Fear of the dark

They taught me to fear the dark. They forgot to mention what happens in the light. Don’t go into that dark alley, don’t stay out past curfew, always stay in the lights if you get stuck outside.  The Light Laws were designed to keep us safe.

There was still danger in the light but people quickly became blinded by the supposed safety. They blamed things they didn’t like on the twilight hours even if it happened in the middle of the day. We all became complacent allowing our government to deal with violators of the light laws. Before we knew it the system had too much power in hopes they would keep us safe from the dark.

They took my mother away in the middle of the day, they said she  hadn’t kept the light burning in her room all night. I know we had a power surge that had caused them to flicker. I know it was an excuse to take her, she had whispered to her best friend earlier that day that the sunset had been beautiful. A simple admiration of nature had her taken away. It got me thinking that they might be hiding something. Then when they took both the parents of week old Luna when their house experienced a power outage. The whole neighborhood watched them tear the family apart at lunchtime.

I believed their excuses until they took a tired old man into the streets for execution, they said he was out after curfew. This man couldn’t even get out of bed, but he did remember the time before the light laws. He was the last one who did. He was the final piece of the puzzle.

I didn’t tell anyone my plan, I didn’t want them to get caught up in the mess I was going to make. I had my bag packed and ready to go, at twilight I didn’t go home I was determined to see what the dark was hiding.

I walked out of town off the roads. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were beautiful lights in the sky. Twinkling little lights that mesmerized me. We could see the sky at night but it was flat and gray not silky black sprinkled with white. I had no idea that our moon was so bright like a second sun illuminating my way through the fields.

Why would they hide such beauty from us. I waited for something go happen for someone to come get me and drag me away. No one showed up. I ran gleefully through the fields away from our town. There was nothing to be afraid of. The realization struck me, I could never go back home, they would apprehend me in a heartbeat. Not for some crap excuse, for truly violating the Light Laws. I was free, but exiled. I walked all night until the sun started to peek over the horizon. Now I needed to hide. During the day someone might spot me, then they would execute me without hesitation.

I slept in a ditch covered by leaves and branches. I didn’t sleep the whole day but I stayed hidden until the moon peaked out. I trekked on hoping to find more fugitives of the light. There was no one only me.

It was another day before I encountered  anything. I found an abandoned city. At least I thought it was abandoned until I stepped  inside of it. I was greeted by a handgun in my face.

“Who are you, why are you here?” An angry voice shouted at me from behind the gun.

“I ran away…”

The gun lowered slightly. The holder shouted over their shoulder. “Boss it’s a girl. Says she’s a runaway.”

I didn’t hear the reply. The guy grabbed me  roughly by the shoulder and shoved me through a doorway  into a building.

“We have to make sure she’s not one of them.” A man said, he seemed only a little older than me, but it was hard to tell in the dark.

“What are the things in the sky called?”

“I’m not sure…”

“Are you afraid of the dark.” He asked.

“Not anymore…” I was really just scared of both.

He looked her over. “Who knows you’re here.”

“No one,” I could not sit still.

He leaned forward. “Little girl we are what they teach you to be afraid of. Tie her up until we can be sure she’s not a spy. We have a raid to run.”

I was tied up, my bag was searched then they left. I looked up at the dots in the sky drawing pictures with my mind.

There was hushed whispering outside of the building after a few hours.

“What’s your name?” Someone shouted.

“Cin Mayer.”   There was an intense argument and I heard someone get hit.

The guy from earlier came in. “You’re clean, there’s a hit on you anyone from the government. Violation of the curfew.”

He untied her. “Welcome to the team.”

“What team is that exactly?”  I asked rubbing my wrists.

“The good guys.” He said with a wink.

I followed him out of the building. It didn’t seem like there were very many people here, the ones I could see were young.  He talked as we walked, “This use to be a city until the Light Laws went into effect. A lot of cities died because of them. Too many businesses went under, too many people taken away.”

“Seems like they take people for no reason.” I noticed the sun was starting to come up no one was hiding from the light here.

“They take people who are curious about the dark. If they say anything boom. Some people just sneak away like you did. We end up here. Or in another dead city. We have some communication with them it is very limited.”

“They took my mom because she liked the sunset?”

He nodded and waved at a cluster of people. There was a long silence before he spoke again, “We run raids for information and supplies. Are you fast?”

I  shrugged.

“I guess it’s something we can work on.” He said. “Maybe we can get your mom back.”

“You really think so?”

“If we can get the information.”

“I guess I’m joining the dark side.” I could feel hope growing and I tried to squash it down.

He  laughed, “Devin, by the way. My name is Devin.”

I joined the cause with everything I could. We stole lots of information in the nights. There was nothing on my mother for weeks, then months, then years. We couldn’t get any information from my city, it was the most closely guarded. The others thought it was because there was some big secret there.

“What if they’re killing the city?” I asked one night around eating.

“Why would they kill the city?” Devin asked.

I shrugged they did a lot of things that didn’t make sense. It seemed like they were trying to clear the area, “Maybe the population is getting too small, I mean we know birthrates are down.”

“Speaking of birthrates…”

“No.” I said firmly. Being the only girl here had some drawbacks. “Maybe its because more females are taken?”

Devin shrugged. “We still don’t know where they take everyone.”

I could do better than the raids, I could get deeper into the compounds than the others. I knew I could get the information we needed.

“I’m going in.” I told Devin.

“I’m going with you.”

“Its for my mom.”

“Well you can’t go alone.”

“I can get deeper into the city on my own.” I crossed my arms defiantly.

“Fine we will go for your mom, just us two.”

I huffed, it was the best I was going to  get. A rule was no one went to the light alone.  “We leave tomorrow.”

He nodded.

We set out for the city as soon as the sun hit the horizon. We made the hike and blended in with the people who were milling about during the day. We hid when night fell.  We would have to do the main push of the raid at night but we needed to make it to the point first.

The next morning we made the final push and sat outside the wall of the city hall until the sun sunk slow and  heavy. The moon crept up. We slunk along the wall and then over it where it was in mild disrepair.

They were moving faster than when they ran big raids. They were down the silent hallway in minutes. They made it to the record room and started digging through the paperwork.

Devin held up paperwork triumphantly. I grabbed a handful of papers too and we scurried out. We got back to the dead city before we looked at it.

They were moving my mom to a new city every week there was no way of knowing which city they were going to move her next. The papers I had grabbed seemed useless.

“Maybe next time?” Devin said.

I shrugged feeling defeated. I hoped she was okay, I hoped my dad was okay, I hoped little Luna was okay. Every day that ticked by drove me nuts, I wanted answers.

“One day we will figure this out…” I muttered. “We need to make them see there is nothing to fear from the darkness. Let’s start a revolution!”

Devin looked at me like I was crazy.

“If we plunge the whole city into darkness they can’t take all of the people can they? If they see the sparkles they will know not to be scared.”

“You sure Cin?” Devin asked.

I nodded “I think we got some power grid blueprints.”

I shuffled through the papers and slapped it down on the table. Devin pointed to a spot on the map. “We can get the power line  here.”

They went out for their mission. They broke the lines and crept forward to see their handy work people were scared running from their darkened houses. No one came to take anyone away. The lights in the sky twinkled little kids noticed them first pointing them out to their parents. Soon the whole city was looking up at the sky.  Something told me that the city would never go back to the old ways. It was the first step of the revolution to bring the night back. The city would carry the revolution forward. 


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Writing short stories and flash pieces.

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