The Darkness

The Darkness

Darkness. Before, I didn’t truly know the meaning of this word. I didn’t imagine how immense, all-pervading, and truly horrifying it could be because the more you try to evade it, the more you sink into it like an endless vortex that overwhelms and consumes everything. It dulls your thoughts, crushes your soul, saps strength from the young, and steals the voice from the old. We can’t help but be terrified of the power that has descended upon us and robbed us of our planet.

Yet, we still endure, we still resist. On the ruins of what once were our great metropolises, now stands our Citadel, the Island of Light. Valiantly, with its three-hundred-meter-tall walls, it challenges the shadows. What is left of humanity has gathered here, to fight, to hope, or to brave it out until the end.

Today, I went up with one of my pupils to the top of the Citadel’s walls to look out on the horizon. It was cold, and the wind blew relentlessly from the distant mountains. The darkness, seen from above, looks like a vast, boundless ocean that swallows lightly, almost quivering as if it were alive. Somewhere down there, terrible beings move among what is left of our cities in search of the last survivors or surrounding small outposts of Exiles that still dare to shine light opposing the destruction.

The child leans out over the wall, like a lighthouse keeper on a cliff, barraged by a raging storm. The circle of light that surrounds our ramparts gleams dimly of what could be considered the strange magic of technology, casting away the shadows that try to penetrate our stronghold. No one knows what the shadows’ purpose is, if not to that of bringing desolation and death to everything in their path.

Two large sentinel mechs watch over the gates of the Citadel’s walls. They await one of the few merchants traveling here from the external outposts or the scouts who dare to brave the darkness to look for something they too are unsure of what it is. Sometimes I think that everything we do, everything that we all do is all in vain.

So much time has passed since the day the sun shone on our Earth that I can’t even remember the feeling of warmth on my skin and, even less, the color that light bestowed on everything. Explaining it to my son, I tell him that it was like the fire that warms us in the giant furnaces of the Citadel, or the suspended lamps of engineers shining bright on the Second Level of this Island of Light, but bigger, much bigger. He struggles to imagine it.

How much I wish that one day he could see the sun, even if for just an instant, so that he may hold the memory of it in his heart. Perhaps when the magnificent Spire of the Luminary Monks is expanded, it will be possible by climbing up its thousand steps, ascending beyond the void-like ocean that has enveloped our planet. Aviators say that our sun, high up there somewhere, still exists. For now, all we can do is to trust their word for it.