Where The Light Goes

The Saga Of My Brother, Who Is Not A Fabrication: Part 1.

When you turn off the light switch, the light disappears. Any child might reasonably ask where it goes, but reasonable answers have not been forthcoming. Respectable physicists will spout some cock-and-bull story about the conservation of energy and change of forms, but that's only because they haven't been able to track it down. After some experimenting, however, we have discovered that it zips out the door, round the world and comes to rest in our upstairs bathroom. It's a bloody nuisance.

When we first moved in (the house's previous owner had neglected to mention this feature) we tried everything. We fiddled with lenses and prisms and all manner of foolproof plans, but it just made its way back. Our house became famous locally and it was impossible to sell. It tormented us for years.

One day my uncle announced that he had a theory. He spent all night in the bathroom playing with blacklights and polaroids and dead batteries. We were all woken in the middle of the night when the glare from the bathroom disappeared. Unfortunately, the light soon built up again and from then on my uncle glowed with a brilliant halo. He was left a bitter, disillusioned (optically disillusioned, we joked, but not while he was around) and angry man. He wore sunglasses.

It was then that my brother decided to take action. He retreated for several days to his bedroom. When he finally emerged it was with a smug grin on his face. He appropriated my mother's purse and left for Mr. Woody's DIY shop. He returned brandishing (an impressive feat, since it was six by three feet across) a new mirror. My mother snatched her purse back and cuffed him around the ear. "We tried that already, daft boy," she said. "It melted, remember?". She left huffily to finish drawing her schematics. Not schematics of anything in particular. Just general schematics, but that's another story.

My brother, however, still smirked. He smirked in that way he soon learned to lose, as it endeared him to nobody. However, it told me that he knew more than the rest of us. He carried the mirror in the front door and bumped it up the stairs. Dragging it to the bathroom door, he took out a small hand mirror and held the two together.

Night fell, then and there and everywhere. My brother continued to smirk in the darkness. He handed the small mirror to me and took hold of its cousin. Risking multiple strangulated hernias apiece, we hefted the mirrors down the stairs. They suddenly seemed intensely heavy. We bore the mirrors out onto the road and quickly put them down, as they were already growing uncomfortably hot. Waiting in the dark we watched as the two mirrors grew red-hot and soon melted, just as my mother had predicted. However, the light had indeed been moved. It swarmed over the remains of the mirrors, no longer to trouble us.

It was reported in scientific journals that upon that day, there had been an "inexplicable phenomenon", resulting in the necessity of recalibrating every astronomical telescope and chart in existence. It was almost as if, they reported, the Earth had been minutely adjusted in its rotation.

We called in several respectable physicists to look at the melted mirrors but unfortunately they were stolen before they could get there, as at that time respectable physicists were a valuable commodity.

Part 2: The Device Of Many Uses

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