Where I am, it’s winter. Yes, pretty white fluffies from the sky and excuses to do the warm things. Chocolate abounds. Dazzling light globes. Festivalities. But also! Abysmally short days, mornings I wish not to face, a dry cold which leeches into the bones and stays there, illness in every throat, the long spiral into seasonal depression.
It can be a difficult time of year.
Fortunately, it looks like I’m in for a reminder that things do in fact get better, because…
This week’s prompt is:
Yet the Sun Rises
RULES AND GUIDELINES HAVE CHANGED!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
As you dive into this, keep in mind that this prompt, like most, is much broader than it may at first seem. Really, the only two parts of this prompt to honor are: 1. Literally anything which a “sunrise” could represent, including hope, joy, love, etc., and 2. Something for your “sunrise” to exist in spite of.
So by and large, these are going to be stories about something sunrise-worthy arising in an unexpected place. Important distinction, though: this is YET the sun rises, not The Sun Rose Anyway. So rather than writing a lazarus story about someone dead coming back to life, maybe consider a story of acceptance, where death isn’t defeated, yet the characters are able to find happiness anyway.
Now go forth, all of you, and bring me a sunrise in this season of darkness!
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
Rules and Guidelines
We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!
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[…] this was written in response to the prompt: Yet the sun rises from Tale Foundry. I actually managed to post it on their site within the rules this time (click on […]
Son of None, Son of All, Son of Her
And in the night there was a call for help that made demons cringe, crows panic, and passersby run to aid. Her name was Rean, her time had come, her son was being born. The Merrick home was no longer a home; disturbed by the pain of a new life, all the comforts that made it so fled into the night. The midwife asked the name, and Rean replied with a weak groan, “Tobar. Tobar Merrick, of House Merrick, son to the country of Sloveria.”
Rean died that night. There was a wake. Her friends were there. Her husband-who-was-not-a-husband was not. Her son was not. The wild beauty had faded, the calmness had come, and her grave was filled.
Tobar was brought to the Home provided by the country for those such as him, St. Renault’s Resort for Extra Children. Raised in a way that would have made his mother proud, he was told often of his family, but never allowed to return to House Merrick. He did not wish to, for he knew that his grandfather would never love him. There were many things to be done by this boy. The saving of a life, a world, and six universes. The Hexaverse called.
At the bottom of the sea, by Andrei Pufu (TheYouke)
It was a cold day in hell.
A gramophone was playing Shostakovich’s second piano trio to the ocean of smoke that was Terry’s room.
I doubt he heard it through the stench of his thoughts and the cheap Brandy that constantly flooded his brain.
“How many cigarettes in eternity?”
The answer never came.
“Absurd question… But how bloody long will forever have to be until the streets of hell will be saturated with empty eyes drowning in endless, pointless nothing? As if this question’s better… As if there is any question worth the effort when you’re the only one who’s listening. I must be going insane…”
At the bottom of his room, on the ocean’s carpet floor, sunken empty bottles and packs of cigarettes were patiently waiting for the end of time.
“Hell needs a psychiatrist, alright… but that’s not me.”
He sighed. The pale light that invited itself through the window gave shape to the smoke. There was a peculiar beauty to it… Time was trapped in this room, and so was Terry, for the time being.
The sound of glass shattering was the spring that got the clock ticking again, and much-needed oxygen into the room.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake… can’t a man rot in hell in peace? On second thought…”
He must have realized his wording implies there was peace, somewhere in this abyss he was willingly sinking in…
Perhaps this abyss was not bottomless… and perhaps the bottom was another surface to reach out of when the Brandy dries up, on a cold day in hell.
A Plastic Smile and Time
By Kairos 5
A plastic smile with plastic joy. It can help you get through a lot in life.
Take me for example. When I found out that I failed my exams I only cried for half an hour before I put my smile and joy. After all I didn’t have time to waste on feeling sorry for myself, I need to study for my supplementary! And when the time came a week after my sups I didn’t have time cry that I failed those too, it was the first time in years we had a family vacation. I could sit and mop and drag everyone else down, or I could go for swim!
Yep, and now since we came back from vacation, I have to prepare going back to university for repeating the courses.
Yep, No time for sadness.
No time to doubt yourself.
To feel shame.
To be angry.
To wonder if maybe I can’t make it… and the dream ends here…
Yep! Absolutely no time! I definitely have no time for that!
The problem with plastic though is it doesn’t last. And it had to be bloody today that the mask broke.
And from when the sun rose to well after it set, alone in my room… I had to feel. Time be damned.
I am the Sun – By AvraKehdabra
All life is gone. The space filling the atmosphere is devoid of anything and everything, save for the remains of man, the last thing to inhabit this planet.
I remember, a whole generation of man believed they were the center of the universe. I have seen the center, for I was born from it. And when I implode, my raw elements and atoms and subatomic particles will spread throughout the galaxy, creating new stars, new space, new planets, life, and consciousness.
I am without a soul, yet I burn fiercer and brighter than the very humans I gave birth to. My rays pierced their retinas long before the first wheel or gun. They knew my love long before they could appreciate it, but despite the generations of innovation, science, love, culture, prosperity, and despair, never once was I blamed for the miracle of life that arose from the sun soaked dirt of Earth.
But I am not rueful, for it is impossible for me to feel so. Besides, there is no one to be rueful towards. No more humans to love, prosper, despair, or innovate. No more humans to feel or burn bright like the sun. Like Me. Yet the world keeps turning. My sister Luna still weeps as she swings over their corpses night after night, and I still ponder day after day, staring down at the motionless, picturesque, yet grotesque landscape. The day still flies by without them. They aren’t the center of the universe, and never were.
But, as I stare and burn and ponder on the species that meant nothing…
I wonder how a sun without a soul can feel such a loss as the one that tears at me.
“Pray, brothers and sisters,” the priest said, “feel the
breath of nature in the ocean spray, in the fibers of
oak and pine who dutifully hold us afloat.” He looked to the
broken mast of their ship. The last storm had taken that as
well and had sunk or swept away all others in their rag-tag
fleet. Truth be told, it was a miracle those riverboats had
survived the first two storms. The Golden Mare was the only
ship built for the high seas, and even they had nearly
drowned in this last tempest. “Our mast, my children. We can
rely no longer on the sky’s breath to carry us to our
“What hope have we left, then?” a woman’s voice cried. The priest
had no answer. It had been a week since they had fled Ai
Kwontu, the remnants of their last safe-haven burning on the
horizon as they sailed into the embrace of the first storm.
Then, he had thought the weather a blessing. The Amaki had
laughed as they condemned the heretics to die upon the open
ocean, and the priest and his followers had thanked the
spirit of the storm for her protection. But that was before
most of their fleet had capsized or disappeared. Now,
little hope remained to them.
“My children, we are not yet finished. Life yet remains to
us and our provisions shall last for days to come. Have
faith in the sea. Have faith in yourselves.” The priest
looked at the assembly of followers before him. They had
made it through years of persecution and flight, but it
seemed now that they had met their end. Many bowed their
heads, sobbed into each others’ shoulders, or pointed at him
with astonishment. The priest felt himself fall to his
knees. They had pointed at him. But why should they point?
He heard his name called, over and over, unrelenting. He
looked up. Saw their faces. Turned. He saw nothing on the
horizon, the morning fog was too thick, until… there.
Tears welled in his eyes. “My children, we are saved.”
I sat in the waiting room, clutching the sleeves of my coat in my hands.
Save for the clacking of keys behind the desk, and the hum of the vending machine, it was completely quiet.
I glanced at the clock. 5:39 am. I felt like I’d been here forever, even though it had only been half an hour. I swallowed nervously. The uncertainty was driving me insane. Every thought went through my head. Every problem that could possibly come up. Even worse, the numbers in my head kept climbing.
“Miss? You’re the one for Lily, right?” A nurse asks as she pokes her head out of the door.
I nod, standing up and clutching my purse. She gestures me into the room.
My heart is pounding. I step in, feeling my heart drop as I’m taken through to the back.
Lying on her favorite soft fluffy blanket on a steel table, was Lily. She looked weak and dazed.
“I’ve given her a sedative to ease the pain. Unfortunately, she’s lost a lot of blood.” The nurse explains.
“And a transfusion..?” I ask, knowing the answer already.
“Given the budget you said you have, a transfusion would be too much. I’m afraid all we can do is…” she trails off, reading the pain on my face. She pats my shoulder, “I’ll give you a moment alone.”
I walk over, gently petting Lily’s soft brown fur. She looks up at me. She must be so confused and scared.
“I’m right here, baby. Mama’s here. Don’t be afraid.” I gently clutch her little white-toed paw and rub my thumb over her black pads, “I love you so much, Silly Lily. You mean everything to me.”
The nurse returns, “Are you ready?”
I nod, not taking my eyes from Lily. Within minutes, she closes her eyes. Her breathing stops. I break into quiet sobs, kissing her head gently and continuing to rub her limp paw.
I finish up and step outside. I stare up at the sky, clutching her red collar. My heart is heavy, and yet the sun rises.
by Jesse Fisher(ToaCoy)
I heard that people wonder what it would be like to swap living in the sun for the much better night. Where all the fun is had and people don’t have to worry about the next day because the night will keep it at bay. Living in the night I can tell ya it is overrated, night is just the same as day only the night does not cause my skin to turn on me and kill me.
Ever since I was born, I never had a good relationship with the sun but I can’t blame it as how could the sun know it is hurting me. Solar urticaria is a cruel thing and caused me to live my life with night as my day, home schooling did not help me in early life finding friends. As I got older I went on night walks to expand my world beyond technology showing a world that was as much a story as any book I would read.
Once I moved out of my home to the larger world, life was harder to do as the meetings were…different. I once got a comment that I looked like someone pulled me out of a blizzard. Work was easy to get as call centers wanted overnight workers and it kept me from the sun. Years go by until one day I was coming home and just as the sun was about to rise and cause me pain.Someone who looked at me, not with fear or pity but curiosity. In that moment the sun rising behind me could not match the light coming off of this person.
A Morning Routine
Amaterasu was jostled awake. “Time to wake up, honey,” Izunami said.
“Five more minutes,” Amaterasu mumbled.
Izunami let out a sigh and left, and Amaterasu pulled her blankets around her, letting out a sigh of contentment.
An instant later, Amarterasu was shaken awake again. “Amaterasu, I’m not going to do this again. It’s time to get up!” Izunami stated.
The adolescent goddess let out a whimper and pulled her duvet over her head. “I don’t feel well.”
Izunami crossed her arms sternly, and let out another sigh. She grabbed the duvet by the foot of the bed, and pulled it sharply off her daughter. “Get up now, young lady! You’re not ill! Deities are above that sort of thing!”
Amaterasu pouted, and pulled up her knees to her chest, forming a tight fetal ball\. “I’m still tired, Mom.” She shivered pathetically, hoping her mother would take pity on her.
“ Up now, young lady!”
Amaterasu let out a moan and sat up in her bed. “Fine, fine. I’m up.”
“The sun’s not going to rise by itself. Now get ready.” Izunami gave her daughter a pat on the cheek, then turned and left the bedroom again. “Breakfast is almost ready,” she called back.
Amaterasu reached down and grabbed the duvet off the floor. It was still warm, and she pulled it around herself. It felt so comfortable that Amaterasu decided she could spare a few more seconds, and laid back down, wrapping herself in her duvet like a burrito.
“Amaterasu, are you kidding me?”
Amaterasu’s eyes sprang open. “I wasn’t asleep!” she squeaked.
“I am so tired of doing this every single day!” Izunami hissed. “Get up right now!”
Meekly, Amaterasu slinked out of her bedsheets and got to her feet. “Okay, I’m up.”
“Tea?” Izunami held a cup out to the younger goddess.
Amaterasu nodded and took the cup, sipping from it. The ambrosia within gave her a feeling of warmth. “Mom? Do you think being the Sun Goddess will ever get easier?”
Izunami kissed her forehead. “Of course it will. Just remember, faith starts with yourself.”
The World as I see it
By Gilfredy G. Acevedo Hernandez
Here I am, sitting at the edge of what I perceive to be the world, only wearing a pair of teal jeans, and a black sweatshirt. With nowhere to go, no one to see, no objective in mind, I sit. A feeling of comfort and delirium begins to overwhelm me as I am not able to comprehend the imagery that is surrounding me yet all I see is nothing. Maybe that is what my mind is able to process due to my mind not being able to put into physical imagery what I am observing at the moment. It brings me a great feeling of relief and hopelessness knowing that I serve no purpose in this empty void of space and only contribute in my endless wandering. Tell me, do you understand what I feel when I tell you that I want to simultaneously want to stay and leave this neverending abyss of hope and despair? I hope you do, because I believe it is a situation that you and many others have gone through. Who would want to leave a place that fills them with desperation, yet want to leave the very same place that brings them joy? It is nice knowing your thoughts, even if I can’t hear them. As I stand up to circle around the little spot where I was sitting, I realize that I am standing on emptiness. As I reflect on this, I come to the realization that everything that I have experienced up till now has been incoherent. As I begin to experience a very familiar feeling of discomfort, it hits me. No matter how I try to rationalize all of my past experiences and my surroundings, this beautiful, purposeless world has, is, and always will make even the slightest attempt of making sense; as I begin to reach what I could only possibly imagine is nirvana, I am struck with a blinding beam of light which causes me fall, and as I am about to crash into the emptiness, I wake up to a ray of sunlight hitting my eyes.
Keys, by Matthew(Handsome Johanson)
Browning leaves and reddish-orange canopies typically bring warm emotions of fond holidays and tasty family gatherings. For me, however, their arrival signaled the end of a deadline fast approaching. The warm emotions of the season were drowned out by an overwhelming sense of foreboding. My senior recital was fast approaching.
Was I ready?
My practice regimen was brutal. For the last five months, I had been practicing Chopin’s “Waltz in C Sharp Minor (Opus 64 Number 2)” for two hours each day. The song had become the soundtrack to my life. The gloomy elegance of the waltz permeated my being, echoing the stress and anxiety I felt towards this upcoming performance. I had to get this right.
Then, the day of the recital arrived. I had been preforming well all week, but the nerves began to set in. When the time came, I confidently addressed the crowd and announced the piece I was playing for the night. Public speaking had always come naturally for me, so I hoped my gift would aid my confidence while performing piano. I sat down, took a deep breath and prepared my music sheets.
The first section came to me naturally. I let my hands lead the way as they guided me expertly through the moving beginning waltz. As I arrived at the faster B section however, I suddenly remembered all the eyes and ears trained on me. I became keenly aware of my playing. This wavered my focus and caused me to miss a note on an ascending line. The failure on one line caused a chain reaction, affecting a few other runs before I regained focus, recovered and finished the piece.
It was over, and maybe, so was I.
Disappointed, I fled outdoors after the show. I was initially blinded by sunlight. When my eyes adjusted, they saw a world indifferent to the utter catastrophe that had befallen me. Cars continued to drive by, birds continued to sing their songs, and orange leaves continued to cascade to the ground. If the world could continue unhampered, maybe I could too.
Day 9, Entry 1
By Arun Rampersad (@a_wandering_storyteller)
Every morning, like wind-chimes promise a coolness on dampened brows of the hardworking, their laughter brings me comfort. There is no song like the music of children. Likewise, there is no joy such as the one accompanying good health in a town devastated by the plague. But I know only grief, have known it since the day I kissed that whore on the docks. There is little hope for those infected, apart from the Guild.
Just yesterday, six-year-old Trelka, my only company in ward five, passed on. Her parents were devastated. Of course, I couldn’t see them. But hearing their cries was enough to recognize true pain. Now I am alone, utterly and ironically; one doesn’t go seeking whores if they tend to be popular among well-respected people. I will have to face Him on my own tonight. Trelka can’t sing to me afterward. And I will never hold her tiny hand again. All I can expect now is a swift death, for the condition to worsen so suddenly, it takes me with little pain. If I hope for better, the truth will only sting more.
But praise be to the Druids Guild, yes? I can hardly stomach it, a time so desperate, druids must become plague doctors and combine their practices with scientific beliefs. Our own healers, the ones we sought for healthy childbirth and snakebites, now donning this black monstrosity on their heads. He swears it’s to keep out bad smells the way that priest swears by his book. I think it better resembles a crow awaiting its meal.
But if there is truth in His words, it’s no wonder He barely flinches when handling the medicine. It smells worse than my rotting body and tastes like venom. He assures me it will help once my body accepts the alien substance, allowing it to take effect. But until then, the pain will be hell. There will be fever, spasms, nausea, and hallucinations. One might even grow delirious, glimpsing shadows or hearing music.
The March to the Front by Simon D. Field
The wind is chill, and the hovel where our company’s lodged for the night is shoddy, and we’re hungry and weak from the starch bread and turnip sausages we’re fed. We’ve been given cigarettes and cheese recently, but that means we’re heading forth to participate in an attack.
A few miles away the artillery dully thuds at our first trench-line. Young men with old eyes grin at me. I wonder if anyone guesses my unbearable burden; the pride of their valor, the pity of their despair and anguish and bitter resentment of my duty to take them to the damned front-line. I curse myself as much as the field-marshal, for I goad my men to certain death at his behest.
The last candle goes out. The men sleep like logs, tired and mud-splashed, but I cannot and go outside into the cold rank-smelling air.
Oh, how good would it be if the day never came, and I didn’t have to lead the company to the pointless bloody battle that wouldn’t start! The peaceful stars in the distance start disappearing, chased off by the belligerent approach of the Sun, the herald of slaughter to come. The sky is slowly lit with reddish hues as if stained with blood. It grows brighter, and I stand there, looking at the signs of the Sun’s inexorable advent with hate and dreadful apprehension, unable to avert my gaze like a rabbit staring at a hunting-dog.
I recall how Joshua had stopped the Sun, and in foolish feverish hope I implore it to halt and shake my fist at the horizon with impotent rage. Yet the accursed Sun rises like a star-shell, slowly, cruelly, for I’m no Joshua, and it’s not my intent to take vengeance on my nation’s enemies. The sergeants are rousing the men, and they’re assembling before the hovel, waiting for me to lead them into the jaws of death.
I turn, defeated, and plod through the black sludge of the road, and bitter tears burn my cheeks. The men follow, bent double and coughing and marching asleep. The Sun is rising victoriously.
‘Eternal’ by R J Chapman
Sian rolled over dozily, in a blissful purgatory between sleep and the waking world, stretching her arm out asking for it to be claimed by her husband. The embrace, as had been the case for the past few weeks, had not been accepted. Instead, her arm felt nothing but the cold sheet on his side of the bed. She patted away at the duvet before sitting up in a panic only for her to remember.
She’s confused by the uniforms standing in front of her. She can’t imagine why they are here. Then she notices the Policewoman’s face – her stupid, young face – resting between sympathy and discomfort.
More people. More food. More compassion. She smiles and thanks them. They think they’re helping.
The Officiant respectfully removes his top hat and covers his rotund frame with it. She nods and tells him she needs another minute.
Ignoring it, she continues to stare at the word ‘accident’ and wonders whether she has ever hated a word more.
She answers and the delivery man shows a flicker of disgust at her appearance. She hasn’t showered this week and her baggy, stained t-shirt does little to cover her unshaven legs. Without as much as a smile she relieves him of the pizza box. Only when she opens it, does she realise it’s covered in mushrooms. She hates mushrooms.
Sian stood at the window, the curtain wrapped around her like a blanket. Through blurred vision, a pool of golden light began to swell on the horizon. She clasped the wedding band attached to her necklace. Between her thumb and forefinger, she twizzled it as if trying unwind it. There was nothing to unwind. It seemed to just absorb the light and promised eternal sunshine. She stifled a moan and smiled instead. The clasp opened with ease, and she carefully threaded her own ring through the necklace to sit next to David’s with a gentle clink. She pressed her lips to both before placing them on her dressing table. She really needed a shower.
A Sun Within the Darkness
The small, bleak cabin is quiet compared to the rumbling and chanting outside. Six girls, who range from child to young adult, sit huddled together. They shake more from fear than the cold. As the noise recedes, they and Elder Morgran breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Another success. It is done until time comes again. Morgran dispels the ominous thoughts as she wraps the three youngest girls in her worn, warm cloak. She had grown used to the cold long ago.
“When will it be over?” a younger girl asks, her bright eyes trusting.
“It ends when it ends,” the oldest girl responds with practiced ease.
None of them had been born when The Great Awakening had occurred, and none of them will be here to see its conclusion.
Morgran’s hobbled limp takes her to one of two tiny beds in the cabin, her blackened toes of one foot scraping the hard wood. Bending, she moves the bed aside to reveal the bottom wall covered in large, lush green hills and rolling blue waves. In a hidden box beneath a floorboard are a meager selection of colored stones, the radiant yellow creating longing within Morgran.
“What shall it be this time?” she asks the waiting children, a smile lining every face.
Without answer, and the cloak forgotten, they rush for the box, exclaiming in delight as they let their imaginations flourish.
White birds, red berries, and purple bunnies soon litter the wall.
Crunching footsteps draw Morgran to the covered door, and she looks out. She suppresses a gasp as the Keyholder passes by, a crimson gash marring one cheek.
Pale eyes clash with her emerald ones, and her heart races while her frail shoulders tremble. Morgran breaks the gaze first. Taking deep breaths to quell her fear, she rejoins the children, inquiring about a yellow half orb above the waves.
“A sunrise,” an older girl supplies.
“Is it not beautiful?” another girl sighs dreamily.
“It is not real, but they were once,” the oldest says, remembering the stories.
They could be again, Morgran hopes, thinking again of the Keyholder.
LOVELIGHT (submitted by Madness Hattzer)
Your mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun. They are dreary and brown and lie in a limbo between open and still fast asleep. The wrinkles creep into the corners like a toddler marches through the house at five in the morning will slamming the cymbals he got for his birthday.
Your mistress’s hair is not gentle like golden silk. It is a black mess of matted and knotted tangles, like brambles of a bastardly bush that dares to claw and scratch when you come too close. It sprawls over her pillow like an incessant weed climbing the trellis that you had put down to grow grapes on.
You mistress’s lips are ravishing red, ready to caress yours tenderly. They may be red, but the lipstick is smeared and all over her chin. They hang lazily of her face, like two great hammocks filled with cement, dribbling drool and abrupt snores.
Your mistress’s feet do not walk holy steps, on clouds far above the earth.
They dangle like thorns protruding from under the sheet and off the side of the bed. They still look sore from the night before when she insisted upon wearing the most impractical heels.
She rises like a goddess when she wakes, and you worship her accordingly, as she grumbles for a cup of coffee. You had one ready for her, and she smiles the first light that touches your day.
Your mistress is nothing like the sun. She is by far the most astounding, most beautiful, important, funny and wonderful burning ball of gas.
One-Hundred and Sixty-Eight
By Giovanna J. Fuller
For a week the sun waged war against the earth, depriving its denizens the cool respite of night. Within the first 24 hours, the world was in a panic.
48 hours and over fifty percent of the population reported second degree sunburns.
50 hours and over a million people were being diagnosed with the beginning stages of skin cancer.
72 hours and an uncounted number had died of exposure.
97 hours and most, if not all, farms had dried up.
133 hours and over two thirds of the world lost power.
157 hours and every freshwater source had dried up.
168 hours with no end in sight.
It was useless to measure in days anymore. Thinking of this endless day was maddening, so everyone seemed to sit in silence. Waiting for…something.
I sat on my front porch, staring at the brown patch I used to call a lawn. The shade offered protection as the sun sat in the sky mocking us. There was no one outside on the lawn or walking on the sidewalk. My cozy little street looked like a long abandoned movie set save for the few people who, like me, sat on their porch. Those who didn’t have shade, sat with their doors open in the hopes of a cool breeze.
I looked up, squinting at the star from behind sunglasses.
“Is it getting brighter?” I knitted my eyebrows together and blinked to, perhaps, clear my vision. It was brighter than before.
I took off my eye protection. The sun was no longer its oppressive white-yellow, but an unsettling red.
The sun had run out of hydrogen. The process of turning hydrogen into helium through nuclear fusion was over. The time of hydrostatic equilibrium had ended. It’s hydrogen shell was burning now, giving the star no choice but to expand.
Becoming its antepenultimate form.
A red giant.
I closed my eyes and felt the weight of my body being lifted. It was all, at last, finally over. Release was coming to envelop us.
The Dark Man’s Goodbye
The dark figure chuckled. It seemed such a cruel joke to him, that life could go on so easily. All these years, all the time, all for nothing.
The sun itself seemed to spite him. The light he so vehemently hated had no bounds, stretching as far as can be, yet the darkness he took solace in could only exist where the light wasn’t.
Change was the way of the world, but when he wanted to change it for the better, suddenly it became rigid and unchangeable. Perhaps it was better to give up and leave the light where it was.
Yes, that seemed right. This dark figure had spent centuries, millennia even, trying to change the world, but at every step there were those who called themselves heroes that sought to deny his every move.
Sighing to himself, he rose from his seat and let go. He let go of his hatred, his regret, his life. He faded to nothing, and as he did the sunlight of a new day broke through the window, a final kick to the man who had given up.
The light was always painful, but there was no more he would do. The final tears he shed were perhaps the most meaningful, yet he would always be called a villain. History is written by the victors, and he had lost.
One day, maybe another who hated the light would arise and learn of him, but it was unlikely. The light was nourishment to all creatures that lived on the Earth. Perhaps they would at least do him the honor of remembering him.
The Small Shred of Hope
Balthazar hated gimmick shops, yet he found himself in front of another fortune teller’s building and prepared himself. Get in, get information, get out.
Pushing the door open and stepping in, he saw that it looked like any other fortune teller’ shop. Balthazar slumped slightly. More dead ends.
Balthazar looked up and saw an old woman. Unlike the others, there was no casual look in her eyes or posture. Balthazar was finally getting somewhere.
He fixed his slump and gave a professional smile. “Miss Hall, I—”
“Save it. It’s Ivy.” Ivy motioned for Balthazar to follow.
As they walked Balthazar asked, “Why a fortune teller?”
“People love to think they’re getting scammed. Probably gonna keep me from seeing my…granddaughter.” Ivy led Balthazar into a room. The fake crystal ball lit a small area of the room and gave Ivy an ominous look. “I’ll give you a lead on the killer if you let me give you a reading.”
Balthazar stifled a complaint and sat down. “Granddaughter, you say?”
“Officially, yes.” Ivy shuffled the tarot cards. “It’ll turn out that he’s my grandson.”
Three cards. Past, present, and future.
“A simple spread, Mr. Poe.” She flipped over the first card. “The tower. Something in your past caused a lot of problems.”
Balthazar chuckled. “An understatement.”
The second card. “Four of cups. While you might have moved on, you still find yourself being affected in some way. It’s keeping you from realizing what you now have.”
“Are you serious?”
“I have no control.” Ivy was serious, but she spoke like it was a joke. She flipped over the last card and allowed her face to soften. “The sun.”
“Joy, positivity—That’s coming up.” Ivy gathered her cards. “Start accepting what you have and you will recover. The perp is planning to come here. Be prepared. If I die…” Ivy hesitated. “Wellington, West Virginia. His given name is Cassandra.”
As they exited the room, the sun card stayed in the back of Balthazar’s mind. For the first time in centuries, Balthazar had hope.