Chris sits in front of his computer, in the dark, once again. He can’t sleep and what is even worse is the internet is down.

The only thing useful that doesn’t require internet access is some writing apps, and some porn he previously downloaded.

The first thing he checks, via his mobile phone, is whether he paid the internet bill. He did not, but that wasn’t why his internet was down. Apparently, there is an outage in the area. He pays the past due portion, just in case, resets the router a few times, and resigns himself to no internet until it’s fixed.

“Well, there goes playing some video games,” he thinks.

So he opens up the writing app, and starts to think about what he will say.

He was hoping for some kind of distraction. Instead he has to actually think.

He thinks about what to write.

First he thinks he should write about not having internet, and then he thinks that is boring.

“What about my fear of being myself?” he thinks. Maybe. But that’s a whole can of worms. Can’t really explain that without going into the whole sad story of his existence.

He searches his mind for some defining moment that changed him, something that made him who he was.

Whatever that may be.

He’s like a faulty light trying to light the way through the darkness.

Flickering randomly, sometimes brightly, sometimes faint, and sometimes dark.

The people who see the light shine brightly feel hope and love again, as he lights the way to love and prosperity.

When he goes dark, he cannot be found, unseen in the dark, unable to light even his own way, much less others.

But most of the time, especially in the last few decades, he just flickers. Malfunctioning, but not completely broken.

At least, that is how he views it.

His sister says otherwise. She says mother broke him. And sometimes he wonders if that is true.

He can’t think of a single moment that defined him. He is not sure if that is because he has mentally blocked out most of his childhood, or because it wasn’t a defining moment, but more of a series of incidents that made him who he is.

He did make a decision though when he was a child.

He decided he wouldn’t be like them, that he would never be like them.

Mother was manipulative, selfish and a bit crazy. Says she loves her kids, and maybe she does, but her actions are more consistent with someone who cared more about herself than her own children.

And dad, he’s a burnt marshmallow, most of the time at least. If you don’t do it his way, you’re an idiot, and his idea of showing affection is insulting you. A man is supposed to be a man, tough and indestructible. Anything less and you are a wimp. But unlike mom, he will sacrifice for his kids. He puts them first, not last. Funny thing is he hates kids. And I mean hates kids.

Chris is pretty sure he was an accident.

So one thing he decided was he wasn’t going to be a macho asshole like dad, and wasn’t going to be manipulative and selfish like mom.

So what does that leave Chris?

At worst, it leaves him as a self-sacrificing wimp who won’t inconvenience others for his own benefit who gets stepped on by manipulative people. At best, he is a sweet generous guy who stands up for other people’s rights, spreads love and who becomes an inspiration to others.

Chris sits there contemplating all of this, wondering about his life.

He leans back in his chair thinking about what to write, and he can’t think of a darn thing.

What could he possibly say that would interest other people?

Yet another sad story in a world of sad stories.

He flickers.

And his light goes out…

…for now.

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Written by Tejan Ausland
Tejan Ausland is an author and ghost writer, with years of experience in both creative and technical writing.