Until that moment, Silas had thought he knew what dark was-the simple absence of light. He thought that he understood it. He even thought that he had experienced it before. But as he rounded the first riser of stairs and continued up, step by step, he and darkness were forced into new intimacy. He came to understand that darkness was not just a lack but a thing, that it possessed mass, that it can be felt on your skin, that it can be a burden you carry.
He knew then, with a certainty he could feel in his bones, exactly what had motivated his ancient ancestors when they first gathered around that very thing that the rest of creation fled from. It hadn't been to cook, or to harden spear points. Those things had come later. Heat was just a collateral benefit. Man had mastered fire simply to push the darkness away.
by Ted Kosmatka
Del Rey, 2013