Contributor: Christopher W. Trotter

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I lived above all, illuminating the darkness. I provided the gift of sight, but sight alone. I held off the shadows that pushed people down the stairs, saving them from pain and embarrassment. For a year I worked in secret. I guided each stranger that passed under me in the small stairwell.
I served from morning to dusk. I would get so hot that I’d burn you on touch, but I would labor on. Only at dusk would I be given the right to sleep, a short time to cool off before starting the cycle again.
No one asked if I wanted that job. I was simply born for the job, cursed from the beginning to work for others. No one told me what the job was. I just got screwed into the ceiling and was left there. Who would have chosen this? I was never thanked for my work. Most never knew I existed. One year a slave will be the name of my life story.
I remember my final morning with mixed emotions. The electricity that normally surged smoothly through my body was met with resistance. I flickered in pain and my master cursed at me. He reacted like I was intentionally resisting the electricity. I felt fear. I had no idea what would happen to me. That afternoon my fear was replaced with hope. Should I be unable to light the stairwell I would be set free.
That day people took notice of me. They looked as I strained myself harder and harder. I flickered and blinked, hissed and buzzed. Most of the strangers acted like my master, blaming me for my poor condition. I wasn’t deterred. I willed myself to be free, enduring the pain I knew to be temporary. Finally, at the end of the day, after the strangers had left, I felt a snap inside of me. Relief coursed throughout my body. No more pain tortured my old bones. I sighed one final sputter, as I grew dim. Dim at my choosing.
After that moment, everything grew cloudy, like I was looking through a thick fog, like I would normally see outside my window. I heard my master walk down the stairwell. After a moment, I was being spun around. The stairwell became a dizzy blur as my master released me from my prison and dropped me into a plastic bin.
And here I rest, free.
It’s already the next morning and I don’t have to shine. I don’t have to work to a boiling heat. I’m free. But, the haze has only gotten thicker, the world fainter. I hear the voices of the strangers as if from the other side of the building, though I know they’re in the stairwell because they are glad that I have been replaced.

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About Christopher W. Trotter:
Christopher is a student at Full Sail University. He is in the Creative Writing for Entertainment Bachelors degree program. He has written several flash fiction stories. Christopher's interests are: writing, reading, playing video games, and photography.
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