The Fall.

The Darkness.

The Light.

These are what matter now.


1. Haven

The jungle threatens to surround us, to swallow us up whole in nature’s jaws. Strange sounds and looming eyes are constantly circling, warily keeping their distance. The humidity envelopes us, but it matters not. We must keep moving.

“Haven’t you ever felt like there has to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if you could only get to it?”

“No,” my brother replied shortly, crashing through the undergrowth like a hulking beast. “Stop with the philosophy – it’s no use to anyone anymore.”

“That’s not true.” Tobias clenches my fingers in our intertwined hands; a necessary precaution since the Fall robbed him of his sight. His youthful, childlike appearance masks the wisdom beyond his years. Our mother, kind and gracious for someone like us, used to call him an ‘old soul’.

She’s dead because of the Fall.

My elder brother growls with discontent. He feels the absence of our kind the most – he should have been married by now, to some girl I didn’t think much of but whom he adored. She’s gone now. Her death changed his very being into something sad and frightening. Sometimes, when he thinks nobody’s watching, he looks at the moons and weeps. Every tear is a piece of his spirit gently leaving his battered and broken body, looking elsewhere for something to call home.

There is nowhere.

“Then what is true, huh?” his rage is immediate, and his body trembles with the weight of it. I recoil back from his wrath and clutch my brother’s hand a little bit tighter. “What part of ‘everyone is dead’ isn’t true?” His breathing is shallow, uneven.

“There is something else, something more. I can feel it.” My younger brother turns his unseeing gaze towards me sharply. “Do you feel it, Zeyna?”

I shrink under his intensity. My youngest brother is a vessel of understanding and knowledge that he believes I share, but I do not agree. I don’t want to agree. Having The Gift is what singled out our survival in the first place, and I would rather be dead than have to live this life. Right now, we are destined to walk the earth; destined to stubbornly persist in clinging to existence rather than succumbing quietly to our fate.

But there is something… something that presses at the back of my mind, trying to release itself from whatever prison my conscious self has made for it. It is something dangerous, like something much bigger than our tiny and insignificant lives is to come. Occasionally I feel it crushing my insides, squeezing my soul dry – and then it is gone, banished back to its mental prison. I fear it is the Gift as my brother says, but I am not sure it is something I wish to be burdened with.

“No,” I lie, and I sense his acute disappointment. My oldest brother seems pleased with me; he won’t admit it, but sometimes I think he is afraid of our younger power and what he possesses, like an animal afraid of being hunted. He forces his mouth into more of a grimace than a smile and his huge form returns to waving his primitive knife around and hacking a clear path. I’m not sure why he stays with us when he could do so much better on his own. Perhaps it’s out of genuine love for us – but I suspect guilt of leaving us behind is the truth.

He is not like us, like Tobias and I. He thinks of himself as a hero, a survivor who must lead the pack to safety. He is vain. As we wish for death, he wills for life and that is what will kill him. I have learnt that the universe does not care for optimism.

I am crashing through the undergrowth recklessly, dragging Tobias along. He does not protest. Our days are mostly like this – walking, eating when we can forage some morsels, sleeping fearfully in case we do not wake up again.  Our bodies are ravaged and weak from malnutrition and fighting the will to give up. There is an unspoken thought that permeates all of our minds: we will die soon. Our kind is said to be descended from humans, but this is the end of the line for whatever species we are related to. We have not seen a single soul since the Fall.

Nothing can save us.

“You musn’t fight it, Zeyna,” Tobias urges as we continue on our path to nowhere.  We have fallen behind from our brother; he looks like a great shaggy bear from this distance. “Our lives are done here, but not elsewhere.”

“Stop,” I hiss in reply. “You know it gets him upset.”

Tobias’ features pull themselves into a look of thinly veiled annoyance, the whites of his eyes blank and staring. “He can’t hear us. He doesn’t matter. What matters is what they tell us, if you’d listen.”

“They? They?” fear grips my heart in its cruel hands. “Tobias, just stop. There isn’t time for this.”

He laughs in response. “On the contrary, Zeyna. There’s all the time in the world. You need to let the Gift come to you. You need time to understand.”

He sounds decades older than his nine years and it scares me. I tug his arm sharply. “Stop! I won’t hear another word about it.” Tobias glares, but nods his agreement.

We walk in furious silence for hours until day turns into night. The path our exhausted feet travel has changed from the soft spring of the jungle to harsh and arid desert. Thousands upon thousands of stars and galaxies litter the night sky delicately, with the three moons fighting amongst one another for dominance in the heavens. It is beautiful.

But tonight is different.

I can feel the impending doom in the air this time. Before, our kind were caught by surprise; there was no gradual eclipse into death, no warning and no mercy. This time, it feels like the beginning of the end.

There is a pressure building at the back of my head as I go to sleep, afraid of what is to come. As I drift out of consciousness I see Tobias staring at the sky, a ghost of a smile on his lips.


There is light leaking through my eyelids, blinding me. Instant terror floods my system as I am shaken awake by Tobias. He is smiling… he hasn’t smiled since the Fall. The stars and desert have disappeared into inky blackness. I feel like we are balanced on the edge of the universe, ready to fall at any moment.

“Zeyna, look.

I turn.

I scream.

Our brother, our protector is convulsing on the floor amidst this strange and unnatural light. I call his name but to no avail. He is foaming at the mouth and his limbs seem detached from his body; he is dying. His eyes roll into the back of his head, a single rattling breath of the dying, and he is still.

I am too scared to cry. Instead I claw at the empty nothingness beneath me and gasp for air as if I were suffocating. Tobias and I are alone now, my frantic mind thinks through the fog of terror, we need to defend ourselves.

None of these thoughts seemed to have crossed Tobias’ mind. He grins wildly at our dead brother’s lifeless body, and with horror I noticed his sight has returned, blue eyes bright and wild. His face is filled with excitement. The blinding white light is still all around the two of us, bathing our beings in its silvery glow and burning my eyes.

“Zeyna,” he calls, and he sounds oddly far away and looks blurred. “You need to open your mind!”

I shake my head no, silent tears rolling down my pale cheeks. I have never been more afraid of him as I am now as my body scrambles away from him. “Why did he die? What’s happening?”

“He was born to die, and we were born to go on.” Tobias holds his small hand out to me in friendship. “Come on, Zeyna. This is the Darkness, and we need to go into the Light.”

I have nothing to lose any more. I close my eyes and open my mind.

His words all make sense in a riot of thoughts and emotions which flood my brain. A sense of calm reaches over me tenderly and I accept its embrace. I have not felt so relaxed since before the Fall. The truth is obvious: our fallen brother, our lives do not matter any longer. They never did.

Tobias smiles as he sees my understanding. I can see him clearly now, and when he speaks he does not echo.

“It’s time.”

My acceptance of the end of our existence surprises me. I do not know what going on will be like; whether there is even any other life than what I know. I do not know whether I will be happy or sad, or whether I will even be myself any more. All I know is that we must go on.

I stand up and stare into the silvery glow; it caresses rather than scorches my skin.

“I’m ready, Tobias.”

He holds my shaking hand.

We move out of the Darkness, and into the Light.

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