“There was a bright flash…”

By Roberta Irving

There was a bright flash, and then the world went dark. All the light simply disappeared. One moment, the sun was out in a clear afternoon; the next, there was only darkness. Even the lights of buildings had gone out. I remember that terrible day in the city of Merriweather. The streets, just a moment ago full of the usual noise and bustle, suddenly went quiet. No one moved. No one made a sound. What could you do when you could not see a thing?

The silence only lasted a few moments. I suddenly heard a panicked scream from a distance. It was that scream that made everyone else panic and try to run. Several bodies rammed into me and it was all I could do to keep from falling over and getting trampled. There were shouts all around me. People trying to locate their family through voice and words. It was useless, though. All that could be heard was the loud murmur of several people shouting at once. There was no hope for calming this crowd.

Suddenly there was a high-pitched sound that came from the sky. It drowned out everyone’s voices and turned everyone to silence. Then, a loud, booming voice filled the air.

“Humans,” it said, “We are terribly sorry for any inconvenience you may be facing right now. It seems that the Light has gone out. We are currently in the process of restoring the Light, so in the meantime, please try to refrain from making any movement. This will minimize any harm done to yourself or others.”

While everyone had finally stopped moving, there were still murmurs. What the hell was going on? How could all the light go out, just like that? Surely the sun and stars could not just short-circuit in an instant, could it? And who – or what – was that voice?

“Ah,” the Voice came back. “I understand you have several questions regarding this issue. This event has never happened to you before, nor have you heard of anything like it. Unfortunately, we do not know much of the problem ourselves, so we ask that you continue to hold out a little longer. Nor do I have the ability to tell you who we are. We will explain more once the Light comes back on. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Do not worry, though; the Light will come on shortly.”

There was only more confusion to this response, but people were silent. The Voice sounded like some sort of businessman or representative. Did this light he was talking about refer to all of the light in all of the universe? How could it simply just go out? Were the people – or things – the voice was representing, responsible for this? I reached in my pocket, and pulled out my iPhone. I felt around it until I found the home button, and pressed it. Nothing. Just a few minutes ago, it had been on full battery. How could every single source of light disappear so quickly, with no warning?

As I continued to ask myself what was happening, the light suddenly returned. It was blinding for a few moments, so we had to shield our eyes. Once my eyes had adjusted, I looked around. What I saw was shocking. So many bodies that had been trampled. When everyone began running around in a panic trying to find their family and friends, many had fallen and been stepped on by the masses. I could not help but to gag at the sight of the carnage. Many who were still alive felt the same way as they struggled to reunite with their family members and identify the bodies of those they knew. To put it simply, it was a great tragedy.

I could not tolerate the destruction all around me. I had to leave. I did not have anyone who was close to me, so there was no need nor purpose to try to identify bodies or join others. I began to walk through the streets, not even looking at the people around me. It was in an abandoned alley that I turned in to that I saw a mysterious figure. It was someone in a long black cloak with a hood. He had his back turned to me, and was hunched over, muttering something under his breath.

“Hey,” I said to get his attention. I do not know why I needed it at the time, but something told me it was important. The figure, startled, turned around. The first thing I noticed was the eyes. They were golden and cat-like. When he took off his hood, I was the one who was startled. His entire face was that of a cat.

“Uh, hello,” he said, awkwardly, as if he rarely ever talked to anyone. Understandable, since it would be hard not to stand out with the face of a cat. But then I realized that his voice sounded familiar.

“Wait a minute, you’re that Voice guy, aren’t you?” I asked, “Care to tell me what the hell is going on?”

“Actually, I do not know what happened. When it went dark all of a sudden like that, I could feel the tension of everyone here. I could feel that tension grow into all-out panic. Then I heard the shouting and running, and I knew then that if I did not do something, many people would get hurt. So I projected my voice into the sky, to make people stop what they were doing. I had to come up with some sort of explanation, and fast. What I said was really the first thing that came to mind. I was not really thinking of how weird it would sound later. Oh, yeah! That reminds me…”

I looked at the creature’s hands. In them, he had a small spherical device. The device lit up, hovered over his cupped hands, and then zipped away into the sky. Then, the creature began to speak again. “Again, so sorry for the inconvenience, but we are too busy figuring out this whole light thing to give you any more information about ourselves. In fact, we may not have time to give you any explanation any time in the future. We are now disconnecting. Goodbye.”

“What about me?” I asked. “What makes you think I can keep your secret? How can you possibly expect me to believe anything you say, much less trust me?”

“That’s easy,” he replied, “because anyone you tell about me will think you are simply fabricating a story, your own ideal of what just happened, or that you have simply lost your mind. No one would believe you, no matter what. And if you think you can bring me in as evidence, you are sadly mistaken. It is not difficult at all to get out of a tough situation. So really it is in your best interest to keep quiet about this. In fact, it is most likely in both of our best interests that we never meet again. So long!”

And with that, the cat creature placed his hood back over his head, and disappeared. Fast guy. Too bad I never got the chance to learn his name.