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[#007 - Dark] Dichotomy
obabscribbler wrote in ygodrabble
Challenge Name and Number:  [#007 - Dark]
Drabble Title:  Dichotomy
Word Count:  548
Warnings:  Ironic, but warning for darkfic.
Pairings:  Nope
Summary:  How do you distinguish between what is good and what is evil when darkness and shadows are the norm in your world, and venturing into the light is unusual? Tombkeeper fic.



There are two sides to all things, from coins to kismet: the world, the universe, even life itself works on a delicate balance, as fragile and fleeting as the perfect equilibrium between the moment the fat kid launches himself at the empty side of the seesaw and the moment the weedy asthmatic boy on the other end goes into orbit. It may only last an instant, but it’s still there, and that kind of fleeting fragility is what governs everything we know and see and feel in our lives. Without the cosmic balance, everything would crumble. We know this.


Or we think we do.


Human comprehension is based on dichotomy: the division into equal and exact opposites so we can understand how the world goes on turning. People talk about ‘the balance’ like they actually understand it. They say things like ‘you can’t have one without the other’ or ‘it’s all two halves of a whole, innit?’


The thing is, people are inherently stupid. Moreover, they’re arrogant. As if humans, the cosmic equivalent of protozoa, could ever truly understand how the universe works. It isn’t a football match – no game of two halves here – and unless they recently found a way of stretching the human mind further than the confines of the human skull, there’s no way the human brain can possibly comprehend just how infinite the divisions within the universe actually are.


For instance, light and dark. So much of human culture is based on this basic dissection and the consequent allotment of positive and negative attributes (i.e. once upon  time some ancient know-it-alls carved up the whole shebang, called one half good and one half bad, and never the twain shall meet). Every society has variations, but none allow for the infinite scope for variations on the same theme (that is to say, they do the societal equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting ‘it’s-fine-the-way-it-is-shut-up-shut-up-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you’).


Light and dark. Good and evil. Positive and negative. Black and white. Sometimes people make allowances for ‘the grey area’, but even trying to divide all creation into thirds doesn’t work. Instead of the eternal line between light and dark, they have triangle. In reality, it’s more of a polygon. There are shades of light, shades of dark, and shades of grey. Trying to keep them separate is like trying to lock the portaloos after adding laxatives to the chilli at the company picnic. Eventually someone will batter down the door, and trying to stop them will only get you hurt. Sometimes blending the three is necessary, and using words like ‘corrupt’ or ‘twisted’ are far from accurate. Light isn’t always good, dark isn’t always evil, and grey isn’t always the best compromise.


The fragile, fleeting balance is easily tipped. For example, take a child; the eldest blood-relative in a family destined to shun the light while also claiming to safeguard it for future generations. She lives underground in darkness, but her heart shines brighter than candle-flames. Light and dark mix in her veins like ink in water. She doesn’t see dark as evil. The dark is where her family live, and she loves her family. She doesn’t see light as good. The light is where bad things happen – women are stoned and abused, wars are fought, starvation and poverty reign in the light, whereas down in the dark everything goes on peacefully, like always.


At least until her brother is born.


Her baby brother, with his strange, untameable, sun-bright hair, so different than her own straight, dark crown. It explodes from his head from the day he’s born, marking him out as different. She loves him because or despite this – she’s never quite sure which. Likewise her brother-who-isn’t-really-a-brother. From the first she wants only what’s best for them, but worries their differences will make life extra difficult, and she eventually wanders into the grey area trying to protect them.


She isn’t supposed to touch the relics. They’re kept in the tunnels’ darkest recesses – naturally, since they’re the most precious things her family own, and in her world precious things are always kept in shadow. She only wants to know how to make sure her baby brother stays happy and her elder brother stays safe. What she sees when she puts on the necklace doesn’t just blend the light and dark inside her, it crushes them together like rotten fruit, leaving the stench of despair in her nostrils and invisible juices dripping off her fingers.


Light and dark. One isn’t more evil than the other in a world where darkness is the norm and light the place and catalyst where little boys find the momentum to become monsters who sacrifice their family in pursuit of power. Hiding in shadows doesn’t make you evil, but neither does it make you righteous. Venturing into the light doesn’t make you good, but neither does it make you a heretic.


And pressing a pillow over a toddler’s face, when you know someday he’ll scar, exploit, torture and kill people over a private grudge, doesn’t make you a bad sister.



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I wish had even a semi-appropriate icon for this

That is just, I'm going to have to say, I'm never going to look at Isis Ishtar quite the same way again.


Mission to warp minds about canon characters judged ... a success! My work here is done.

Holy... That was *good.*

That was glorious.
Wonderful job.

"The moment the fat kid launches himself at the empty side of the seesaw and the moment the weedy asthmatic boy on the other end goes into orbit" will now be my favourite line for the day. :D

I got a very Pratchett-like vibe from this, and that is most definitely a good thing.

Wasn't expecting the ending, but it does make a heck of a lot of sense.

I didn't get the Pratchett vibe until I went back and reread it, but yes, you're right. Bugger, I was going for Tom Holt mixed with Janet Evanovich. I shall endeavour to make my British comic fantasy voices more distinctive!

Thank you. Glad you liked it. ^_^

Unfortunately I'm not that well-versed in comic fantasy yet, so you could have got it perfect for either of them and I'd have still said Pratchett. XD

Holy.. um.. that ending was the most intense thing that ever happened to me. ever. Great work.


Ooh, a new mind to brea- uh, play with. Yes. Play with. That was what I was going to say,


Thank you. I appreciate the feedback.

Wow. Just wow. I loved it! Especially the comparison between light, dark and the in between. Absolutly wonderful!!!

Thank you. I really appreciate all the positive feedback, since I thought this was one of my lesser pieces. Just goes to show, I know nothing of current tastes or opinions. ;)

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