|9" x 15" oil and acrylic on board|
The inky black of the side street was broken only by a single light. Its amber glow touched down on the recently disturbed side walk. The concrete had within the circle of light only one tenant, a young man who could barely have stepped foot into his twenties. His solid form created an oasis of shadow contained by the light. The lamppost stood above him, a sentinel in the dark. It was doing its job well.
The lamppost’s warm light fell upon the messy mop of hair that capped the still head of the young man. The light slid deep into his increasingly pale skin, and collected on his cheeks and forearms. He was well lit from above, and not a visible inch of him was outside the reach of the lamppost’s light. The mercury vapor bulb continued to shine. Years of wear had done little to hamper its effectiveness. It was a good lamp; it did its job well.
As the night drew on, the ground beneath the young man continued to darken. This was not by fault of the lamp. The dark spot was fluidic, and flared with the reflected amber light. With deep red hue, the darkness continued to spread. It trailed off beyond the faint boundary of where the light met the dark.
The young man began to stir. Tonight, the constant drone of the lamppost’s bulb was accompanied by a soft gurgling. This could be traced to its source, deep within the lungs of the slumped figure. His tensed shoulders loosened against the grey steel of the lamppost’s supporting pole. It was a very sturdy pole, and it had aided the lamp in its years of hard work. Held aloft by the pole; the lamp shone on in the dark night as it had for years and as it would.
Now the gurgling, caused by the dark hole through his abdomen, slowed. The wound was ragged and deep, and well lit on the surface. The depths of the hole were lost to the pervasive dark. The deep red of his blood seeped into his once white shirt. Perhaps a surgical lamp would have revealed more of the grievous wound, but the lamp had done all it was required to. The lamp was not ambitious, nor was it able to be. It was a good lamp, and it did only the job it was made to do.