The light had gone out. One minute, it had been there, and the next, it was gone. There had been no in between, no flickering, no indication that something was wrong. Maybe it had dimmed. She wasn't sure. She'd been too busy trying to reach it to notice.
Meria craned her neck but as she hadn't been able see where the light had come from, she couldn't tell why it had gone out. All she could see was darkness, pitch-black darkness. With a shrug, she continued to climb, feeling the way with her hands and feet instead. A chill settled around her shoulders.
There was nothing left to do. Suria sat in the ashes of her home, spent. It had taken her hours to put the flames out, working alone through the night, spraying it with the single hose that she had. No one had come to help. The fire had been too large, too uncontrolled; they were just protecting themselves, or so they said.
But there was nothing left. Nothing but ashes. Everything she'd held dear had gone up in flames and it was too late to save anything. How was she supposed to start over? How was she supposed to rebuild everything? She sat alone in the dark, hugging herself.
The peak was nothing like Meria had imagined. She'd seen the light beckoning her, so she'd gone, expecting to find a place full of brightness and cheer. Instead, all she found was a ruin. Ruins and shadows.
Suria looked up at her. "I'm sorry, you came too late."
"Too late for what?"
"To watch me burn." Suria saw the confusion on Meria's face. "Never mind."
"I saw a light..."
"I've put it out now. The flames have taken everything. I have nothing left to give you."
Meria looked down to where her own home lay in ruins. It was covered in darkness and she couldn't see it anymore. She had come all this way for nothing. She slumped down beside Suria in disappointment.
Above them, the stars began to shine.
Why Have I Seen This All Before?
On the Popular Vote: Version 1 | Version 2
On Freedom of the Press: Version 1 | Version 2 | Oh this is a nice touch.
On Attorney-Generals: Version 1 | Version 2
On Democracy: Version 1 | Version 2