And the Sun Rose

By
The sky was totally black that night. Completely. Not a star twinkled in the sky. Not a star even showed its face. Not a sound was heard in that part of the world—no babies crying, no women whispering, no men sighing. Not a sound. Not even a murmur.

It was on this pitch-black night that a girl named Skye stood on a hill at the edge of a ‘city’ that is unknown to anyone except to the people who lived there. And even the people who lived there did not know the real name of the ‘city’.

In order to qualify to live in that exclusive ‘city’, one had to be different. Not that it was a place for the rich and beautiful, rather, a place for the best and most talented of the world’s population.

And the girl named Skye? Yes, one could say that she was beautiful, but not in the ordinary sense. Her hair was too dark, almost black, and her skin too pale. Her back was ramrod straight; her figure, slender.

However exotic and otherworldly she looked, it was her eyes that most turned to see. They were a pure and absolute blue. Her eyes were something that not everyone could forget. They would appear in one’s dreams, glasses of water, candle flames, and windowpanes.

Skye was unaware of her beauty. Everyone in that mysterious ‘city’ simply knew her as “The Finder.”

The leaders of the ‘city’ used her, used her cruelly, but so was their purpose in building the ‘city’—to bring together all the best of the world and to use them. For some, the leaders might use their strength to run experiments. For others, it could be their knowledge to get what the leaders wanted. For still others, it could be their ability of reading the signs of nature. And, for the people like Skye, the leaders had brought her because of her gift.

Sometimes, after a particularly trying session in the Testing Rooms, Skye would cry herself to sleep, wishing so hard to remember. To remember life before the mysterious ‘doctors’ with their silver instruments and machines and the cold, hard looks from the leaders when she failed at her one task.

Skye was bound to the ‘city’ by a solemn oath and a silver chain around her neck. The chain monitored her every move and reported it to the leaders. When the government officials had found her on that terrible September morning of her mother’s death, they had taken her immediately to the room where she was questioned and cross-questioned for more than three days. It was there that she was forced to take the oath.

On the third day, she sat in a room that was covered entirely in white tile. The white, plastic chair that she sat in was placed in the middle of the room. A man who called himself Croton waltzed into the room with a breezy smile. His sharp, green eyes and quick movements unnerved Skye.

“Hello, Miss Douglas.”

No answer.

“Come, come, Miss Douglas. You might as well start talking.” Then, the smile disappeared and Croton said, “We know all about you.”

Then, she had to tell. Everything. How she had known the precise moment her mother had died, even when she was still at school. That was her ability. She was able to “find” people through her mind. It didn’t matter if they were a million miles away; Skye could still “find” them.

After she had told Croton that, he had said, “Yes, we know, Miss Douglas. We also know that your father died when you were two years old. And that you went to Central High school until you were expelled because you had ‘sporadic fits.’”

She started to open her mouth to defend herself, but Croton put up his hand for silence. “Miss Douglas, we know those so-called ‘fits’ were when you would have melancholy periods. In other words, you would ignore all around you and almost appear dead. It would take your mother or someone dear to you to awaken you. This gift of yours did not come without a price.”

“Yes,” Skye answered.


Croton walked around the white chair that she was seated in. “Now, Miss Douglas, you have a tremendous gift. And we’re going to…ah…help you.”

Before now, her eyes had been fixed on her shaking hands, willing them, trying to will them, that is, to stop betraying her fear. However, when her captor said these words, she looked up abruptly. “What?” she asked.

Croton smiled. “Yes, Miss Douglas, we are a part of a secret government program called Operation Elite. We gather the most intellectual and gifted people from all around the world and send them to a place where we…where they help save the world, day after day.”

Her heart sunk inside of her. They are going to use me. For their own purposes. I will be like a pawn on a great game of chess. Except, this is no game. “What has this to do with me?” Skye whispered, even though she already knew the answer.

“You are going to venture to a ‘city’ where no one, except people like you, have been to. It is a regular city…except its underground. Outfitted with all the latest equipment from the military department, of course. You’ll be perfectly safe.”

Then, Croton snapped his fingers and the door to the room swung open. Seven guards entered. “Miss Douglas, you must come with us.” He leaned forward and Skye got a full view of his green, flashing eyes.. “Or the consequences will be severe.”

So Skye had gone. There had been no other choice.

But of course, she could remember none of this. When she had arrived at the ‘city’, they had led her immediately to a room where they erased her memory. And then…she was simply The Finder.

That had been six months ago.

They worked her all day, every day. She was given a one-day vacation every ten days she worked. Even during that vacation, she could be called upon at any time to do the work of a hunter. She hated it, hated, hated, hated it.

Every moment in the Testing Room was complete torture. Every minute, she felt condemned. Every hour, a fugitive was located through Skye’s mind. Skye never found out what happened to the hundreds of people she “found.”

If she refused to enter the Testing Room, they would have given her no food for days. If she didn’t succumb, they would lock her up by herself for weeks on end, no people contact at all. Every night, things would visit her, driving her insane.

A person could not take that for long.

Skye knew from experience.

Now, she stood on a small hill outside the underground ‘city’. Somehow, some way, she had slipped out and, so far, the silver chain had not alerted the authorities.

The night air formed a thick blanket around her shivering shoulders. All she had known, all she had seen, since she had arrived at the ‘city’ was night. Cold, harsh night and cold, harsh treatment.

Everything, she thought bitterly, everything is cold and harsh. Nothing is good anymore. What is to become of us? Of mankind? Of me? We are a declining society. No, we are not a “society” anymore. We are just animals…killing, thieving animals. No, animals are more humane than the terrible beasts we have become.

A tear dripped from her eyes and onto her cheek, down her chin, and finally, it splashed on the dust below her feet. Soon, there was a puddle forming. And still, the night wore on. The blackness persisted.

Skye viciously wiped away her tears, even as they kept falling. No sun. Sob. No light. Sob. No hope.

She was just about to creep back into the ‘city’ when she saw a faint pink line, far into the distance. Could it be…?

A strong gust of wind punched her in the face. She staggered to her knees. The wind raged around her, screaming and wailing. When she finally glanced up again, the faint pink line was still there. The wind protested. Agonizingly slow, the pink line got thicker and darker until it was a deep red. Skye got to her feet, breathing hard and quick.

Maybe…

Gold appeared on the edges of the red. After that, more pink, orange, and then, a huge, brilliant blast of yellow.

The sun.

It peeped its face shyly over the horizon. The rays pinpointed Skye, warming the girl’s frozen fingertips. And Skye? She just stood there, drinking in the sunlight and the hope.

Yes, she thought, tears streaming down her cheeks again, yes. I remember. I remember. Chicago, Mama, bread, coffee, sunflowers, fresh-washed windows. Birds, schoolteachers, park benches. Oh, oh, oh. Thank you. Hope. I lost hope, but I have it again. Hope. Hope. I must never forget again. Never, never, never. Oh help me!

At that moment, Skye Douglas made the decision. Never again would she enter the Testing Room. Never again would she “find” another unfortunate person that these ‘city’ leaders wanted for their terrible plans. Never again would she work for this terrible ‘city’. Never again. Ever. She would do it for her mama, for everything she held dear.

With a sudden jerk, she grabbed the silver chain around her neck and yanked it with all her might. However strong the chain was, Skye’s resolve was stronger. The metal cut into her hand and neck, but still she pulled. She heard a clink on the ground beside her. The chain had fallen to the ground.

Shaking her hair out of her eyes, Skye took her last look at the sun, that beautiful, warm, golden sun. She knew it would be the last look at this incredible heavenly body for the rest of her life. Come, darkness, come blackness, come cold, come despair! I have hope! she thought fiercely. Then, Skye turned and walked slowly towards the ‘city’.

And the sun rose.





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