Put your lights on. Kit hears the words; knows what they mean. It is time now, more than, to take the steps to ensure their safety. The little ones race to light the wick; to set flame ablaze. They think it a game; too young yet to understand what it means to sing their song; what lies waiting, beyond, in the darkness. Kit has learned to fear the shadows; what they may hide amongst them. She has heard the stories – words whispered only during daylight and then only in passing.
They have all suffered losses. Disappearances were many before it became apparent what was happening. Before the darkness living within those it had captured surfaced, again and again, to feed for its self-serving purpose – to ravage those whom the vessels remaining had once loved and now lost completely, having succumbed.
Their numbers are legion. Kit refuses to consider it, to confront the thought head on. Not with the darkness surrounding them; not now, tonight. Instead lets the light shine, bright and steady. Focuses on it, to pass through the night.
They all have their tricks; tried and tested. Some sing the song, defiant. Their prayer in a world where bravado is what is left when daylight fades and the community huddles in corners, keeping those left close about them through the twilight hours. Until they emerge from lamp light, blinking, to see who is still with them. How many are left. To mark the losses.
No matter how they try, there are always the missing, though the lights glow, night after night. They ignore that too – focus on the safe; fight off the fear. Leave the words unspoken. The doubt which is the lesser darkness within them all, though they are the sane amongst those who have fallen to the greater, ever looming one. The one from which there is no returning. It won’t help any of them when all of their attempts to combat it have proven ineffective. They try, too, not to scare the children; to remind them of the monsters they live among now that the world is changed and life is lived differently. They are closeted and cossetted enough when the lights go out.
Others pray to the gods of the world they have left behind. Any of them. All of them. Kit has seen the signs on venturing out to scavenge, daubed on brickwork, beyond their walls. Seeking salvation for the sinners, for themselves; believing what has happened is a punishment. She is unsure what exactly for, given all are being dealt the same hand, failings great or small alike. She suspects they don’t either, though they search for meaning buried beneath the madness which is their day to day. Perhaps the quest acts as distraction, perhaps it serves as comfort. Whatever works, as they serve their time out, to get them through both day and night.
Occasionally it is possible to hear the refrain from beyond their own walls, as souls seek solace to drown out the silence. Put your lights on. Sometimes it echoes through the surrounding darkness, as others join the chorus, add soprano, treble, bass or alto to the tune. Occasionally, some can even sing. Still, that isn’t what matters. The words speak for themselves; hold their own strength. The joinder helps them hold their nerve. Remind them they are not alone, in amongst the darkness, for what it is worth. Some nights, it is all there is. On those nights, it is everything.
Still, Kit wonders how they will fare when they run out of candles, run low on oil. Better not to think of it, not now; to think of the light, rather than the darkness which will follow, when the light fades away.
Another one for this week's Mid-Week Blues-Buster. The prompt for this one was Santana's "Put Your Lights On", hence the title to the piece. I started with the image of a light in the darkness and ended up writing a slant on a post apocalyptic world, with unspecified monsters hiding in the shadows. Or something. Mainly because the song seemed to call for this kind of piece - to me, at least :).