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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1933. Volume 4. Number 5.

"The Light that Failed" — A Short Story

"The Light that Failed"

A Short Story

All his life Johnson had been an ideal citizen. He had kept off the grass in the Public Parks when he had been told to; he had always observed the street signs, and invariably had waited until the car stopped before alighting.

Unlike many others he had never questioned the acts of the Government, and had attributed to them a constancy of Purpose that would have amazed the most honest amongst them.

His had been a sane life, with never a step away from rectitude, a moral, dry-as-dust existence.

But Johnson had a dream. He had one ambition, and he had schemed and plotted for its fulfillment until it became almost an obsession. He would make one break from the orthodox, and no one— no One would find him out, whilst the whole town would talk of his exploit.

From Johnson's room he could see the unwinking Light of Remembrance as it shone with unceasing vigilence. Oft-times at night he had watched that light, carelessly enough at first, then with increasing interest. It fascinated him with its ceaseless constancy. Here, if there ever was, stood the chance for the escapade of a lifetime. Here stood the chance to achieve the secret fame his heart craved. Yes, he would do it; he could dim that light, and no one could find him out—no one.

He planned his act carefully, oh, so carefully. He awaited the time with limitless patience—had not his whole life been the very embodiment of the word.

He set out on his adventure late one dark, smoky winter night. There were few in the streets, for it was much more pleasant at home by the fire, and few had found it necessary to quit their hearth-side.

Slowly enough he padded along the deserted side-streets, strangely dark, he thought, until he came within a stone's throw of the tower which reared its height into the blackness, bearing that changeless light. That changeless light, but where was it ? Johnson stood aghast, and a chance passerby who saw him peering into the darkness came over to his side and chuckled.

"Have you noticed it, too?" he laughed. "The power's failed, and it's out with all the rest of the street-lights—something wrong somewhere—what a joke."

He laughed again, and walked on, leaving Johnson standing stupidly in the same spot. Fate had thwarted him in the only jape of his life.