Fantasy in Light and Dark
A Flash Fiction Allegory
by Matthew R. Bishop
There were great people who walked in this world, who lived and breathed our air and whose dreams lifted the sky above our heads. With innocence and nobility in their hearts they shaped the world. They served the Light. They defended the Light. So they had been raised, and all of their fathers before them.
As it did every so often, a Darkness came upon the world to threaten the Light, and the Light called on its soldiers to defense, for goodness and honor and family, and for these things the good men answered this call. They kissed their mothers and their wives and their children, they saluted their fathers or laid flowers on their graves, and they left to fight the Darkness in the shadowy caves.
The caves were darker than any expected. Where these good men wanted to find beasts and trolls and goblins, instead they looked into human eyes in which shone a Light much the same as their own. Yet the Light ordered them to kill.
The soldiers of the Light, in Darkness, did great evil, and the Light was gone forever in their hearts. The men who survived those caves walked out with glazed eyes and no words between one another. They looked at the sullen faces of the men they had prepared to die for. There was not a face that had gone into those caves that had come out of them. These faces were different. These eyes were different. These hearts were ever changed.
These new men wandered the world burdened by their loss. For as long as they lived they never knew the Light again. Not one of them found the heart to return to their families; those were the families of other men. Not one of them longed for their homes; they had been the homes of some other child. Nor did any ask of their children, for those children had been raised by a man lost forevermore.
They wandered invisible and nameless, and as they crossed from town to town they heard tales of the great battle in the darkest parts of the caverns, where the Light defeated the Darkness and good men triumphed over evil. Where did anyone get such ideas as those?
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