A short story about darkness

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Photo by Bill Adler

“I’m freezing, Sid.” Daisy shivered. “It’s been dark for a long time. I think the sun is never coming back.” She pressed so tightly against him that their bodies nearly merged into one.

“I’m cold, too.” He tried to suppress shivering, but that only made him shake more.

“Do you think we should try to find the sun?”

“We can try,” Sid replied, though he had his doubts. He knew every nook and cranny of their world, which until recently provided everything they needed — food, hollows to hide in, toys to play with, clean water, warmth, and especially light. It would be dangerous to explore in pitch blackness, and most likely fruitless, too. Even though they had never encountered predators, Sid’s instincts told him monsters lurked in the darkness. Some with rows of sharp teeth that could slice Sid and Daisy in half in a second, others with long, powerful tentacles that would drag Sid and Daisy into their ravenous mouths, swallowing them whole.

Sid’s father once told him, “What you can’t see will eat you.” Death and darkness were synonymous.

“Let’s go to the castle,” Sid suggested.

“Why? There’s no light there, either.”

“The monsters.”

“Yes.” Daisy understood, maybe even better than Sid. Before they met, she lived in a vast expanse, where she had watched a behemoth with luminescent, blue eyes, boney exoskeleton, and long needle-shaped teeth consume her mother in a single bite. “It’ll be safer there.” She forced a half smile. “We’ll keep each other warm until the sun comes back.”

If the sun comes back.” Being a pessimist wasn’t Sid’s nature, but their future appeared as short as it did bleak. The world had ended, and they were only biding time until their lives ended, too.

Earthquake vibrations woke Daisy. “Do you feel that?”

“Monsters? Have they found us?”

“I don’t know.”

“Honey, the fish tank lamp’s out.” The man’s baritone voice penetrated the tank, scattering water molecules in a thousand directions.

“Can you change it? I’m unpacking,” came the reply from a room away. “There’s a spare bulb in the front hall closet, top shelf.”

“Do you think they’re okay? It must have been pitch black in there the whole weekend.”

“They’re fish. I’m sure they’re fine.”

An American writer in Japan, editor of The Binge-Watching Cure books, author of the bestselling book, Outwitting Squirrels. Occasional pilot, 24/7 cat owner.

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