The Light World
The year is 2234. A lot has changed since what is now called the “Solar Age.” The Solar Age was back in time when people were still using batteries and fossil fuels to light their cities. Later they moved on to solar plating where humans harnessed the energy of the sun to light their homes. The process of light is very important in this new world because your ability to control light will decide how your life will be lived. Around 200 years ago the first Neuro-Light was invented. Neuro-Light was a self-sustaining energy source that enhanced the brightness depending on the quality of thoughts produced by those near it. This proved to be interesting to the public and caught on quickly and led to the phenomenon of “Dream Light” and “Child Light.”
But if the quality of light depended on the quality of thought then what did that mean for the people who weren’t Einstein or Hemingway? Where did they get their light? As time went on and societies separated the lights for those with quality thoughts shone brighter and further advanced their humanity, those who were deemed less than by the lights sank deeper and deeper into darkness until it seemed the lighter world had forgotten them completely. The dark world became a slum for the idiots and the poor. Their world revolved around light but once the sunset they had nothing, only darkness. Even schoolhouses were dark and no one cared to learn anything or think anything. That was their world until-
A siren went off in the distance, “The sun is setting, please return to your homes. The sun is setting, please return to your homes.”
“Dusk, we shouldn’t be doing this,” whispered the dark haired girl behind a tree.
“Don’t worry Shade, we won’t get caught,” another dark haired girl whispered back.
“Yes we will, what if you make the lights again?”
“I’m not the only one who can make lights, they’re not even that bright. No one will know as long as I don’t think straight.”
“I just don’t understand why we have to do this at night?”
“You hear what all the old people say when they think no one is listening? The light world has long since abandoned the dark world. A light world, that means more people who can manipulate light,” Dusk almost shouted.
Shade shushed her, “Come on Dusk, be reasonable. We don’t know what’s out there and we barely know the night. What if we get lost?”
Dusk took her friend’s hand, “We live in the dark world, why should a little night scare us?”
The two ran off into the forest to a glowing stream. It was filled with stones that reflected the moonlight. Shade fell by the water’s edge and took in the sight. She had never seen lights like this. Dusk, however, snuck out often. She figured out where the night watchers are and even found this stream. Sometimes she’d be out all night if it were warm enough. Luckily tonight was warm enough.
“I heard that the light world is north of here.”
Dusk looked under a tree and pulled out an old fruit crate but inside were bits of junk she collected from the junk yard. If one dug deep enough there were all kinds of treasures from the Solar Age.
“Dusk! Why do you have those things!?”
“If no one tells then no one finds out and it’s fine. Besides this stuff will help us find north.”
“I don’t know Dusk, you should just get rid of it. It’ll make you sick.”
“Stuff from the old world doesn’t make you sick. They just tell you that.”
“Why?” Asked Shade.
Dusk filled a bowl with water and help out a piece of cork. Then she stuck a needle into the cork and placed it in the water and waited. The needle moved the cork in the water and pointed in a direction.
“Ok, so we’ll go that way.”
“How do you know?”
“I read it in the junkyard.”
Shade narrowed her eyes, “You can read?”
“Not a lot, I guess on a lot of the words. But I know what north looks like so I looked for that.”
Shade nodded, “can you show me?”
“Sure, soon as we get to the light world. They read all the time probably.”
The two girls took as many of the glowing river stones as they could carry and walked through the night in the direction they thought was north. Dusk came up with the idea that they could use the stones to help them find their way back to the dark world in case they got lost- which eased Shade’s mind. They journeyed until they were beyond the forest and into a wide clearing. The two girls took a break in the tall grass and looked up at the night. It wasn’t dark at all. There were all kinds of lights in the sky. They were called stars and moon. Shade was told a story by her grandmother that the stars could make shapes together to form pictures, but Shade could never see the pictures- neither could Dusk. They tried making some up but it didn’t really work. Even with the scattered lights they couldn’t see anything.
“Hey Dusk,” Shade asked when they began walking again.
“Do you think we’ll be able to bring some of the light back with us?”
Dusk smiled, “That’s a great idea! Maybe we can have someone teach us how to use the lights too! Then we can show everyone else!”
Shade nodded, “Then we won’t need to go to the light world anymore!”
Dusk stared at Shade for a minute, “What do you mean?”
“Once we have light of our own we won’t need to leave again.”
“But, I thought maybe we could keep going back to the light world and maybe live there instead?”
“Why would you want to do that,” Shade asked.
Dusk shrugged, giving up, “I don’t know. Just somethin’ I thought of.”
They kept walking. All through the night, until they ran out of stones. It was when they ran out of stones Shade began to worry and even wonder if the light world really existed. The sky was starting to lighten, had they really been walking all night? It was then Dusk caught a glimpse of something. Real light. Dusk shook Shade and pointed it out.
“There! Do you see it? Look Shade! Behind that wall is light!”
Shade brightened, “A light that doesn’t dim or go out, it’s the light world!”
The two girls took hands and started running through the fields. They were tired and a little hungry but that didn’t matter. They could do anything they wanted once they got to the light world. Why were the buildings so big? What did the people look like? How did they keep the lights on all the time? They couldn’t wait to ask these questions. Then they arrived to the great wall, almost as well lit at the city behind it.
“How do we get in,” Shade asked.
“I’ll ask,” Dusk smiled and looked up and screamed at the wall, “Hello!”
A small box came out of the wall with a glass eye, “state your business.”
“We came here to see the lights,” Dusk smiled.
“Denied,” said the box’s voice, “please leave the premise.”
Shade looked like she wanted to cry but Dusk persisted, “Please, we’ve been walking all night. Let us in.”
“Denied. Please leave the premise,” the box said again before going back into the wall.
Shade fell down, taking her shoes off and started to cry. Dusk kicked the wall and screamed at the wall, begging to be let inside. The box didn’t come out again except to warn them to leave one last time. The two little girls didn’t move. They needed to get in, they needed to see the light world and take the light back with them. Then a man came out. He looked strange. He wore strange clothes and metal over his eyes.
“Please let us in,” Dusk mumbled, her voice sore from shouting.
The man said nothing and pulled out a small black box shaped like the letter “L.” Dusk realized what she was looking at and screamed.
Then there was a loud sound Shade had never heard before and there was a hole in Dusk’s face. She was bleeding and fell over. Shade was petrified, she couldn’t move. She saw the black box pointed at her and then she looked up. Just over the wall she could see the lights. They were bright and colorful. She kept her eyes on those lights before she heard that loud sound again. Then she felt pain. Then she fell over. Then the man started to walk away. Then Shade heard the old people from their village.
The light world has long since abandoned the dark world.