Candlelight

November 3, 2008
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The thick, soft fabric rubbed against her skin as she sat crammed in the corner of the 5 by 5 meter tent, pitched across five unstable, rotting wood poles. The rest of the refugees lay, restlessly snoring, strewn across the floor in small, tattered sleeping bags. Julie Royal swept her eyes across the 25 castaways, nearly on top of each other. Each and every one of them were individuals, from different places, raised in different houses, all independent from one another, all lumped together in this miniscule tent, each cursed with their own misfortune.

The dim candle flickered lightly as she held it close to her only book -- her favorite book. The title page had been torn off along with a few of the first and last pages. It was the only one she managed to save from the peril she underwent in her old town. But those were old stories, for a different day.

Julie saw a little, metal box sticking out of her fellow refugee’s bag. Everyone had their own little possessions that they kept close to them. This one was quite peculiar. She slowly picked the box out of the small, tightly bound, string bag; a radio. She hadn’t seen one in years. She turned the dial ever so slightly, and a thin crackle pulsed in the background. On top of the background an old, beaten announcer voice came on. It still had its flinty edge, but it sounded tired, as if the poor man had already dealt with enough unpleasant news. His pitiful voice increased in volume and the announcer spoke with a hint of worry and despair. No pleasant news was coming her way.

All of a sudden the wind picked up from the slight, winter breeze to a howling gale. The tent appeared on the verge of crashing. Julie had a feeling this tent would only last one more extreme wind.

A shriek of wind, louder than anything Julie had heard before, had battered against the tent. The room was then enveloped in the devilish darkness of the night time, as her candle was violently extinguished.


“…Anarchy has set in,” the voice crackled once more and the radio died. No more government. The darkness captured the atmosphere of the room at the moment. Anarchy has set in. The words still echoed in her head. The howling winds had stopped. In fact, it was dead silent.

The rough scraping of a match against sandpaper broke the silence. A moment later a match was lighting the room. A candle was lit on the opposite side of the room. More scraping -- it seemed everyone was up now.

“What’s going on?” someone asked in a tired moan, barely audible.

Julie didn’t know whether it was still the echo in her head or whether she had said it out loud, but, again, she heard the four words she dreaded most.



“Anarchy has set in.”





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