It was quiet, quiet and dark. Silence was everywhere, but in that silence, screams could be heard. Screams of terror, of pain, screams of the forgotten.

The darkness grew darker each day. Each shadow was dense, thick as if it could be cut. Sometimes they were cut. Cut so deep that they bled out only more darkness. In such a world, the only thing that could exist is hope. That is all the people had. Shuffling through the dark alleyways, into the dark, abandoned buildings. They had almost learned to love the darkness, and because of that, they resented it. They did not love it. They tolerated it. For most of them except the elderly, it was all they had known. They longed for a brighter tomorrow, and loved the stories the wizened ones would tell of the golden days (and those days truly were gold).

Everyone would gather around and listen to Isaac, the oldest. He remembered well the golden days, and loved to describe them. He used vivid details, recalling how the grass was of the most luscious green he had ever seen and the sky as deep a blue as could be found anywhere. There was no dark, not even at night. At night, the moon would shine down and illuminate everything, reflecting in small ponds of the clearest water.

As he would go on with his description, everyone closed his or her eyes. They would envision, as best they could, the world as it used to be. It was hard for them, especially those that had been born in the dark times, but they tried.

Isaac would tell everyone about how when he was young he would go to the ocean. He described the feeling of sand underfoot. He would tell them of the salty ocean air and how one morning he saw, off in the distance, a whale.

He recounted the dichotomies of the world. He told them of the mountains and the hills, the grasslands and the deserts. It was easy for him. All he had really known was the time before the darkness. In that same sense, he had known a darkness deeper than anyone else had.

When the darkness came into the world, it took something from everybody. From Isaac, it took the ability to see. Isaac was blind.

No one saw the irony in hearing of such a world described by a blind man; they just wanted to escape. Leave the darkness behind them, if only for a moment. They wanted a brighter, more colorful world, and they wanted to believe that the world could be like that again someday.

Often, the people would have nightmares. It was no surprise to anyone, but nobody ever got used to them. Everyone had the same dream. The darkness would rise up off the cold, damp streets, lunging at the dreamer, swallowing them in blackness.

One child, however, saw a different vision.

He dreamed of bright pastures and sparkling lakes, lively music and silent forests. He often listened to Isaac’s stories, but they did not seem the same as the boy’s dreams. One day the boy, Xavier, told Isaac about his dreams.

Isaac was astounded at the brightness of the boy’s words. Whereas Isaac could prompt imagination, Xavier could create thoughts. Isaac was imagining things as Xavier described them, things he had never seen before, but now could recall every detail, every tiny, miniscule fact, because he could now see with his mind.

Isaac told Xavier of his gift. It was not just his dreams that made Xavier different, but also the way he could tell them. His locution seemed to bring to life the world as it should be, not as it had been, in the Golden Days, but an even brighter and more glorious tomorrow, filled with rich colors and deep emotions. With his words, there came also the sound of this world. Sounds not of the despair and silent oppression of the darkness that the people endured, but songs. The songs were lively and musical, sung by winds through fields and woods, chattering animals and noisy brooks, all contributing their piece to the Minuet of Nature.

It is a shame then, that in this dark world, such brightness as Xavier could bring could not ultimately push back the darkness for good. The darkness was everywhere, and the darkness does not like bright things. The darkness learned of Xavier, of his stories and dreams, and swallowed him up. Just like in the nightmares that he had never had, the darkness crept up from behind, on the cold, damp streets, lurching forwards with its hundreds of arms all outstretched to grab him.

A few people were with Xavier that day. None of them dared to describe what they saw. Nobody besides those few ever really knew what had happened to Xavier. What those people really saw was not a tiny shadow rising up and covering Xavier. What they saw was not intangible. They all could feel the cold. They could smell the dank stench of decay. They could see the darkened, bloodshot eyes, the slow, bureaucratic removal of Xavier from the dark, algid world. They could taste the tears flowing from his eyes to the edges of his mouth as he slipped away. Most of all, they could hear his silence.

Xavier did not scream or fight back. He knew he had done what he had to do. Hope is what the people needed, and hope he brought. He gave them a glimpse of a brighter world, and showed them the possibility of a new tomorrow. He had proved to the people that darkness had a weakness, and that it was afraid. The darkness was desperate to get rid of this tiny bright spark.

Xavier had shown the way.

How would the darkness fare against a thousand bright sparks?


One Response to “Dark.”

  1. Very nicely done. And I can’t draw either.

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