Morning Darkness, Illuminated Night

Submitted for Contest #39 in response to: One day, the sun rose in the west and set in the east.... view prompt

52 comments

Sofie woke up to darkness. It was as if obsidian and coal had clasped hands around her, fingers brushing her face and hair. Confusion sketched itself on her face as she groped around on top of the nightstand for her phone. The screen eerily illuminated her face, instantly painting the room a neon blue.

The time flashed across the screen, and the sight of it ignited a fiery gasp that left Sofie's throat stinging. The phone slipped from her hands, the light of the screen sinking lower and lower until it hit the floor with a soft thud.

It was 9:30 A.M.

The peculiarity of the morning darkness froze her like marble, like stone, like ice. Sofie sat there for a few moments in shock, her mind desperately turning over every rock for a possible explanation. She'd slept in, and woken up to a pitch-black room? The constant pinging sounds momentarily unfroze her as she reached down from the bed to retrieve her now-cracked phone. Notifications flew in, practically overflowing the lock screen. Sofie worriedly scrolled through the notifications, clenching her teeth.

All news. Bolded, underlined, fire-hydrant-red headlines stuck out like knives in the sea of notifications, stabbing at her sleepy eyes. Sofie tapped the one that stood out to her the most; Morning Darkness. An article popped onto the screen and she skimmed it, reading faster than she ever had. If only she'd read this fast in school, maybe she'd have passed more subjects. Especially Science.

When the last sentence had been read, Sofie put down the phone and swung her legs out of bed, running a hand through her mussed black hair.

A scratching sounded at the slowly opening door. Jumping up from the floor, a flash of white in the darkness, was Prince, Sofie's pet fennec fox. He was the stripe across a skunk's back, a cloud in gray skies, the first streak of white in an aging person's jet-black hair. Sofie held him close to her chest as she walked downstairs to make her favorite morning drink: iced coffee with coconut syrup, milk froth, and toasted sweet coconut sprinkled on top.

She knew that other people would have family and friends calling and them desperately, wanting to know how their loved ones were doing. She knew that they would squeal and cry out how much they loved them and that they should stay strong. She knew that there would be frantic texts asking how they were doing.

No calls or texts came into her phone.

It lay there on the glossy counter, silent, empty. Sofie spitefully glared at it for a moment, angry that fate hadn't given her anyone to call or text. Oh well. There was nothing that could be done about that. She tapped her chin in thought, reflecting on the article she'd read earlier.

So, the earth suddenly stopped and started turning the other way. Which means the sun would rise in the west today and set in the east? So it's going to be night until we get some sun, huh. It's going to be a very long day in the west? Interesting.

This was quite a scary moment for the world, with live streams from leaders assuring their citizens, with news channels broadcasting without pause, with celebrities and social media influencers posting comforting words, with religious people exasperatedly repeating that it was the end of the world. But for Sofie, it proved to be a distraction.

For a moment, Sofie did believe that the world was ending. For a moment, flashes of everything important to her-Prince, her studies, art, making music-burned through her mind. She thought of all the tasks she'd leave undone. She had yet to paint the towering redwoods of California, the shimmering turquoise mass of Lake Tahoe, the majestic canyons of Yellowstone. She had yet to paint the Eiffel Tower, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis. If she left, the world would still continue, she mused. What would become of humanity? Sofie shook her head, the accumulating thoughts flying away like scattering birds when approached by a cat.

This also was a uniter for the world, in a way. The world had been so caught up in their wars and stereotypes and who posted what and what clothes were trending and it absolutely bothered her. She'd scroll through her social media only to see Now, the world could share their panic and desperation together. Wars would pause. Superficial talk would cease. Everyone would be scared together-even nicer to each other by comforting strangers.

Sofie knew that this wasn't the common way of thinking. Who would be pleased about such a crisis? This could prove to be an almost psychopathic way of thinking. She dismissed the thought.

Now, while the world screamed and yelled, Sofie had no choice but to turn to her only comfort-baking.

Thirty minutes later, the scent of vanilla wafted through her apartment. She set down a lemony yellow mug with cream polka dots onto the table. A beautiful mug cake rested in front of her, fluffy and moist. With a spoon in hand, Sofie dug into her treat with a small smile dancing across her lips. A flash from a passing car lit up the window in front of her and she looked up, only then noticing how strange it looked for 10:11 in the morning. Every window in the quaint neighborhood was lit, each a beacon of light in the darkness. It jarred Sofie's brain for a moment, sending her thoughts tumbling around into each other.

Was she eating breakfast or dinner?

When the mug had only a scattering of crumbs left inside, and her coffee cup had been drained, she got up and padded up to her room. The ambiance of the continued night made Sofie quite sleepy, and so she flopped into bed and almost immediately fell asleep.

The rest of the day passed in a fitful rest, each wake only a new drop in the overflowing glass of her mind.

The sunlight was what woke her up. Bright rays seeped through the thin shutters, playing across the room in stripes.

Around 8 P.M, she opened the window to a golden tsunami of sunlight flooding the room. She laid in the stream of gold running through her room, Prince sitting on her stomach. Employing habit, she got up and changed, grabbed her backpack, and slipped on her shoes for school. Her bedtime alarm buzzed and she pulled out her phone. Oh. For a moment, it almost felt normal. Just, a new normal.

Yes, it was strange. But it did unify the world and give Sofie something else to think about. After all, it was nothing but a distraction.


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52 comments

Daryl Gravesande
13:26 May 29, 2020

And as you may have guessed, I'm a pretty fast reader, lol. Very descriptive! I gotta say, you are a VERY talented writer! How old are you? I'm only 15, so I guess that might be not surprising or a shock, I guess. Last thing, you are DEEPLY underrated.

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Laiba M
18:22 May 29, 2020

Haha, so am I! Thank you so much, your comments put a huge smile on my face!

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Daryl Gravesande
18:27 May 29, 2020

I'm glad they do! Hey, I just posted a new story, wanna be the first to read it?

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Laiba M
18:29 May 29, 2020

Yess, thanks!

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Avani Gupta
02:10 Jun 24, 2020

Great story! I see what you meant when this one had A LOT of positivity! ;) Seriously, though, props to you!!

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Laiba M
03:25 Jun 24, 2020

Haha, thanks :D

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Raven Quill
04:58 Jun 21, 2020

This is beautifully written! I never thought I would say this though, but I almost felt as if it were too descriptive. Your metaphors and similes were so frequent it kind of takes the reader out of the story. I also think you could have taken this prompt and gone crazy scifi/fantasy, but this was a relaxing, and almost melancholy take on the prompt...yet still kind of hopeful. Either way, you're a gifted writer and keep on keeping on :)!

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Laiba M
11:51 Jun 21, 2020

Thank you, Raven!! I understand what you mean, I tend to add a lot of metaphors and similes without thinking about how they affect the overall structure of the story. I agree that the prompt could've been used or taken on differently, but I am horrible at writing sci-fi and fantasy, I prefer reading those genres instead :) I will work on those in the future, thank you so much for reading my story! It means a lot!!

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Raven Quill
16:12 Jun 21, 2020

Of course!! I didn't mean to say you necessarily SHOULD have taken your story that route, it was just what I was expecting. It's your story and YOU did a great job! I'm glad the feedback helped! I also love reading scifi and fantasy :P

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Laiba M
16:25 Jun 21, 2020

Oh, no, I understood! It's fine, and thank you! Glad we have something in common :D

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Batool Hussain
06:08 Jun 15, 2020

Hey! You asked me to read and here I am. Wow, Laiba. The story is just so amazing! I felt as if I were Sophie herself. The details are all so on point. A beautiful piece, I must say:) Will you be willing to give me a follow? Thanks.

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Laiba M
12:28 Jun 15, 2020

Thank you!!! And no problem, I would be more than happy to :D

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Pragya Rathore
01:20 Jun 01, 2020

What a fantastic story! I really liked the descriptions.

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Laiba M
01:35 Jun 01, 2020

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it!

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Maggie Deese
17:19 May 26, 2020

This was a great story, Labia! Your writing style is fantastic and it intrigued me the whole way through. Keep writing, you are an amazing author! Would you be willing to check out my latest story? Thanks!! :)

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Laiba M
18:16 May 26, 2020

Thank you so much, Maggie :D That made me super happy!! I will gladly check out your story and leave feedback!

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Maggie Deese
18:19 May 26, 2020

You're so welcome!!

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Laiba M
18:38 May 26, 2020

:) I left feedback on your latest story, it's really good by the way!!!

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Maggie Deese
18:42 May 26, 2020

Thank you again!!

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Laiba M
01:35 May 27, 2020

No, thank you for writing such a great story!! It was interesting and gave me something nice to read!

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23:37 May 25, 2020

Hi!! I really truly love this story, and it would be amazing to see more of your writing! It would be awesome if you read Daryl Gravesande's stories, and then like and follow!! His favorite is the first! Then please spread the word! I would gladly do the same for you! Thanks so much for the support! Stay safe!-Avery.

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Laiba M
18:15 May 26, 2020

Hi, Avery!!! I will make sure to check out his stories and spread the word, thank you for the recommendation! I also hope you stay safe :)

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18:19 May 26, 2020

Aww thanks! He will really appreciate that! Stay safe. Avery :)))

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Laiba M
18:38 May 26, 2020

You're welcome!! You too!

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18:55 May 26, 2020

:))

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Laiba M
01:38 May 27, 2020

:D

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Laiba M
19:09 Jun 23, 2020

Hey, Avery! Is it okay if I mention you in my bio and recommend others to read your stories? Thanks!

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12:42 Jul 04, 2020

yes

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Ellie Harban
03:48 May 22, 2020

That was a great story, your choice of words and just everything was amazing. I hope to read more of your stories. You are an amazing author!

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Laiba M
15:09 May 22, 2020

Aww, thanks so much Ella!! You're really nice :D

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Ellie Harban
17:53 Aug 07, 2020

No, problem. Have a great day :D

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Laiba M
19:13 Aug 07, 2020

(:

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David Drew
15:36 May 14, 2020

Very nicely written Laiba. I enjoyed it. Your prose is enjoyable to read!

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Laiba M
17:27 May 14, 2020

Thank you so much, David!! I'll be sure to check out your stories :D

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S.m. Lawrence
14:34 May 07, 2020

Hi, I got you in the critique circle email, so here's some entirely unqualified feedback: I like the way you've used the prompt, it's a cool imagining of the idea and it's easy to see the parallels to everything going on right now. If I had to suggest an improvement: the sections about uniting the world and about her lack of phone calls felt a bit blunt; they're good ideas but I think they would be more emotionally real if they'd been shown through Sofie's actions rather than directly told to us. That said, there's some really nice, evoc...

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Laiba M
18:08 May 07, 2020

Hi! I wouldn't say your feedback is unqualified, I truly thought it was very helpful! Thank you for the advice and I will check out your story!

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Ariel Ingram
20:58 May 06, 2020

This was extremely well-written. Each and every word and sentence was so thought out and it really held my attention. The first paragraph instantly drew me in, and I liked the paragraph where she questioned what would happen to humanity as everything important to her flashed before her. Amazing work, and I love your style!

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Laiba M
21:07 May 06, 2020

Thank you so much!!! Yes, I did take a lot of time on it! Thank you for the compliments, I'll be sure to check out your story :)

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Ariel Ingram
21:23 May 06, 2020

Of course! And thanks!

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Laiba M
23:24 May 06, 2020

You're welcome :D

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Ai Jiang
05:59 May 06, 2020

Hi Laiba! I thought it was very interesting the way the piece embraced the abundance in the face of abnormality and how your character was so calm although the whole world was in chaos. It made an event that shouldn't feel normal, well, normal and offers a unique perspective on how different types of people may adapt and react to changes in which your narrator seems to be one that adapts quickly. Thank you for sharing your story!

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Laiba M
17:21 May 06, 2020

Thank you so much for your opinion! I didn't want to make Sofie freak out and the whole story being a mess of scrambled thoughts, I prefer to make many of my characters' thought processes quite different from the average person in that situation. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story!!

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Ai Jiang
20:47 May 06, 2020

No problem! Yes, and I definitely think it was a refreshing take!

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Laiba M
21:06 May 06, 2020

Thanks again :)

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Ai Jiang
20:01 May 07, 2020

No worries!

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Sam T.
09:42 May 03, 2020

I don't think i have the right words to appreciate just how wonderfully you wrote this, i'm AMAZED by your talent. The flow of words was perfect and the story was precisely put. I thoroughly enjoyed reading :)

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Laiba M
15:57 May 03, 2020

Thanks SO SO much, Sam! I almost cried reading this, it meant a lot :D I look forward to reading more of your writing soon!

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Sam T.
17:54 May 03, 2020

Aw 💜💜

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Laiba M
17:55 May 03, 2020

💜💜💜

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Laiba M
23:27 May 01, 2020

Hey readers! I hope you enjoyed reading this story. Here's the recipe to the mug cakes if you'd like to make them: Ingredients: 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. (50g) All-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder, 1/4 cup (60ml) Milk, 1 Egg, 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, melted, 4 tablespoons (50g) Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract, 1 pinch salt Directions: 1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. 2. Add in the milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract, stir until smooth and combined. 3. Put the mixture in 2 microwave-safe mug...

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