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.