Skeleton Key

by Ebony


When Light was five the world around him seemed enormous, stretching on forever. Maybe it was even too enormous, because no matter how hard he tried, there were always more things to do and though he was fiercely determined to do them all, it felt a little hopeless sometimes. There were so many bugs to catch in the park, so many books to read at school and so many games to play, so many rocks and leaves – so much of everything! How could he accomplish it all?

"Slow down," his mother would urge him sometimes, following along behind him with a baby Sayu in her arms. "Be careful, you might trip!"

But Light hurried on, pretending he was so far ahead that her voice couldn't reach his ears.


By the time Light's ninth birthday had passed, the world had gotten quite a bit smaller – or maybe it had never been that large to begin with and his perception of it had always been off. He didn't really know but he didn't really care either, because as far as he knew, the past didn't matter. It was the now that was important, and now there was nowhere in his neighbourhood or those of his friends' that was a secret. He had read countless books from the library, knew the names of all the bugs in the park, had won many games and then tired of them.

For a while, it seemed like there was nothing new or exciting in his shrunken universe.

Then came a day he was channel surfing (out of boredom, out of a stifling, aching boredom) and came across a news station airing footage of a murder scene downtown. The lights of police cars flashed, and the image of yellow caution tape burned a band in his mind just beyond the image of a bloodied man being loaded into an ambulance. What was this? This was so… so awful…

"Earlier this evening," the reporter told him in her eerily calm voice, "two men were knifed outside a convenience store. One was pronounced dead when police got there, but the other has been rushed to a nearby hospital. Currently, the police don't have any suspects but–"

His father's form moved in front of the screen to block Light's view, his hand quickly moving to turn of the television.

"You shouldn't watch that sort of thing, Light," his father told him, "you're too young."

Light nodded, like he knew a good son should, but decided quietly to ask his father a little bit more about what he did as a policeman over dinner. It would be wrong, he felt, to deny this new world he could feel opening up to him.


At the hesitant age of thirteen, Light found out how the world can be infinitely large and yet terribly small at the same time.

Earlier that year, his father had finished a tough case and had decided to take his family on vacation for the summer, all the way to England, so he could distance himself from it all. One of Light's fondest memories of the trip is on the plane, actually. Sayu had fallen asleep with her head on his arm while he stared at the window, one hand pressed to the glass, watching the ocean pass by beneath them.

He had seen the ocean before, of course, but looking down on that expanse of a perfect blue made it feel a lot bigger than he had been able to understand before. He thought of what would happen if the place went down into the ocean and he drowned, his fragile body crushed by tremendous waves. It scared him, but in a good way – in a way that made his skin feel electric and made every breath he took feel rich (but it was still just stale air). He felt this way when reading about his father's cases, slowly putting facts together to make the bigger picture, to make it right.

Light figured he lived in a small world because the world as he saw it was limited by the amount of knowledge he had. We are what we know – our memories, and thoughts, and dreams and ideas. But beyond that, in the rest of the world, there were so many things he didn't know, or hadn't experienced! And although this was frustrating sometimes, he didn't mind so much, because his world was still much larger than those of the people around him, and he had learned by this time that the excitement of a closed door is that you can open it.

However, it didn't matter how many doors he opened – he always went off searching for another. He always found it a bit unfair that he would not have the time to open every single one, though, for the only person with that privilege was God.


Light was seventeen when a key to the world was offered to him. He had considered not taking it at first, but sternly reminded himself an opportunity should never be wasted and this became the start of it. With a Death God's notebook in his hands, entirely new possibilities were opened up. The enormous world he had been reaching out to for so long suddenly was suddenly much smaller, almost small enough to fit him just right. It was amazing and it frightened him, how all this stuff of dreams was becoming tangible right before his eyes.

"I've gone mad," he thought sometimes, watching Ryuk chomping on an apple out of the corner of his eye. "There's no way this is real, I've got to be mad!"

No, it was all real, and it was all his. A chance to make this world his. To make it right.

How on earth could he deny it?


Light had lived for a quarter of a century, and was the God of a shining world that balanced nicely in the palm of his hand. Misa pretended it wasn't like that, of course. She bought fancy wine for their dinner (they would not have time to go out and eat, even on Light's birthday), and picked him up a few new dress shirts and his favourite kind of chocolate as well. Though she took care in her wrapping of them, she was always the one to open them for him, and the one to blow out the candles she insisted putting on his cake. He did try to be at least a little excited for her, but this time around, he could not concentrate on any of it.

Here it was, right in front of him. The crime rate was so low it was practically non-existent, and the governments of many countries had succumbed to his rule. No one could deny he existed or what he was capable of – he had even brought down L and gotten away with it! As far as he knew, he had won, and the perfect world that he had craved for so long had finally been attained.

What a shame that he was growing bored with it already.