A.J. Walker


The Light

Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 269

The Light

Daniel was stressed. He hated making decisions. He’d live with problems day after day, even year after year, rather than make a decision and then acting on it. He was the King of Procrastination when it came to avoidance. Or was he the King of Avoidance when it came to procrastination? He’d never decide.

But today was a red letter day: a big decision made, and action.

It had been four years, 2024, since taking up the Light of Life offer. The earliest of adopters, he’d been lucky enough to get a sweet deal that made many of his acquaintances jealous. The Light of Life (LoL) became the ultimate device for the home, for the family: for loved ones.

It had started of as such a simple and beautiful idea. A person you loved had passed away: ’
Still see them every day with a LoL.’ When you purchased it you provided as much information as you could, including photographs, dates, comments on traits and, crucially, access to social media. The company would build a three dimensional image of the person held within a model lightbulb. It wasn’t a lightbulb, it was just a simple everyday form chosen for the ‘ultimate living memorial.’ The Light.

In Daniel’s case he’d been hit hard by the passing of his father. The
Light of Life advertising was compelling when he first saw it. They were new and it was a matter of happy timing. He’d have more that simple photographs of his dad. He’d have a permanent moving memorial to him that could follow him around the room. Then they added the talk feature. He actually talked like him (they used two YouTube videos for reference). It was eery yet comforting hearing him ask ‘How was your day?’ or ‘What you having for dinner?’ ‘The team were shite yesterday. What did you think?

For three years he’d had these conversations. It became as much a part of his day as having a shower or making a coffee. His father wasn’t dead, he was very much still with him.

LoL Ltd. quickly expanded to a behemoth that bestrode the world. Whilst everyone who knew Daniel thought he’d got the best deal ever, he’d become jealous of the people who hadn’t bought into the Light. Most people who didn’t have them purely because of the extortionate monthly fee for hosting and maintaining their ‘loved one’ in the Light Cloud.

As information became ever more available the product became more complex. His dad had been updated dozens of times and now when his image played in the living room in all it’s 3D glory he’d wonder at how his wardrobe was so much his dad’s – even with new clothes. He swore that on some days he could almost smell his aftershave.

He wasn’t sure when exactly it changed but he’d started recently to think it wasn’t right living with your dad after he’d died. Talking to him about the daily grind or the neighbour’s dog:
He’s dead I’m talking to a projection plucked out of clouds of ones and zeroes.

He was increasingly having days thinking he should get rid of his
dad. The Light: not his dad. It was so hard to think of it as not a person. They talked every day! He’d argued with him about what he was eating, about his choice of car, his girlfriends. Daniel had problems making love with his girlfriends or even masturbating. His dad was in the next room tutting or marking him out of ten. The Cloud was always listening. So his dad must be.

So today Daniel, stressed beyond belief, was finally going to kill the Light. It felt like a crime. He wondered about checking on the net but knew his dad would then know his plans.

He left his house that night with the Light in a padded box. He couldn’t even treat it without care when he was going to dispose of it. He drove carefully through town with the box on the passenger seat, sat on a cushion with the seat belt on.

‘Where are we going?’ Came his dad’s voice.

One of the updates had included offline working. Daniel had never known. He’d always stayed in the living room.

‘Son, where are we going?’

Daniel had never handled surprises well. He lost control of the car. It smashed into one the ubiquitous downtown
Light of Life offices. Daniel passed away beside the damnable memorial to his dad. The Light lay unbroken.

WC: 750