little lanterns

A couple of years ago I went out camping in the woods with a few of my friends. It was a dark and stormy night, and we felt very alone in our little tent, so we started telling scary stories.

I described how these hills used to be coal mining country, and the coal mines were dark and dangerous. If you didn’t die from coal lung you’d die from cave-ins, and if you didn’t die from either of those, you’d starve to death on the miniscule wages they paid you. The mine just up the hill from us was the worst. The manager had an extortion racket that he was keeping hidden from the owners - he would demand a “tribute” of 50% of the day’s wages from each of his miners, or he would think up a reason to get them fired. Pay was starvation level even without giving the manager his cut, and so after a few months of this tribute the miners became pale, sickly, and emaciated. Paradoxically, they started working harder and harder, hoping they would strike it rich enough to get a bonus that they could use to get out of that awful place.

One of the miners worked even harder than the others. He just kept digging and digging, and when he looked back, he’d gone too far, left everyone else behind, and couldn’t find his way back. Life out there was so bad he found he barely cared. He just kept digging and digging and digging, figuring that working himself to death was as good a way to go as any other.

Finally he came to a vein of rock darker than any he’d ever seen before, and when he broke through it - wham! - he had dug all the way to Hell. Satan came over to meet him, and told the miner that they had a problem. He couldn’t stay in Hell, because he wasn’t a sinner. But he couldn’t go back either, because the rules say no mortal may leave Hell alive. So Satan offered him a deal - he would transform the man into a vengeful ghost, who could spend eternity possessing mortals and driving them to madness.

The miner thought a bit, but he wasn’t convinced. The only guy he wanted to possess and drive to madness was his evil manager who had stolen a tribute from every one of his paychecks. After getting revenge on him, he wasn’t sure he wanted an eternity of possessing random other people. Satan suggested that maybe he could spend eternity possessing people and talking about how evil his manager was, so as to make his name forever dishonored. The man thought that was a good idea, and so with a word Satan transformed him into a spirit. He spent a while haunting his evil manager, then after that possessed random other people in the area to give monologues on how exploitative his manager’s labor practices were.

And so (I finished) sometimes, on nights much like tonight, with groups of campers much like our own…

“Hold on,” interrupted my friend. “Is this going to end with you saying that you’re possessed right now, and that’s why you’re telling us this story?”

“Um,” I said…“I guess that…”

Just then the police burst into our tent. “Stop right there!” said one of the officers. “You’re under arrest!”

“For what?” I asked.

“Possession by a miner within tent to diss tribute.”

IMAGINE YOUR OTP #6

Person A and B are looking up at the sky from a balcony one night. They live in a crowded city area at the moment so there are no stars due to smog, pollution, city lights, etc. Person B tells Person A that they dream of seeing a sky full of stars one day…
Person B comes home from work/school one night, and Person A says they have surprise for them. Person A leads them out to the balcony, their hands over their eyes. Once they uncover them, Person B is astonished. The whole balcony is covered in little paper lanterns and tiny lights are hung all around. “Its…. beautiful” says person B, breathless. Person A pulls Person B into an embrace, looking into their eyes. They finally kiss, right there, underneath the stars.

6

Green Lanterns of Earth + Name Meanings