The Man Who Always Slept with The Light On
It wasn’t because he was scared of the dark- well it mostly wasn’t that reason. The man had found himself late into his years of adulthood having always slept with the light on. Why? There were your more practical reasons; too tired from burning the midnight oil at work and passing out in his bed as soon as he got off home, lights still on. The man was clumsy and didn’t enjoy stumbling around in the dark. He also was a messy eater, so his spontaneous midnight snacks in bed never ended cleanly with the lights off.
Before these bad habits the man lived in an apartment where the landlord prided himself an expert handyman. After an electric fire caused by frayed wires showed the buildings age, the landlord himself replaced all the wiring in the three story walk up. The landlord was an imbecile though and didn’t wiring the building correctly. Flipping the switch in the kitchen would turn on the living room TV in the apartment below. Nobody ever found the light switch to turn off the man’s bedroom light-so he slept with it on.
The man lived in a house once that endured reverse power outages because the town produced way too much energy then it needed. During these flipping the light switch to off wouldn’t matter, the lights and appliances simply stayed on. He didn’t stay in the town for long.
The man was bitten by a bat once, convinced he would become a vampire he kept the light on at all times to keep him from turning. He even gave his roommate a wooden stake and hammer in case of the worse.
“It’s the daytime that vampires can’t come out during,” protested the man’s roommate. “You clearly don’t understand literature.”
So with a little bit of this and a little bit of that the man continued his life without spending a night asleep in a dark room. He grew so use to it that even when he traveled and stayed in hotels, he left the light on. When he went to cities and slept on friend’s couches they found him in the morning fast asleep with the living room light still on.
This was the man’s life until one fateful autumn night. A chilly breeze swept over his quiet neighborhood, pulling dead leaves away from tree branches. A cloudy sky let in light from a full moon only for moments before covering it back up again.
The man was finishing getting ready for the evening. In his slippers he walked down the hall towards his bathroom, the floor creaking below him as he passed room after room.
Standing in the doorway to his bathroom the man flipped the light switch. Immediately the single bulb above the bathroom mirror blew out in a blue flash and a loud pop.
The man stood in partial darkness listening to the wind outside hit against his house. He sensed he wasn’t alone.
“The bulb blew out,” thought the man. “Nothing else to suspect.”
He turned and walked down the hall to his hall closet where he kept extra bulbs. Opening the door there on a shelf eye level with the man were the boxes. He reached out to grab one when suddenly there lay his greatest fear of all. He shot back in terror as he nearly grabbed a box of lights with sitting on top was a very large hairy spider.
He ran to find something to kill it with; a broom, a shoe or maybe a magazine even. He quickly returned with a couple of tissues and a Bavarian cookie cookbook, weapons to take down the beast.
Summoning all the courage he could the man leaped in front of the closet, ready to strike, only to find himself in an even wore situation. The spider was gone- it had crawled away. He looked all over the hall, there was no spider anywhere though.
Taking a deep breath and closing the closet door the man convinced himself that the spider had retreated back into the closet. In the morning he would deal with the situation by destroying all the contents in the closet by lighting them on fire.
Calming himself the man crawled into bed. His eyes staring straight ahead as he tried to forget the creature.
“Spiders,” thought the man as he started to drift away. “Silly, spiders.”
His eyelids grew heavy and started to close only to suddenly shoot back open and wider then before. There high on the wall across the room from his bed was the spider staring right at him.
The man jumped out of bed keeping his eye on the spider while feeling around for something, anything, to use as a weapon.
“Excuse me, sir,” It was a faint voice but the spider spoke, the man was sure of it.
“I’m sorry to bother you like this. It’s not normally in our nature,” again the spider spoke.
“What is it you want?” the man said taking a step closer to the spider.
“I don’t mean to be too much of a pain but I speak for the other spiders and bugs that live in the house. We have a request.”
“Yes,” the spider started to crawl along the ceiling until it was right above the man. “If it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle, could you turn off the lights in your house at night? We all are so used to sleeping in darkness and, well, we just can’t take it anymore. Families of spiders and bugs are becoming divided-many have broken up and moved out even.”
The man was taken aback, “I had no idea. I just got so use to keeping them on, it just feels right.”
“Yes, well would you mind starting to turn them off at night?”
“I don’t know if I can do that,” confessed the man.
“Okay, well if you don’t-” the spider hanging from its web dropped down to the man. It was so quick the man didn’t have time to move. The spider dangled there, inches from his face. “We will come out of the walls each night. All of us, and there is a lot of us. We will crawl into your bed with you. We will crawl all over your body while you are asleep. And then when you wake we will still be right there, in bed, with you.”
Without saying another word the spider raced back up its web and disappeared into a small crack in the ceiling.
It was then on that fateful autumn night, just as the clock struck midnight, The Man Who Always Slept with the Light On turned off his bedroom light, got into bed and went to sleep.
The father slowly closed the storybook and peered down at his son in bed, “See, sometimes scary things happen even with the light on. You shouldn’t be afraid to sleep with them off.”
“You’re right, Dad, I’ll try to sleep with them off tonight.”
The father kissed his son goodnight and turned the light off as he left the room. From then on The Boy Who Always Slept with the Light Off, fell quickly asleep.