I guess it had been there a long time, gaining substance, taking form. But it was only recently that I started to believe there was actually something there, scuttling into the shadows whenever my glance skimmed over the corner. This echoing empty house had too many shadowy corners; most were best not explored too closely. So as I sat at my desk watching the gathering dusk, I gazed deliberately into the corner rather than averting my eyes. I saw it then, its shape darkening and solidifying with every moment. As the room grew darker, so did it; perhaps it was binding the shadows to itself. I looked and I saw it looking back at me. Some eyes blinked, others held their steady gaze and all were lambent and golden in the gloom.
I coughed nervously, and it flinched.
“I can see you, you know,” I said. “I don’t know what you are, or what you want, but I have to say that if I was ever to be visited by an alien creature, I wouldn’t have expected it to look like you, or to be so unobtrusive. So I have to ask you – what are your intentions? Are you planning to invade Earth?”
It said, “We’re already here. We’ve always been here. We’ll be here for evermore. Waiting for you to catch up, to catch on, to catch a glimpse of what we really are. To see our reason for being, to feel the need of us, to let us touch the hole in your life.”
I understand waiting; I’ve had my fill of it over the years. As a child, I waited for the summer to come. I waited for heat on the back of my neck and sunshine trickling through the gaps in the curtains when I woke up. As a young adult, I waited, my nerves sharpened to snapping point for exam results that would change my life – or not. Later, when I grew older, I waited for the right job to come along, the right moment to change my supervisor’s mindset, the right time to leave an organisation where I never fitted in. When my children came along, I waited with them for their life goals to be ticked off one by one.
“My children are grown and my house is mostly empty now. I have no boss to answer to and although I have many calls on my time and energy, only my music really fires me up. I’ve been waiting for something else to come along. Now, I see you lurking in the corner. I see the shape that you have always had and I wonder. Can you give me that something? Can you help me to stop waiting and start living in the now? You are not large but certainly not invisible. But I have to ask you again, are your intentions benign?”
It said, “We are Nith. We are a gift and we are a challenge. We will stretch your mind, exercise your talents and you will feed us with your stories, your dreams, your ideas, so that we can grow.”
I pondered, “ Is that a good thing? You growing, I mean? At the moment you are small but I’m guessing there is more than one of you. What happens when you get too big for that little corner you’re hiding in. Or what if I can’t give you enough stories?”
“There are some of us wherever storytellers ply their trade, where imagination runs free, where dreams dwell. We are legion, many-souled and we thrive on variety. If your stories stop, if your memory locks or you get writer’s block, this manifestation will dwindle, fade and wither. But there will always be others encouraging other creative people. Storytelling is too important to be left to one person. Share your stories with us.”