The Bright Light
By: Madison Carpenter/ Sophomore writer
The Bright Light came when we were sleeping. It took out nearly everything in its path, with no warning. Trees ignited into flames and water everywhere evaporated. All of the houses in our village crumbled, with us still in them. Many people died from the rubble; they were the lucky ones. I remember seeing a fluorescent glow coating covering everything. We had never seen anything like it. The air around us was so thick, and it burned our lungs.
Our once water-based town was now a desert. The wind blew dust all around. So much dust was swept off the ground, blocking the sunlight. After a few days, we began to notice the color of the sky. An eerie rust colored haze hid the beautiful blue we had taken for granted. The world I loved began to be less colorful and less enjoyable.
The notably rich in our area used their money to help themselves build up their fortress. Though snobby, the wealthy weren’t stupid, they were among the most famous scientists and businessmen, possibly the best in the world. They joined forces to compose air purifiers and suits to keep them safe amongst what they called The Radiation. The middle and lower classes feared what would be coming after the reactions of the high class, having no college-level education themselves. It would be no time before we would be helping make a structure to keep them safe, while leaving us in the dust.
The Dark Years were upon us. We scavenged all remaining food we could find, but it wasn’t much. Most of the animals had been poisoned by the Bright Light. People began getting terribly sick one by one and we had no way to save them. The small food supply that we had was beginning to run low. After meals we were still hungry. Being full was a thing of the past. The Leaders of the Poor established a lottery. Only if your number was picked, you didn’t win anything but death. We began feasting on those who “won.”
The Rich saw what had become of us, yet they did nothing for us. They lived in prosperity with their inventions that have saved them from the terrible apocalypse. But they feared more was coming. They began sending out troops to divide us into factions: Miners, Wielders, and Carpenters. They wanted a steel divider, covering the rich homes. At the time, we didn’t know if they knew more was upon us or they just wanted a separation from the likes of us. We began working long hours among our groups. We were paid close to nothing, but what did we need money for anyway? We were bound to die soon, why not take our mind off our unfortunate fate.
After a few months of suffering, we were ever so thankful to see storm clouds forming in the sky. We rejoiced in seeing that we would soon be blessed with fresh water to cleanse our dusty bodies and soothe our blistered hands. But it was not the salvation we awaited. Many were still inside their makeshift homes when it began to rain, however at the start of the first drops several ran out to feel the relief. They were instead met with searing pain and horrified screams. This water was not fresh. It had been acidified when the Bright Light hit. Those who made contact with the rain dealt with burn like sores that caused excruciating pain. We thought that was the worst, though. Rising temperatures meant that the rain we did receive would quickly evaporate into the atmosphere, causing a thick fog to form. The ground was poisoned and the vapor began drawing more of The Radiation out of the dirt and into the air. Those who came in direct association with the fog, the skin began to burn and sizzle off of their bodies, causing a painful death in a matter of minutes. It was a horrifying thing to watch, knowing there was nothing we could do for those we cared about.
Mutations affected our population the most. They changed the way we thought and looked. Fear began to stir. We had nothing to reverse the effects or to ease the pain they were causing. We were now monsters. Children who were born after the Bright Light faced the worst mutations of us all. The babies were unable to function and died soon later. Those “lucky” to survive dealt with life threatening diseases and would never get the opportunity for a normal life.
We were beginning to think that this was all life was, and for the most part, we were right. Though not gifted in engineering, I am a strong writer. I want those who come after us to know what happened here. And if I don’t write, who else will? Maybe what I write will help history not repeat itself. Maybe people like me will be treated better, but probably not in my time. This journal also helps me take my mind off this awful world I’m living in. We wonder if life is like this everywhere, if the Bright Light has taken out all of the worlds. Maybe eventually we’ll journey beyond our town to find a better way of life.