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Blinding Light (Short story)

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Author Topic: Blinding Light (Short story)  (Read 84 times)
Vansalon
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« on: June 26, 2013, 02:53:32 pm »

This was written for a writing contest on another forum. The prompts were summer and a picture of sunset, which is where I got the idea.

Raya was having a bad day.
She had awoken without getting much sleep, due to a bout of solar induced nightmares during the night. The day before at work the blinding canopy had caught on fire because the personnel assigned to maintain it had forgotten to coat it with the reflector for the day, and when part of it burned through, most of the workers at the Moonset factory had been subjected to sunlight. Raya had gotten off a lot better than the other workers; she had managed to find shade quickly. Some were babbling nonsensically, and one poor bastard had fainted. Raya had only suffered from minimal exposure and thus had only a few nightmares, but that was bad enough.
When she had arrived at the factory that morning, several people were missing; those that had suffered the worst of the last day's exposure. Raya was assigned to fix the blinding in the dusk hours before the sun rose again, but she nearly lost her balance on the thin walkways and fell to her death upon finding the charred corpse of Robert, the man who was supposed to apply the reflector. The official story was that he had been caught up there during noon on accident and been immolated, but everyone at the factory knew the man had been exposed to the sun too much in his lifetime. Most probably he intentionally neglected to apply the reflector and stood up there as the sun rose, watching it's harsh light until the object of his insane worship destroyed him.
The day had not improved from there.
Raya stepped in the door of her apartment, glancing out at the balcony. Her brother, Charles, was one of the Mad, someone who been exposed to the sun years before it became physically dangerous. He had insisted on renting a place with a balcony, and had only sustained from tearing down the thin blinding over it because she wouldn't let him, and he wasn't so far gone that he would ignore his younger sister.
He was sitting there now, staring at the setting sun, beautiful and harsh. Raya was captivated by it herself for a moment, then shook her head. She couldn't let herself fall into the same trap.

A week passed. A month passed. Raya made a habit of watching her brother and trying to keep him from staring at the sun for too long. Each night she would go out there and sit with him, urging him to come inside and stop burning his soul. He wouldn't listen; he never listened. She began to find herself catching glimpses at the sun without herself realizing. At first she forced herself to stop; soon, that became impossible.
The longer she looked at it, the more she understood her brother. Charles had lived in a world of fire and death for so long. The sun was like a wrathful god who flayed them whenever they dared show their faces. But it was a just god. Despite all it's anger, all the suffering it had caused, the people still depended on it for life. Without it their world would be nothing but a frozen orb, suspended in space, it's infinite momentum carrying it until it collided with some star, ending it's miserable existence in an unspectacular flash of light.
Soon, Raya stared at the sun as intently as her Mad brother. Soon she found herself wanting to pull the blinds back and dance before her fiery god.
Something in her told her this was wrong; something in her said this was not what she should do. At first she listened. She contented herself to watching the sun through the safety blinding, letting it's power infuse her slowly. But then that urge to stay her hand disappeared, replaced by an ever growing desire to destroy the pitiful shields that separated her from holy flame. Then one day, a month and a half since the Moonset Incident, as it was now referred to, she gave in.
Raya stepped forward, looking back at Charles, who still stared at their god with a blank expression. She took that as a sign of encouragement in her eagerness. The girl set her hand on the blinding, a lighter in her other hand. While the permanent reflector node on the outside prevented it from burning from the sun's rays, it had no protection from mundane flame. She flicked the switch and watched delightedly as the tiny flame flared into existence. Raya set the flame against the blinding, and the meager canopy quickly caught fire. She dropped the still flaming lighter, ignoring the fact that it set the rug on fire, and attempted to rip apart the blinding with her bare hands, oblivious to the burns on her hand that came as a direct result of this act. Soon the shield was gone, and she could stare at the noonday sun in all it's fiery, holy glory. Charles stood, his face alight with wonderment. His skin began to char ever so slightly as the full power of the sun's rays hit him. Raya was not as affected, to her dismay. She was from a more recent age, and tampered with biologically so that she was protected to some slight degree. She stepped forward to the edge of the balcony, staring down at the sea below. The whirling flame that made up her world's ocean burned below her, not so different from the sun that burned above her. It's light was alluring; tempting; amazing. The girl looked up at the sun one last time and smiled.
Raya jumped.
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