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Darkness in Waitomo

This is a work of fiction.

“You’re done with your painting, Will?” Shelly asks.

“Yes, I’m done. Just final touches.” I tell Shelly.

“I don’t know how you manage to make such beautiful paintings all the time.” She says.

“It’s all thanks to your descriptions.” I say.

Shelly laughs and I feel a glow in my heart. I love her so much. My wife. My life.

“Are you ready for tomorrow’s trip?”

“More than ready.” I say.

I go to my room and pack my things. Slowly and steadily putting everything inside a suitcase that Shelly has set out. I will be going for a few days to North Island. First to Waitomo to check out the glow worms and then head to Auckland. I live on the border between South New Zealand and North New Zealand.

We head over to the north island by ferry and then it’s half a day’s ride to Waitomo. What’s special about Waitomo you ask?

The glow worms.

Down in the Waitomo lies a galaxy within earth, we are heading over to experience it.

Shelly leads me over to the cave where the tour guide explains about its formation. It has been created over hundreds of years through limestone. As he speaks about the century-old formations, his voice echoes all around. There are only a handful of us in the cave. At this moment it seems as though we are the only living beings on Earth.

After the cave tour we are ushered into a boat. Shelly helps me get inside. She hands me my foldable cane so that I don’t fall into the water.

You see, I’m blind.

I have been blind for several years due to a genetic deformity. The images I have before my sight was taken away from me are blurry. Sometimes, I don’t even remember what I look like.

But it all changes when my wife describes things to me. Scenary, an object, a person. Her voice is satin, her words are gold. They burst through my mind into fits of colours and imagery. When she describes something my soul stirs from within. By some miracle I am able to translate her words onto the canvas.

The boat moves and Shelly whispers in my ear.

“It’s still dark right now. The tour guide is rowing the boat.” She starts.

I feel the cool wind pass through my face. The sides of the boat are damp. Water sploshes at the bottom near my feet.

“Oh wow. They are like stars Will. Little green stars in outer space. So many of them. Hundreds.”

The glow is caused by chemical reaction which causes bio-luminescence in their head.

Different species of glow worms, glow for different reasons. Some glow to attract each other for mating, others glow to attract tiny insects to eat. Their way of life became a tourist spot for all of us.

“When they fly they glow too. Something like fireflies but even brighter. The entire wall is covered in green. There are glowing nets connecting one larvae to another. Some are huddled together in a huge glowing cluster, some are isolated and small dots. Everything else is dark. Remember when you were a child and stuck glow-in-the dark stars and planets on your wall? This is similar but there are so many stars that you can’t count.”

I imagine the picture in my head.

“Beautiful. It’s beautiful.” I say.

“It really is Will.” She says.

We head out of the cave. Shelly buys a keychain as a souvenir.

At the hotel, I paint what I imagine the glow worms to be. I carry my paints and canvas everywhere, just in case I get inspiration.

I ask Shelly how it is.

“Perfect Will.” She says.

Great. Shelly helps me put my paints and canvas inside and I get into the bed.

Now the next stop is Auckland. I wonder what I will get to paint next.

Source of keychain: Waitomo souvenir shop.

Find out more about Waitomo here.

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