Friday, 27 January 2012

Sin... The Speed of Darkness

What is the speed of darkness?

The speed of light is, I seem to remember from days not staring out of the window in physics class at school, about 186,000 miles a second. Now that's fast. There's no tortoise or hare competing for the carrot here. The speed of light is the big balloozer. Anything and everything gets left behind in its wake.

Unless you're a black hole of course, the massive maw in space that can devour a planet pull of Big Macs without so much as a hint of indigestion. But they're not particularly fast, they just have huge appetites.

Didn't they discover some photons that can move faster than light? Or did that discovery cause the Universe to implode? I forget.

When you're wandering the halls, or circling the Recreation Room, it's hard to believe there could be an absence of light. The walls hammer their nails of white brilliance into the back of your skull directly through your retina. Three years after you'd left I could imagine you still having the afterimage imprinted into your eyes. If anyone actually left, that is. The constant brightness, so much so that the walls even seem to glow at night, gives the whole place a chill. Even in the warmest summer when the light is streaming in through the window and the dust is barn-dancing in its rays, you, every so often, have to rub your hands together to instil a hint of heat to the extremities.

Darkness, I'd imagine, would be warmer. A cloak that wraps around you and protects you from the freezing piercings of the light.

But is the light too fast for the darkness? Who'd win in a race? Who'd be the Kraken to the Godzilla?

I've never been afraid of the dark. Even as a child, it didn't bother me. If there were creatures under my bed and they weren't as fun as Howie Mandel's Maurice, then that was up to them. It was cramped and dusty under there. I never heard any sneeze, so I assumed they either held their breath or liked to play with the dust bunnies.

I also didn't have a wardrobe (or closet). I had some drawers in the bedroom that I shared with my brother and I had a sort of shelf in the bedroom I eventually had on my own. Monsters don't hide in drawers... do they? Is there a Sock Monster that bites your toes when you're not looking? A Boxer Beast that nibbles on your... No. I don't think that there is.

Anywho. Such beasties were confined, if there were any, to the underside of my bed. I was a shy child, so I didn't have the confidence to look and say 'hi'. but it was that rather than fear that kept me away.

I suppose 'dark' does have a speed all of its own. It can creep up on you without you even noticing its approach or it can leap out and engulf you. But when you live in a world brighter than the centre of the sun, darkness, you wish, would be your friend. Your oasis in the desert of light. It'd wrap itself around you and hold you close.

But how fast is it? It's been said that, as it's an absence of light, its speed is 0. Nothing. Zero. As light is supremely fast, darkness just stand there and says "Run as much as you want, I'll stay here and chill and eat this bag of chips. When you're gone, I'll be what's left anyway."

Is that it? Darkness is what's left after the light is exhausted and is sprawled out on a bed gasping for breath?

It's also been said that the speed of darkness is the same as the speed of light. It's a tie, folks. You know? I really don't think darkness could be that bothered. Let light take all the glory. As much as the nearest star is just over 4.2 LIGHT years away, there's plenty of darkness between here and Proxima Centauri, and it doesn't even have to rush to be there. The light from the stars belts it across the universe to get to us, or wherever else it might fancy going, and the darkness just hangs about.

Maybe the speed of darkness is whatever it wants it to be.


  1. Speed of darkness should have some kind of time of day factor. It's much speedier and scarier at 4:00 am than it is at 8:30 pm

  2. You're so right! But everything is scary in here - except the darkness, as we rarely meet!

  3. Shaun, love the following sentence: The walls hammer their nails of white brilliance into the back of your skull directly through your retina. Three years after you'd left I could imaging you still having the afterimage imprinted into your eyes.

  4. May the darkness and light collide each morning and spray you with warmth.