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A LUCILIUS PARABLE: RECURSIVE FRIGHT

May 19th, 2019

Lucilius sat staring at an outline for a project he was planning to undertake.  He was watching his godson for the day but the young boy was fast asleep in a corner of the room among his toys.  Worried about all the details of the project, Lucilius had decided to sit down and organize his thoughts, but each time he wrote some pointers about some aspect of the project, it spawned a whole new species of details and his anxiety about the project blossomed further.  Within no time he had half a piece of paper filled with half-ideas growing and ballooning, cramping in smaller and smaller print against the edges and corners. 

 

In frustration, Lucilius crumpled the piece of paper and threw it into a waste basket.  He watched it sit there for a moment, regretting the action, thinking how he’d probably need everything he’d written, when he heard a sound.

 

Lucilius looked across the room to see his godson stirring from his sleep.  The boy had rolled against the wall and as he was waking, the young boy’s foot tangled with a chord plugged into a nearby electrical outlet.  Before Lucilius even realized, the boy yanked on the chord as he struggled to stand up, and a lamp on the other side of the room fell, turning it on, and instantly it cast light across the room towards the little boy and printed his small shadow on the wall near him.  The boy was still sleepily disentangling himself, and once free, he noticed the dark shadow near him on the wall.

 

The boy startled and shrieked.  He raised his hands in alarm and then grew even more frightened as the shadow followed suit, raising it’s shadowy limbs.  The young boy shrieked again, backing away from the shadow, towards the fallen light, making the shadow grow bigger and bigger against the wall.  The boy squealed in terror and fell backwards just in front of the lamp, making the shadow instantly double in size and changing into a strange mutated and monstrous shape.

 

The poor boy cowered at the shadow and gathered himself into a tight ball, crying.

 

Lucilius knelt by the boy and pulled him up into his arms, reassuring the boy, telling him that everything was alright.  The boy sobbed louder into his godfather’s arms.  Lucilius cradled the boy and after a few minutes, the exhausted boy settled, breathing heavily from the whole affair. 

 

Lucilius’ gaze wandered to their combined shadow that covered nearly the whole far wall.  He stood up with the boy still in his arms and slowly walked towards the wall.  The shadow tightened, growing darker and smaller, finer lines sucking in where the hazy darkness resolved.  Lucilius stood just before the wall, studying the clear line of his shadow’s edge, and then looked over at the waste basket where the crumpled sheet of brainstorming for his project lay discarded.


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Podcast Ep. 399: A Lucilius Parable: Recursive Fright

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