Light and Dark

“Marianna! Come and help me deliver this casserole to Grandma Smithers,” Marianna’s mother called from downstairs. “She is still recovering from a broken hip and it’s not convenient for her to get around. I promised to send her a casserole for dinner tonight, but I have a few more chores to finish up here, and she will be happier to have you visit. You can tell her about your day at school.”

“Okay, Mother,” Marianna said, coming down the staircase with her jacket.

Marianna’s mother handed her the casserole in a bag and Marianna started off toward Grandma Smither’s house.

As she rounded the corner, the Dark Ones whispered amongst themselves:

“Here she comes! Quick–You get the dog ready. You, unhook the gate so it has clear access.”

The dark figures scrambled over themselves to set everything up. One of them dodged about the neighbor’s Rottweiler, deliberately getting the guard dog riled up. Another loosened the dog’s leash and yet another opened the gate just as Marianna walked by.

“Go!” commanded the Dark Ones. The dog, driven mad by the Dark Ones’ irritations, ran, snarling, as the dark figure zoomed out of the gate, straight at Marianna.

But just before the dog reached the gate, a blazing hand shut and locked it. One of the Light Ones sat on top of the fence, looking serenely at the Dark Ones, as another one petted the dog on the head, calming him down.

“Drat!” cried the Dark Ones as Marianna passed the neighbor’s house, unharmed.

Another crowd of Dark Ones, however, awaited her at the curb.

“Get ready, here she comes!” one of them said.

“Drunk driver, on the way. Estimated time of arrival, T-minus-three seconds.”

“Perfect timing!” crowed the Dark Ones. But just as Marianna stepped off the curb to cross the street, one of the Light Ones started singing. Marianna paused and turned to look for the source of the sound, and just then a truck barrelled by, running a red light. Marianna did not notice it. But had she crossed the street as planned, she would have been in directly its way.

The Dark Ones gnashed their teeth in  frustration as Marianna crossed the street, unharmed, with her casserole.

“She’s almost at the old woman’s house, this is our last chance!” the Dark Ones said to themselves as they watched Marianna walk toward the old dying oak tree on the corner of the lot.

Some of the Dark Ones were sitting on the heavy dead branch, widening the crack and anticipating Marianna’s arrival. She never looked up.

“Get ready…get set…now!” called the leader of the Dark Ones.

With a great heave, the Dark Ones shoved down on the branch, just as Marianna reached the spot. The great branch shuddered, and started swinging down toward Marianna’s head.

But just then, one of the Light Ones materialized, and with one finger, stopped the downward motion of the branch as Marianna passed by without incident.

The Dark Ones howled their unhappiness, but there was nothing they could do. The Light Ones were untouchable.

Marianna arrived on Grandma’s Smithers’ porch and rang the doorbell.

“Come in, the door is unlocked!” Grandma Smithers called from within.

Marianna turned the doorknob and let herself in.

“Hi Grandma Smithers!” she said cheerily. “This is the casserole Mother promised you.”

“Oh, she is such a dear,” Granda Smithers said, beaming. “And you are an angel for coming such a long way all by yourself. Thank you both.”

“It wasn’t so long,” Marianna said, as she placed the casserole on the kitchen counter and went to sit by Grandma Smithers.

“Was it much trouble to get here?” Grandma Smithers asked. “Did you have any difficulty during your walk?”

“Not at all,” Marianna responded. “Nothing happened on the way here.”

In the corner of the living room, an invisible Light One smiled at the scene, and then faded through the wall.