Granny sat in the dark on the far side of the cold fire pit. She and the children who had already got there watched silently as the others arrived.
Tried to watch silently anyways. Some snickered every now and then. It was kind of funny that the kids coming through the woods were frustrated they couldn’t see.
They crashed their way through the woods towards the place where there usually would be a fire.
There was no moon tonight and the stars were bright pinpricks through the treetops. Granny poked around the ground in front of her and waited for everyone to get there.
The kids grumbled amongst themselves about sitting in the dark and getting cold. The old lady ignored them. Finally everyone was there. After a minute or two Granny cleared her throat. The confused children waited. She asked them if any of them were afraid of the dark?
They looked around at each other and shook their heads no. Some of the bolder kids made snarky comments about being scared of freezing to death… And Granny’s scarier stories… But no. None of them. Even the youngest ones were not afraid.
The old woman nodded approvingly at them. Why would you ever be children? People used to be she said. They made up things and then were afraid of those things.
They never spent any time in the dark. Rarely were out at night in the darkness. Streets were lit up. Buildings, houses… Everything because people used to be so afraid of the dark.
“Can we light the fire now Granny?”
Granny figured she’d proved her point. She nodded and the little girl lit the fire pit with a small striker. The flames rose, illuminating the area.
Comfortable now? The kids nodded yes and huddled towards the warmth of the fire. Granny nodded her head then shook it slowly. Y’all ain’t never been so uncomfortable as those folks long ago.
One day, all their lights went out. Poof, just like that. A great blanket of lights going out in graduation across the globe. One country warned another, but there was nothing they could do.
The people wandered the streets in total darkness with nothing but flashlights and lanterns to light their way. They were terrified. Wouldn’t leave their homes and the man on the box told them not to anyways.
“What happened Granny? Why’d they lose all the lights? We have lights.”
The kids mimicked the hum of the solar generators in the village… Buzz… Buzz…
They had a different kind of light children. The kind that could be shut off by other men. Only God can shut off our power… She spread her arms out wide and up towards the sky.
There was a great war going on at the time. Many nations, many men. Florida was long gone by this time by the way. The people of the warring nations were really sick of all the wars. A group of smart young men decided to take matters into their own hands one day.
The old woman knew there wasn’t any good way to describe the big hack. There was nothing now they could even relate to it. The laws of 3025 banned computers all together and that was 3000 years or more ago.
She told the kids it was like someone cut a wire from the generator to the house. They understood that. Someone had actually just done that not too long ago.
It was like that, but the people couldn’t fix the wires for a very long time, and never the same way again.
The worst part was that it didn’t stop the wars either. They just fought them during the day.
The children had many questions but the main one in all of their minds was why people would be afraid of the dark. It was part of life.
One of them finally asked Granny. It was hesitant because none of them were really sure if they wanted to know what kind of things scared the crazy people of the past…
Granny wasn’t sure she wanted to tell them either. She didn’t want to tell them that humans used to be a Godless lot with no regard for the creature they lived on or the things that it provided for them.
She wasn’t sure, but she did anyways. The old woman told them she had her own ideas of why people were so scared. They were terrified of their own creations. Their own imaginations. Monsters made by and out of men. Dark souls, vacant minds.
No God to back them or keep them confident. No feelings of love and warmth from the Earth to remind them they were safe and sound in her arms.
Granny should have known the kids were going to ask her why the people were scared. She chided herself for not being better prepared. These kind of stories were hard to explain.
Granny sighed a very loud and deep sigh. She looked at the kids after a long pause and told them strange things as easy as she could.
People were scared of the darkness because they thought, felt and believed they were entirely alone. They relied on themselves and though they knew pretty well what humans could do, they had no real idea of what God could do.
Or this great and wonderful beast that we live on. They didn’t see them as friends or family… They didn’t see them at all… Granny’s voice faded off sadly into the night.
She realized she had been slouching forward and she pulled herself up tall and straight. She looked at the children with intensity.
Lack of Faith kids. Make you scared of shit.
The kids giggled at Granny’s cussing and slowly realized that it signaled the end of the evening. The story was over and they moved to douse the fire.
Granny got up with her stick and lantern to lead them back and off they went into the night. Unafraid. With faith in many things and the peace and confidence that comes with it.