Play in the Darkness


The following is an excerpt from a set of manuscripts uncovered at the site of what seemed like a collapse of a great structure. Also uncovered in the rubble were artifacts indicative of an advanced people with civilized customs. Some human bone remains were found, but further investigation is needed to determine the exact fate of the people.

Entirely won over by the reach of the darkness, the people dug in search of light. The debris- embedded soil coupled with the unrelenting downpour of rain left a concrete- like substance.  So thick was the mixture that even the sun’s reach admitted its limitations.

Months ago the facade of this very ground was a different scene of light and life. The inhabitants of the community were prosperous and organized. They formulated a common union of functionalists that Marx would shine a satisfied grin upon.  Each member took seriously the importance of roles and contributions, and was steadfast with their respective duties. A social structure of this sort self-sufficient. Government did very little to intervene because if they were to, they would find themselves straining to justify their means.  Orderly and purposeful, the citizens  found themselves deeply satisfied and most importantly, comfortable . Economists  and philosophers alike would agree that the society was seemingly stable, but in truth unable to withstand.   As a people they were sure, all was sure.  Financially sound, health conscious and emotionally stable (as it appeared), these were happy people afloat in the best of times.

Hidden amidst its delights, solidarity carries due consequence. When a crowd moves under one accord, inadequacies and ignorance move quietly and plot their emergence in times of crisis.  Being an enclosed society of this nature, naturally the culture seeped into fruition.

They wished to build a structure around the community to “protect themselves from outside threat.” Although never spoken candidly, the foreseen threat posed was more of a philosophical one rather than one of security. They did not want ideas from anywhere else to impose on theirs. The structure was composed of metal although it contained other materials such as glass and plastic. The frame was so large that they were forced to use all the metal they had for tools and weaponry, believing those objects now redundant.

It was truly an elaborate dome to which a proud people could flaunt their ingenuity and craft. It allowed for climate regulation to ensure the people always enjoyed ideal conditions. The structure also allowed for ignorance to flourish, creating ideal conditions for plight.

A great storm came. It was a hurricane of treacherous winds and unforgiving rains. The soil underneath the large cover shifted and the frame was compromised. Before long, between the urging of the wind and the pleading of foundation to give way, the structure finally agreed to let go. The same construction that gave so much promise became a cage trapping the community inside.

The crumbling of the literal frame brought down the social one with it. Some of the most enduring institutions such as schools, banks, and family for instance, fell to dust. How fragile we are. Chaos emerged within the people, a culture that lacked both function and form.

Days later, there was still no escape. The order naturally shifted from excess to survival. Preachers spoke of the end times, atheists justified their indifference, and business men plotted out how to control the supply and profit from the demand. Politicians drank.  Some took to digging some to debating. They would speculate the cause and plot the cure. The present moment was distant and forgotten.  The underworld of crime flourished in the darkness and decay, and spread like fungus. Desperation was evident on the faces of even the most courageous.

The people spent their days in fruitless laboring. They would look to knickknacks and trinkets of the past for comfort, all the while deepening further into a nostalgic delirium. Other times they would franticly search for ways to break through to the top, but the resources they had left to dig were just not effective enough. Like sand in an hour glass, the morale of this once vibrant community conformed to time’s demands and faded away.

There was a special group of men and woman who called themselves the Chess club, and after the disaster, still called themselves the Chess club.  They were not moved by disaster, they were not changed by strife. The twelve or so of them sat at their usual tables at their usual bar in the middle of the surrounding chaos. They took to each other’s company laughing and delighting in each other’s fellowship. One topic of conversation they sometimes stumbled into was, being now used to the darkness, daylight would probably be just as violent as the storm. They entertained the irony of it all with great delight. Another spot of humor they often revisited was the convenience of being in a place of social stagnation. “It makes keeping up with the news a lot easier, nothing’s new.” The rest of the community disapproved of the union. They expressed their dissatisfaction,  disturbed with the thought that people could laugh in such trying times.

The group would sit around basking in all the heaven of ambient sounds while playing chess tournaments. They were, in every deliberate action, the subtle difference between being held captive and being confined to a space. To know such peace often means being void of much understanding. Yet, collectively they returned to the bliss of ignorance equipped with all the faculties of knowledge. What a special bunch indeed.

What was left of vegetation was dwindling and the price of meat rose to unimaginable heights. Where the people were hungriest, however, was spirit. They lost their faith, they let go of their dreams, and they saw impracticality in the place of love.  Their entire world, outside of the people and now within them, was left without light.

One humble lamp shone on the darkness however. The Chess club played on in the darkness.  The depressing times and crowd outside pressed hard outside their doors. They were begging to enter and corrupt their world. With no consolation of rescue they looked to each other to find some saving grace in the uncertainty. Patient pilgrims, holding the other up and keeping each other grounded.  When one would falter, the other one would pick him up, reminding him that enigma does not have to mean despair. A bleak future does not mean a present devoid of joy. They came to the understanding that the conditions of their lives were not their choice, but their attitudes indeed were. They reminded each other to focus on their games and not to dwell in the unknown as the others did.

They chose to play in the darkness until daylight comes.

The manuscript ends here. Further investigations of the site are currently ongoing. 


by @sledain

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