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When they left you in the dark, how did you feel? Cold? Sad? Alone?
Did you think of me?
The door slammed shut and every ounce of light left my world. I was left alone in the cold cell, I shuddered. Then I fell. Then I wept. No moonlight, no starlight, no torchlight, no candles. No sun.
The tears ran through my whole body and I shoke. I could feel, somehow, each tear land on the icy floor, and somehow, was shocked. No light glinted on them. Nothing sparkled. No. light. Anywhere in the world.
“The kids were laughing at me in school…” little child me had said. Mother swept me up in her arms, and looked straight in my tearfilled eyes. They sparkled in the sun, because the sun poured through the window. Warmth and love was pouring and filling that little house. Sunlight. Love. Mother.
“B-because they said my name is funny.” I pouted, “Nura's a stupid name! Stupid!” I kicked at the air in my little toddler fury. “Why would you give me a stupid name?”
Mother swung me toward the window and pointed up at the sun. “You see that?”
“What, the sun?” I looked at her like she was stupid.
“Yes, the sun. it gives us light. Do you know what Nura means?”
“No.” I kept pouting. “But it's a stupid name.”
“It is not a stupid name. It’s a special name for a special girl.” She put me down and I sat on the sill, staring up at the sun. “It means light, for my little sun girl. You're a little ray of sunshine, don't forget that.”
I broke off the memory there. It hurt. Look at your little ray of sunshine now, mother. Alone in the dark. In prison. Did I fail you? What would you say? If I saw you, I would say I'm sorry. I would run to you, like the sun.
Are you my sun, mother?
Is the sun dead?
I looked around. It looked like the sun was dead.
Your little light girl grew up, mother. She grew up into a criminal. She grew into the dark. It was your fault. It was all your fault.
I want to kick like little child me did. I want to say that you gave me a stupid fate and why would you do this to me? Did you love me? Are you sorry?
But I don't. Nobody would see, but I don't.
I’m sorry. It wasn't your fault, Mother. It was theirs.
Did you know? When they took you, did you know what it would do to me? Did you see me in the crowd when you died? Couldn’t you meet my eyes?
Did you know how close I would follow?
Light. Light, you said, was what you were fighting for. You said this place was like a dark room, and we were like candles. If we lit, we could drive out the dark. But you always said ‘I’, not ‘we’. Maybe you didn't want me caught up in all of this. And your candle was blown out so quickly. Why didn't I see it was pointless? Did you want me to burn?
What were you fighting? What did you see?
I only fought because they killed you, I couldn't see past that.
I wish you had told me.
When you died, did you see how I cried? I wish I could stop the memories, but they flow now, much too fast. In the dark, there's nothing to keep them at bay. I pushed to the front of the crowd, knowing that I shouldn't, but I couldn't stop.
They dragged you to the gallows. You, defiant to the end. They had to drag you, ever strong. The crowd was laughing and smiling. It was a holiday for them.
“The rebel Tempest Mary Peterson, you are hereby sentenced to death by hanging for treason and conspiracy. May the rest of your kind learn from your mistakes.” The crowd cheered. I hated them as much as the killers.
You looked up. You looked the executioner in the eye, “I would die a thousand times for the light.”
I struggled to meet your eye, to see through my shining tears, but you never met them. Did you see? Did you know how much you hurt me?
Maybe that was when the light left my world. When you fell and your body jerked and you hung so limp, the life that had coursed through everything you did falling away with that rope, maybe that was when the light left my eye.
I tried to pretend to see the cell where you may have sat. I imagine you spending your last days here. Were you thinking of me or your rebellion?
When they dropped the ground from your feet, what was your final thought of?
Was it me?
Or maybe the moment I lost my sun was when they took you. I don't remember what we were doing before the door broke and my happy home shattered. They snatched you and chained you up. No explanation, no words.
You made eye contact then. You said, “I love you, little light.” Is it selfish to wish your last words were to me too? Does it matter?
I touched the tears on the cold floor, traced nonsense patterns in them. A heart, a sun, a candle. Then I wiped it all away.
What about you? What did you feel when you lost my father? I bet he met your eyes. I bet he spoke of you. I bet he told you he loved you, called you by your name.
Did you walk this path for him, like I did for you? Or did you join together? You said you both joined when you were married. You said he got caught first.
He gave himself up so you could escape. You didn't talk about him much. But when they caught him, you were pregnant with me. He forced you to go, to save us. He promised he would be ok. He lied.
Were you angry?
I wished you would answer.
I wish I understood myself.
Am I going crazy? Past, present, future. I will die? Or am I dead? Or maybe I died with you. I am locked up? Or did that already happen, is death just dark and cold? I’m afraid to die, I think, but you were brave, so I won't be. I don't know if I hate you or love you or want to be like you, but you were brave, and so I will be too.
Death is where you are, so death is a good place.
I think I am crazy.
It's so dark here. How did you stand it?
I wish you were with me. But I think you were sitting there in the corner, thinking about me, and I’m talking to you across time because time doesn't matter here. I don't matter here. And I’m crazy.
I hate you. I love you.
You were my light. You put me in the dark.
Who were you? What made you care about the rebellion so much you would risk my life? Surely you knew you couldn't risk your life without mine. You knew.
Funny, how interconnected we are.
Are you really dead?
What is dead?
Did you go crazy too?
When they kill me, will I say I’m not sorry? I was never affiliated with your rebellion.
I think I killed someone. Maybe the one who killed you.
I think I loved you, or I blamed you.
I think you loved me.
But I'm crazy. That probably didn't happen.
But does it matter what really happened? I'm crazy. You're dead. And I'm in the dark. Why not shape my reality from the shadows you left?