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Fantasy Speculative Fiction

The world had begun in light. Light was pure, light was good. Light was the savior of the universe. When the world was nothing, when it's people were blind, light emerged. That was the way the stories were told in Ezoris.

Isa shut the door, turning the lock so that it clicked. She tried the handle, and only released her breath when it didn't budge. Night would fall soon, and when the darkness covered the world like a thick blanket, the night creatures would emerge.

Big, horrible beasts, said to have three rows of teeth and claws like knives. They were dark like the night, perfect camouflage.

"Isa," hissed her mother. "Step away from the door. Have you closed the windows? And what about the curtains? Looking a night beast in the eye could kill you." Isa took a big step away from the door and nodded.

"Come here," her mother said, outstretching her arms. Isa drifted towards her until she was entrapped in her mother's embrace. Three kisses were planted on her forehead.

"Oh, look at this!" Isa's mother ran her thumb along her cheek. It stung, faintly. "A blessing from the light. Come see yourself in the mirror."

Isa looked at her reflection, a hand reaching up to brush the reddened part of her cheek. It didn't feel much like a blessing, but who was she to question the light?

"We should go to see the priests tomorrow."

"I don't want to," Isa murmured, not loud enough for her mother to hear. The priests scared her. They were devoted to the light in a way that she could never be.

True to her word, the next day Isa traveled to the Temple of the Light, where the priests spent their days.

Isa of the Sun, they called her when her mother told the story of her blessing.

Isa would not meet their eyes, until they tipped her head up to look at the reddened area. Her breath hitched when she saw them. They would not focus, and they stared past her.

They were blind, Isa realized, then, what were they looking at?

"You could join us," said one, "the light has chosen you. If you wished to truly devote yourself, you would be welcomed to the Temple."

Some of the other ones murmured their agreement.

"What's wrong with their eyes?" Isa asked her mother quietly.

She smiled. "They looked into the Light. Now they see only what the light provides."

Why would the light rob us of a sense? wondered Isa. Was that truly love?

"Come, girl," said one of the priests, holding out a long, bony-fingered hand.

"No-" Isa stopped herself. "No, no, I can't. I don't want to."

They turned their unseeing eyes on her. "Why ever not? It's a privilege to pledge yourself to the light as it has to you."

Isa didn't want to be blind. She didn't want to be burned. She didn't want to be loved by the light, if this was how it felt.

"Go to them," whispered her mother, more harshly than she had ever spoken. "Go. Now."

The priest held out his hand, grasping air until he landed on Isa's shoulder. His grip was hard, causing her to let out a sound of surprise. He shoved her forward until she walked on her own, glancing back over her shoulder at her mother, who smiled brightly.

"I thought I had a choice," Isa asked tentatively. She wasn't sure how far these priests would go.

"Of course you do," said one of them, not looking towards her. How could they? "But you chose the light. Everyone chooses the light."

The hand on her shoulder squeezed harder until she had to bite her lip to keep from shouting out.

“What about those who don’t? Choose the light, I mean.” 

“Then they’re left in the dark,” one of the priests said viciously. The priest said it as if it were a threat. Isa shuddered. The beasts in the dark were not something she ever hoped to see. 

“What will happen to me? Will I become blind?” 

The priests turned on her in synchrony. They all wore the same bitter expression. “Blind to what? The darkness? The light is the only thing we ever need to see.” 

Could they even see the light? Isa didn’t dare ask. 

“You will become just like us,” said the oldest priest, “and the light will love you just as dearly as it loves us.” 

Isa raised a hand to her cheek. Perhaps these priests had never truly known love, if they thought this was it. 

` She needed to get away, she realized. She couldn’t become like these people, devoted to the light, mistaking it’s cruelty for love. She stopped in her tracks, but the priests didn’t notice. 

Was the light ever the savior of the world? Was it so bad, in the darkness? Could she trust those who loved the light when they said the dark was cruel and full of monsters?

No, that wasn’t right. All the monsters lived in the light. 

Isa slept in the temple. Or, she was supposed to have slept in the 

temple. However, she was in the middle of opening her window. It didn’t open fully, but she was small enough to fit through. A hard tumble onto the ground likely left her wrist sprained, but she ran and she did not stop running. 

Where was she? She was in a field, she realized, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. She was out in a field, in the open, and there were no monsters. There was a chill in the air that she had never felt before, sure, but it was welcome. 

Above, silvery stars twinkled. She had never seen them before. They were beautiful. Not like the sun, which was harsh and hot. Not like the beasts they were said to be. 

They just were. The way that a thirsty person felt drinking water, that was how Isa felt in the darkness. The world might have begun in light, but the darkness would always end the day. 

May 03, 2021 17:45

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1 comment

Graham Kinross
12:36 Nov 20, 2021

Nice. It bugs me that the light is always seen as a sign of purity and love when the sun literally burns you. Darkness can be soothing like this. Thanks for the story. Thank you for getting right to the point as well.


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