted from his lips was one of sadness, pain, and self-hatred.

Every day since Diane’s passing resulted in a lighter shade of red light coming from Ruby. Almost three years to the day after their first child succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome, his wife’s light no longer shone red; it had changed to an apathetic yellow. Months later, she had no answers for the doctors when they asked her why her husband and mutilated himself and taken away his sight. Though she had watched him boil the large pot of water and subsequently pour it onto his face, she didn’t know why he would ever do such a thing.

After years of therapy and getting used to life without sight, Ruby and Ambrose’s relationship became stronger than ever before. Though he could no longer see anything, he would have bet his life that her light was shining just as brightly and red as it was when they first met. Though it took him nearly half his life to figure it out, Ambrose didn’t need his gift to be happy. His true source of happiness came from within.

What’d you think of the story? Do you see things that others don’t? Do you wish you did? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy reading, writing, working, and living!

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