Light Seekers #1 – Lux

I slide the basket of corn onto the cart, into the spot made for it. I pause to look up at the sky the light is on the verge of going out. East and West are already completely dark. The small beam of light barely covers the entire town. Out here in the fields there’s almost no light to work with. I’m not sure we’ve grown enough food for the darkness. Last time, I was young so I don’t remember it well. This time, I’m old enough to work the fields, but I don’t know what’s in the silos. The elders don’t tell us everything that goes on. It’s always been that way, that’s something I remember.

“Hurry up and load the other basket of corn,” Levi calls out but I’m not concerned with him right now. “Najar, are you listening?”

“The light is going out, this might be the last one.”

“I don’ know if this is the last one, but we need to get the cart back into town before it goes out for today.”

I lift my handle as Levi grabs his and we begin the walk back to town. He’s not concerned with what will happen if there’s no light. His parents own the fields, they have money. He only comes out here to pretend that he’s like the rest of us. He’ll have a seat on the council when his father steps down. For me, I’ll work the fields until I die, or another war starts. He’ll comfortably live through the winter with a great generator, lights and heat. I’ll start fires to keep warm, and live off the rations given to us. Levi is a good friend, but I can’t help but be jealous of him. He’s got both parents and a big home. I just live in the worker’s barracks with twenty other guys.

“My dad is taking me to buy a mask tomorrow,” Levi gloats, showing all of his teeth.

“That’s cool, I didn’t think you had any magic ability,” I laugh, but I’m not joking.

As far as I can remember, I don’t recall Levi ever showing any magic ability. For a family so wealthy, they don’t have much magic. None of us have as much as the real sorcerers, but the masks can multiply our magic levels, enough to be useful. Only if they’re compatible, that’s the hard part. You can purchase a mask, make your own, or have someone else make one for you. Almost no one has the ability to make a good one, and even less have the money to purchase a good one. Meaning the best are passed down in families since family members usually have similar abilities.

“I’m thinking about one with a zipper across the mouth, maybe suede or leather,” Liam goes on about his mask.

“What kind of magic can you use?”

“I can control the weight of myself and objects around me.”

“Then make the cart lighter and we can get back to town faster.”

“Yeah, I can do that,” Levi doesn’t sound so sure.

I wait for the cart to get lighter as he seems to struggle making anything happen. I don’t bother pretending; I’m just curious how long he’ll keep trying. Even as the light fades, I can tell he’s getting red from trying. I burst into laughter as he lets out a violent fart.

“Stop, it isn’t funny,” Levi yells over my laughing.

“Do you need to stop and see if your pants are empty,” I ask with tears rolling down my eyes.

The walk back is uneventful, our haul is weighed and we’re paid for our work. Levi is a good friend, he doesn’t need the money so he gives me half of what he was paid. I’ve been saving money for a mask of my own, or a car. I haven’t decided. If I can purchase a car, I can get to the fields faster, get first pick on the best plots to farm. The only problem is fuel only seems to get more and more expensive.  

Inside the barracks I line up for my dinner, another porridge. The color is different yesterday, but it still has the same gooey texture and lack of flavor as yesterday. I eat silently, there’s not much to discuss with the others here. I’m a lot younger than they are. Most of them are here from other towns, following the light for work and sending money home to their families. I don’t have a family, so when the light is gone, I’ll still be here. Perhaps I’ll follow the light and become a migrant like them. Maybe that’s why I’m so concerned with the light fading. My future is basically tied to that light. I won’t have the money to survive in the darkness. A generator and incandescent are out of my budget and the idea of burning fuel for light is insane to me.  

“The light, is going to go soon, I predict a week,” Old Aaron speaks and everyone turns to him to his words. He’s been a migrant since he was 12, now he’s 63, and well respected, almost legendary. “None of you are old enough to remember the sun. When the light bathed the land and warmed the people. Light that powered everything from cars to homes. There were trains that connected cities around the world. One day, the sorcerers went to war. They battled through the Phaethon Mountains, leveling the tops. There were many deaths and there seemed to be no end, and then the sun went out. The victors took the light with them and crossed over to another world. The losers built a castle and a city there. Legend says they hope to bring back the light one day, but I don’t believe them.”

They clap for his story, entertained by the old fairy tale, but I almost believe him. His storytelling isn’t flamboyant, there’s truth in his eyes and he’s lived my life three and a half times over. I hope his story is true. I hope someone is there to bring back the light. I’d like to have just one day when the world is filled with sunshine. Rainbows, I’d like to see a rainbow, Aaron talks about those a lot.  

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