By: Danie Reynolds
The Light of Friendship
The Darkness had lasted for months on end. Not a single ray of sunshine had peeked through the dark clouds in the sky. Holland was beginning to lose hope that the Darkness would ever go away. The only light anyone saw these days was the soft flicker of candlelight, and that was if you could even find a candle in the first place. Holland could hardly remember what the sun felt like on her skin, how beautiful it looked as it shined brightly in the sky. Holland sighed sadly and kicked a rock, watching it skitter across the dirt path ahead of her.
Today had been an especially bad day. The kids at school had been teasing her again. She had never been very popular at school before, but now the Darkness made everyone’s attitudes towards everyone else worse. The girls had teased her about her hair, whispered and passed notes about her during class, and then stolen her lunch. No, today had definitely not been her day.
Holland shivered and pulled her black coat tighter around her. But then something caught her eye. A flicker of light between some nearby trees. Holland quickly walked toward it. Any light, even candlelight, was still longed for. But when Holland reached the trees, she saw no sign of it. Then out of the corner of her eye, Holland saw the light again. She chased after it, determined not to lose it. Finally, Holland saw an even brighter light ahead of her. What a big candle that must be, she thought to herself. But when Holland stumbled into the clearing with the light, she saw that there was no candle.
There was a girl, who appeared to be around Holland's age. But what was unusual was the girl was glowing with blindingly bright light. The girl appeared to be covered in a blanket of sunshine. Holland was extremely wary of the girl, and although she wanted to run towards the beams of light coming from the girl, she forced herself to hide behind a tree. She didn’t know the girl's intentions yet.
As Holland watched, the girl looked up to the black clouds in the sky and closed her eyes. The girl appeared to be concentrating very hard. Then, to Holland's amazement, the clouds above the girl opened up, and a ray of sunshine shone through them. Holland couldn’t contain herself any longer. She leaped out from behind the tree and ran towards it, arms outstretched as if she would give it a big hug. The girl opened her eyes and gasped, and the beams of light vanished. The girl was staring at Holland, jaw dropped. Holland slumped in disappointment, but then she remembered her manners.
“Hi,” she said politely, although still saddened by the disappearance of the light. “Nice light you’ve got there. My name is Holland. What’s yours?”
The girl continued to gawk, making Holland feel very awkward.
“Hello?” Holland said. “Anybody home?”
The girl made a squeaking sound. At first, Holland thought the girl was afraid of her, but then the girl smiled widely, and she appeared as bright and welcoming as the sun.
“You mean you can see me?” The girl asked. Her voice was warm and as smooth as honey.
“Well, yeah. Why wouldn’t I see you?” Holland responded in confusion. The girl looked like she was about to burst with excitement.
“Oh, this is wonderful! There is still hope after all!” The girl cried. Holland had no idea what the girl was talking about, but she was more interested in the sunshine the girl had made appear.
“What was that thing you did with the light? You made the darkness just go away for a second. Can you do it again?” Holland asked.
“Wow, you ask a lot of questions,” the girl said, but she smiled. “To answer your first one, my name is Sundra. As for what I did with the light just barely, that is something I have always been able to do. But now it is nearly impossible,” Sundra said, then continued. “I have been dying for years now to fix this problem that we have here, this Darkness.”
“What do you mean? The Darkness has only been here for a few months.” Holland said.
“Oh, no. The Darkness has been here far longer than anyone realizes. The Darkness is not simply black clouds in the sky that block out the sun. The Darkness was formed by everyone. All of the doubt, enemies, negativity, hatred that all people have, that is what created the Darkness. That is why it is so rare to find the true light. The pure light of happiness, friendship, hope, and peace. I am the keeper of that light. It is my job to protect it, to never let it die. Yet now I fear it might.” Sundra said that last part with a quiver in her voice.
“Woah. Big job,” Holland said. Holland wasn’t even sure if she trusted the girl, but she did know she felt awful for her.
“Well,” Holland said, “I can help you try to restore it. We can start right now if you want. It can’t die as long as one person believes in it, right? You don’t have to worry. I always will.” Holland said, trying to comfort Sundra. Sundra blinked the tears out of her eyes.
“You would really do that?” Sundra asked, uncertain.
“Of course. If you can bring the light back, I will do anything to help you.” Holland replied. That made Sundra smile again.
“Okay. We can start right now,” Sundra said. “Holland, will you be my friend?”
Now Holland was smiling, too. “Of course. Now let’s go get rid of the Darkness.” A warmth filled Holland’s chest, and she felt better than she had in weeks. Then the two new friends walked off into the forest, going to spread the light that they had just discovered. What they didn’t see, was that behind them in the clearing, a small ray of sunshine had just peeked through the clouds, and lit up the forest floor.