Glowing eyes defy the darkness, rising with an inky silhouette. Piercing the sea of black, the protruding form confuses the shadowy contours of the land; doubtful of the universe’s gospel, the dancing curves instead become disciples of man, losing their floral roughness, and morphing to fill man’s vessel. In spite of their momentary farce, the universe would once again – would always – forgive its creations: pleading and apologetic, the lines on the horizon once again bend to match the will of the universe.
Distant flames poke out from behind the hillscape like candles. Quivering in their wake, the land begs for solace in the dark: its childish persona as yet unprepared for the responsibilities of light. The ascending disk of stars would not give up, though. Light flowed from the fiery central bead; tracing swirling rivers of milk across the sky – a kingdom of stars, organized in a hierarchy: a majestic central palace ensures the spread of light over the greater sovereignty, while its accompanying suburbs maintain the cascading rivers. Excess light leaked from its outer borders; gently prodding the land – yet it still would not concede. Even the power of kings and the prowess of priests pales in comparison to the darkness’ grasp.
Moons, waning only in blood, collaborate with the distant white and the looming red to grant the land its wish; their efforts produce the abyssal expanse above. Finding a friend in the land, man uses the onyx depths to forage safely in the darkness: unhindered by the revealing spotlites of the distant white star or the much closer Brown Dwarf, they happily swam the seas of night. Whether for fighting wars or for making peace, mankind sought these times – these times that allowed humans to be human.
Two white dots become one, then one becomes none: the figure turns to face the distant lights, its feet making the damp ground yelp with splashes. Gentle winds allow the figure’s hair to reject gravity; its dancing strands, conjugating into a phantasm, rage at the viscous black – clawing at the sky. Furious, the apparition spreads itself as the figure moves, attempting to break its chains one last time before it consigns itself to its destiny: for a moment, the gentle wind stops.
The once immutable darkness is overtaken by a blue sky and a shining star with no prior warning; the land around becomes vibrant with a multitudinous set of vivid colours. Whitened clouds now dotted the deep blue above, with the space in between them interspersed by thousands of dark purple aerial wanderers. Heated by the new light, the dampness covering the land began to evaporate: steamy gray-white vapour formed vortices and streams – turning the landscape into a chaotic system of swirling rivers – as the wind began to carry it around the spirous beryl flora, sparse brown shrubbery, and intermittent outcroppings of gray rock.
Whisking sounds of the gentle wind mixed with its feeling to form a pale gray while the feeling of warmth combined with the crawling on the child’s skin added a bright orange to the ever expanding palette. Looking down, she saw the jet black on her arms part to reveal widening seas of cuprous red; as if her skin was shifting to complement the new-normalcy of the reddish brown which dressed all the land.
A monolithic form came close to spanning the distant galaxy: partially eclipsed by a now-shining moon, and bottom-lit by the distant white star, invisible under the horizon. Blue tinted by a sky that has never even known the colour, the jet-black object stood vigil while a racing streak of bright blue light – soon revealed to be an expanding afterimage of the ellipsoidal shape – approaches, merging with it in a pulse of light so bright that, for a moment, nothing else was visible.
Her legs weaken, her gut drops, her body trembles. Long hair lifts above the now-blinded child’s head as she falls onto her knees in shock. The momentary majesty of colour and light replays in her mind; she tries to remember each of them, the blues, reds, purples – all of the indescribable shades and hues – while opening her eyes in a forlorn hope that it will restore her sight. With the white glow in her eyes rendered inconsequential by an overarching scheme of light, aqua irides – thinned by dilation – became visible.
Tears collate into refractive bubbles below her eyelids as she stiffens with pain; tightly hugging her own form – shrinking in the face of the overbearing terror.
There was only light in her sight. No pattern stared back at her. No colour. No shape. Only light.
She pleaded for darkness, but it would never come again. Not for her.
There would only ever be light.
Written by Dominic Donahue, Published on The Collegian’s launch day