#5 – The Darkness

Cutting a Sunbeam, by Adam Diston, 1886

It is a lengthy, exhaustive process, but a necessary one. The Sun is an infrequent visitor in our town, and we must be at the ready for his oft-abrupt and unannounced visits.

I keep a very sharp pair of scissors in the pocket of my dress. They were Grandmother’s scissors, and she housed them in a beautiful, engraved leather sheath. I carry them always.

Darkness is a scary thing. It does funny things to the mind. We spend so much of our time trapped indoors, the darkness outside  buffeting against our windows like a petulant wind, I don’t wonder why some go mad. We’ve lost a lot of people to madness, doors flung open and bodies running screaming into the black. They never come back.

The Sun is our only weapon, meager though it is. The scissors, our only tool. I am The Shear of our household. Charged with  carefully snipping away pieces of the Sun for safekeeping, I store the light in tall, glass jars with sides of white velvet—never in a dark box, for the shards would grow dull and extinguish.

It is with these pieces that we grow our food inside. A tiny snippet goes in the baby’s milk to ensure good health. And when someone falls ill, as Father did at last Lightening, it is with the Sun that they are cured.

Before she died, Grandmother said the Darkness was lengthening. Every Lightening, I fill fewer jars.

Outside the Darkness howls, his voice, triumphant.

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