TRANSCRIPT: Kate Akerboom is a multi-creative individual living in Chicago. As a Certified Interpretive Guide, she tells stories for a living but cherishes every opportunity she has to write them down. You can interact with her on social media as @hestionfire on Instagram, @katie_akerboom on twitter, and listen to her voice reading Shakespeare as Managing Director at 14th Night Players on Discord.
The sun had been dying for centuries. Everyone knew that. However, suns don’t just disappear out of thin air. But lo and behold, that’s what happened.
It was like the lights just…went out. In the middle of the day. It was the brightest and sunniest day of the year, and then it was pitch black. And had been that way for the last 50 years. Scientists had been baffled the entire time. In all other respects, the earth had been operating normally. This day, though, was radically different.
It started with a sudden drop. A sensation that could only be described later as being in the Tower of Terror at Disneyworld, but without a seat to strap you in. Humans around the world were startled, and confused. Throughout this entire time, there had been no difference in how the world had turned aside from the lack of light and occasional gentle movements.
The looks of confusion of the top scientists in the world rippled through the surveillance room at the Pentagon. Since the eternal darkness — that’s what the public called it nowadays — the Pentagon in Washington DC transformed into a station to monitor the world. NASA could no longer launch rockets into space. Something blocked them just as they began leaving the atmosphere, and many lives were lost trying to break through that invisible barrier. The stars had gone out too, not just the sun. All things previously comforting to the average person about the night sky were gone, leaving nothing but perpetual darkness. Luckily, the moon was still there, but dark now, without a sun to reflect light from.
Another marked difference was the lack of movement. The earth was still turning, but there was a sway that had developed over the last fifty years that had suddenly stopped. People all over the earth were regaining their balance. Elderly people began weeping as the earth stopped its sway for the first time since their youth. Younger generations were relearning to walk, feeling uneasy and unsure.
Just as everyone began to regain their footing, there was a harsh shove that sent people flying into buildings, trees, walls, and each other. And then…nothing. Artificial power was restored. The Pentagon leaders struggled to find answers, blaming the events on everything from a change in the atmosphere to climate change. Humans adjusted and kept on living. Those that survived the drop and the shove continued to go about their daily lives, sometimes staring at the blank sky and wondering what more could be out there that they just weren’t seeing.
“Where would you like me to place this?”
A gesture from the home’s owner indicated to the corner of the large, white room. The box was set down, none too gently, and the mover turned to leave. The owner of the home, displeased with the handling of the box, stood.
“Careful with that,” she griped, striding over to the large box. “Those items are very delicate.”
The mover looked the graceful woman up and down, and shoved the box over with his foot, where it hit the wall with a gentle thud.
“I didn’t hear anything break. Should be fine.” He sauntered out of the home, which was cluttered with elegant furniture and boxes, leaving the woman to turn this new dwelling into her home. She located the hearth, lit a fire, and began sorting through boxes.
The darkness on Earth lightened, ever so gently. Darkness remained, sure, but it was softer somehow. More gentle. Things began to feel safer for the humans, and they began to relax. However, only a few days after the fall and shove, there was a surprise no one expected. There was a loud crack, like the sound of thunder or something breaking through the atmosphere, and then the whole world was washed in light. People screamed, not expecting the brightness and the pain of light searing their eyes.
NASA began searching for a sun, and could not find one. It’s like they were in the middle of a clear, cloudless day but there was no ball of light, just…brightness. After several days of constant brightness, the swaying began again. This time, though, it was gentler, like being cradled by a mother. The lightness was receding, almost like a sunset but not quite. More like moving away from the lightsource on a horizontal plane. All humans were outside, staring at the sky as, for the first time in most of their lives, the stars began appearing one by one. The moon began to glow, and all of NASA, and the scientists in the Pentagon, cheered and sobbed and hugged one another as the night sky of movies and fairy tales was returned to them. Alone, a woman in a lone cabin smiled knowingly, nodding to the sky, and returned to her reading.
“Welcome, Grandmother,” the woman said, stepping aside as an equally beautiful woman entered her new home. It was in less dissary than it was on moving day, however boxes were still scattered about, half emptied or broken down and leaning against the stone walls. The hearth filled the room with an ethereal and warm light in the darkening night.
The woman addressed as “grandmother” did not look the part. Dressed in green, the statuesque woman looked timeless, with a matronly way about her that was reassuring but powerful. Her bare feet made no sound as she crossed to the box in the corner that was so rudely dropped the week before. In the week since, the homeowner had opened the lid but did little else, knowing she could not move the contents without the help of her grandmother.
“Everything is in this box then?” The grandmother asked, peeking in with a small smile on her face.
“Yes, everything,” her granddaughter replied, standing only a few paces away.
Shorter than her grandmother, this woman was veiled, but not in the way her single statue represented. She had a scarf tied tightly around her head, keeping her dark curls out of her face (even as some spilled out of the sides), and her red dress was loose and long. Her feet were also bare, and she had an air about her that simply reminded one of home.
“Good.” The elder woman reached into the box, and gently cradled the sphere in her arms. She stroked it ever so softly, hearing the murmurs below that no other deity could hear. She moved across the stone floor to a balcony outside, where a pedestal was waiting empty.
“Grandmother Gaia, why did they need to be moved?” Hestia asked, crossing her arms against the night chill. Gaia simply placed the earth above the pedestal, and smiled at the sounds emanating from the small globe.
“Because, my darling, their own sun was crashing around them. Very few of us notice them any more. I feel it is our job to take care of them.” She nodded slightly near the boot-like formation on the glove, and turned to wave at Helios as he began moving the humans’ new sun. “This one shall keep them safe for a nice long time. And when it fades, we will take them, and begin again.”
Kim Fukawa has been seen all around Chicago. Most recently she has worked with The House Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, and Babes With Blades Theatre Company. She is an artistic affiliate and occasional fight choreographer with Babes With Blades.