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Story Dark.

Jack Morgan

Skeletron Prime
It all started one day in a sunny October. Nobody's sure exactly what day. It was a slow, gradual change that nobody noticed for weeks. Or maybe we did, but nobody wanted to think about it. Either way, it slowly got dark. When it was really noticeable, it was similar to when a cloud slips over the sun, blocking its light. But you could go outside, and the sky would be all blue, but it was a darker, dimmer blue than one would be used to. The scientists said it was because of some unknown gas that was everywhere that you couldn't see, but light had a hard time getting through it. Not many understood what that meant, and we didn't care. We didn't care why it was happening, we wanted to know how to stop it. But for all their fancy PSA's and newspaper articles, they were as clueless as the rest of us. In the end, all we got was a shrug and "Buy more lights." If only, if only it had been so easy.

It got worse when the sun left us. We could still feel its heat, but the blackness had taken to the skies and all that was visible was blackness. Crops had a hard time growing without light, so food got scarce. Humans became gaunt, pale things that were only shadows of what they had once been. I heard rumors of cannibals. And then I saw them. Nobody knew who they were, it was too dark to make out anything but shapes. They didn't have to kill. The roads were littered with bodies. None of us liked to think about it. Our towns became decorated in lights. At first we scavenged the houses and stores for them, and then the government came in with huge truckloads, promising us they would come back with a more permanent solution. That was one of many promises they failed to keep. The lights ate huge amounts of power. Nobody cared enough about the environment, so as much oil and coal for fuel was dug up as they could manage before mines became pits of pure, impenetrable darkness. It got hot and hard to breath, just for the comfort of a dim glow. But in a world without light, it was worth it. In those days, a lot of religions died and a lot more were born. Some were normal enough, and others... Let's just say the cannibals didn't come from nowhere. But for a few more months, we managed. We rationed our food. We kept our lights on.

And then the blackout happened.

It was only a day, by light of the clock. But the lights flickered off, and it was dark. You could only hear the distant sounds of panic, and maybe see the faint glow of firelight if whatever was burning was close enough. When the lights clicked back on, there were almost double the bodies in the street. Some had been killed. Some had killed themselves. Both were a fairly common cause of death in those days. The town was in ruin. There was no more food, somebody had lit fire to the communal storage. I don't remember exactly how many survived that night. There were more than ten, but less than twenty of us. We gathered all the lights in the town and positioned them in what had once been Town Hall. Then one of us lost it. He'd been one of the priests of the darker religions, but we thought it had died with all of the other followers. I guess when you have nothing, even made up stories are everything to you. He took out all but three. Then his insane rampage was ended by a bullet. And there we were, the last three humans in the world. But were we, still? I saw my fellows: Tall, thin, gray skinned beings that hungered for any trace of the light. Nothing as I remembered us back in the days of the sun. I took our gun and put them out of their twisted existence. One last bullet left in the chamber, I walked down to the control panel that controlled our light. I took out a picture of my wife, muttered a hollow prayer, flicked all the switches to "OFF", and put the gun to my head.

As the last light died, the last man died with it.
 
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