Dark Light
It’s better to go with the signs, even if over time they might just be creations of your imagination. Life can be much harder for some of us.

Unable to find a combination of substances capable of yielding a positive result, Gunter found himself in a dilemma. Could it be possible that despite his persistence, the formula would never work? He held onto hope. Faith even, imagining he was on the right path. What did this sensation he felt mean?

Frustration began to consume him. How was it possible that in a world of young magic enthusiasts, they could generate fire with their hands? He always envied others’ power. How easy it was to be part of society. All of them with their talents. Their smiles as they played as if the world belonged to them.

Gunter was among the excluded. Part of a group that had to remain unnoticed to avoid drawing the attention of the powerful. Gunter’s life was painful and without hope for a better tomorrow. His body weakened, and darkness began to envelop his being.

The only thing left to him was the brilliant mind of someone who would have excelled under different circumstances. That was his refuge. Gunter hid behind books in search of an answer. Someone must have found a way to shine in a world dominated by magic.

Of course, others shone too—the children of kings and their friends.

Gunter wasn’t fortunate enough to be part of any of those groups. He was just another number. A problem to be solved.

The life of the excluded class was complicated. Their only way to survive was under someone’s grace. That’s how many of them ended up in servitude roles. Gunter was sure his life couldn’t take that path.

Surviving on crumbs and whatever he could take without drawing authorities’ attention, Gunter managed to set up a laboratory in the sewers’ passages. There, he prepared to start a new experiment.

He looked weak. Tired from days with little food and nights when sleep eluded him. Every day became harder to find something to eat. Every day was a struggle against death. Yet, Gunter persisted with the hope that his ideas could become reality.

Gunter’s thin body was hidden beneath a robe that had long surpassed its time of use. He placed a few drops of a dark liquid into a flask. Everything was almost identical to what he had tried just hours ago. The only difference was that at that moment, sunlight pierced through one of the sewer lids.

Of course, Gunter wasn’t aware of this difference. Always focused on darkness, he never thought that light might be the missing ingredient.

The drops of liquid fell into the flask with the compound and initiated a reaction Gunter had never witnessed before. Black bubbles began overflowing from the glass flask, quickly spreading across the table.

Gunter watched in astonishment as the dark liquid continued to spill, covering the entire table. Everything happened too fast. Gunter didn’t know how to react until the liquid exceeded the table’s limits and began to spill onto the floor. Gunter stepped back. His eyes filled with terror. What was happening?

The liquid continued to flow from the glass flask until its mass became too heavy for the table. Gunter saw the legs give way, and all the glassware on it fell. As the liquid kept growing, the mass expanded like rising dough.

Gunter kept moving backward, taking small steps as his mind told him it was time to start running.

The mass kept growing, enlarging and covering another table in the laboratory in the sewers.

“Stop,” Gunter said.

To his surprise, the dark, shiny mass ceased to grow. It stopped moving.

Gunter felt like he was being watched. Then he saw the mass move in his direction. Gunter was sure it was time to run, but perhaps this was what he had been waiting to discover. He decided to stay and accept his fate.

The dark mass began to coalesce.

Gunter couldn’t believe it. Besides having some sort of consciousness, the mass was capable of moving on its own accord.

“Try to shrink,” Gunter said. He didn’t know what kind of response he would get.

To his surprise, the mass began to shrink as if it were a liquid being sucked through a siphon. That was impossible. Its size became so small that Gunter could have put it in a pot.

Gunter curiously observed the small substance moving on the floor. He imagined it as a creature coming into the world for the first time. This interaction would be crucial for both of them. So Gunter decided to approach.

“Hello, little one,” Gunter said once he noticed the creature had eyes and its liquid body seemed to be searching for a form.

The creature shifted its attention. For Gunter, the dark mass on the laboratory floor in the sewer made no sense. Life wasn’t supposed to be part of its existence. Despite that, there it was, attentively observing everything around it. For the creature, its internal sensations were the only reality.

Gunter was surprised when a sudden movement caused the creature to disappear. Losing sight of it completely, he stood up. The creature had to be nearby. Then Gunter heard the squeak of a small rodent and then silence. When he turned, he saw the dark liquid creature covering the rodent completely. After a few seconds, only the rat’s bones remained, and the creature continued moving slowly.

“Reaper,” Gunter said, “that’s what I’ll call you.”

Of course, Gunter wasn’t sure if what he was experiencing was reality. There was a possibility that all of this was part of his imagination. Another one of his psychotic episodes to which he was becoming accustomed.

For Gunter, losing himself in reality was easy. His mind playing tricks that his consciousness couldn’t decipher. Gunter wasn’t alone. He was never alone. Always accompanied by one of the creations of his mind, by one of the characters only he could see. Today, it was Reina’s turn.

“I told you this was the right combination,” Reina said.

Gunter turned to acknowledge the character created by his hallucination. “Can you believe this creature is alive?”

Gunter ran to one of the tables in the improvised laboratory in the sewer of a large city. He had to start a friendship with the creature.

“What do you think you’re doing?” asked another voice in Gunter’s mind. One of the voices that rarely visited. One of Gunter’s voices.

Gunter turned and noticed Reina had disappeared. In her place was Luca. “I can explain,” Gunter said, raising his hands. “I have to share this food with Reaper.”

Luca looked annoyed. He was bigger and stronger than Gunter. Luca had helped him for years to get food to survive. He knew how to steal and be smarter than others. Getting caught was not an option.

“I’ve forbidden it,” Luca said, his tone serious, vibrating off the walls of the sewer passage.

“Please,” Gunter said, falling to his knees.

Luca watched with arms crossed. Gunter understood that this was how he gave permission to proceed. Shortly after, Gunter brought the loaf of bread and placed it near the creature formed by a liquid that seemed to be examining its surroundings.

The liquid turned upon sensing Gunter’s presence. Nothing was clear. The creature didn’t know how to react. Then it smelled the aroma of the bread and approached. Covering the loaf of bread until it disappeared completely.

Gunter smiled to see the creature looking apparently happy after consuming the bread.

“What is this beautiful thing?” Simone asked.

Gunter turned to see if Luca was still in the room; he had disappeared. In his place was Simone. Simone’s company was just what Gunter needed to feel at peace. He watched her approach Reaper and stroke it.

“What’s its name?” Simone asked.

“Reaper,” Gunter said and approached to place his hand on the dark substance moving on the floor.

The creature didn’t know how to react. It had never been aware of being caressed. Its existence began many years ago. The liquid being had learned Gunter’s language. Reaper had spent years listening without knowing what existed in the darkness.

Its eyes finally allowed it to appreciate the man who had diligently worked to bring Reaper into existence. The creature was afraid of harming the scientist.

Gunter placed his hand on the liquid, and to his surprise, found its exterior was solid like an animal’s skin. Gunter was able to lift it. The liquid remained compact. Gunter turned with the creature in his hands, spinning it.

Then he placed Reaper on the floor. “What can you do, little one?” Gunter asked.

The small Reaper understood the words and wanted to communicate. It wanted to find a way to demonstrate that it understood Gunter’s language. It just didn’t know how. So it propelled itself to fall onto one of the tables full of glass flasks and substances.

Gunter was surprised to see the dark liquid extend one of its ends as if it were throwing a liquid against a glass flask. Then it lifted it to make its contents fall into another container.

The expression on Gunter’s face was one of surprise. With just minutes of existence, it was already capable of using its extremities with such skill.

“Excellent,” Gunter said, turning to point at a wall. “Now, hand me that sword.”

Simone smiled, noticing how easy it was for Reaper to extend its body and take the sword from a considerable distance, delivering it delicately to Gunter.

“Now it’s my turn,” Simone said. “Destroy the entire laboratory.”

Gunter turned to see Simone with amazement. She no longer wore her usual short white dress. Now she looked different. Her violet eyes shining behind her dark eyelids. Her intense red lips and her torn black outfit. A long dress that accentuated her feminine attributes.

“Order it to burn this place down,” Simone said. “It’s time to leave.”

Gunter didn’t know how to react. Simone had always been a voice that gave him security. How could he ignore her demands?

“Reaper,” Gunter said, “destroy the laboratory.”

The small liquid spread everywhere and in an instant dismantled everything. Pieces of wood and glass scattered around the floor. As the liquids found their way down the siphon grates.

“It’s time to reclaim what’s rightfully ours,” Simone said, starting to walk. “Follow me.”

Gunter waited for Reaper to return to its normal size and then took it in his hands. “Let’s go, little one, let’s find something to eat.”

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