He was startled to see the sun had fallen even lower toward the plain. It was extraordinary. The sky was changing too—no longer only blue. A wide band carried the whole spectrum of colors, and the red end began to overtake the blue. He was spellbound watching it and was suddenly aware the light had nearly faded away. A deep terror gripped him. The sun was dying. Perhaps this was the cause of the seamless darkness that he could feel, as much as remember, from before—when he was Under. He was filled with dread. He had an urge to bow his head and wail but could not break his gaze from the sun’s demise.
As he absorbed the end of light in helpless resignation, a pinpoint of white light appeared in the darkest part of the sky. Soon there was another—and another. There were holes in the darkness. Or, no, these seemed to be on the sky—or in it, like the sun. He witnessed the stars as a new creation. Wonder replaced his fear. This was not the darkness he once had known.
He rose to his feet and began to turn about, whirling under the beautiful heavens. Becoming dizzy and falling to the ground, he rolled to his back. He lay there full of excitement, grinning in pure joy. Even the memory of Majeska did not interrupt his enchantment.
After a time he sat up again and, filled with new strength, looked toward the mountains. Their shadowy figures were outlined against the mass of stars. He marveled at their grandeur as his eye followed the horizon away from the place where the sun had disappeared into the land. He noticed a strong glow of light near the earth opposite the sun’s resting place. It was white, like the starlight, but wide and misty. He watched as the halo got wider and brighter. And then, like a shot through him, an arch of intensely bright light broke over the edge of the plain. He stood dumbstruck as it grew and grew. Then his breath caught as the vibrant orb tore free of the horizon and floated—free among the stars.
Note from the Author: After long agonizing, I cut this favorite excerpt from my first epic fantasy novel manuscript, UNDERNEATH, because it didn’t move the story forward. While writing for NaNoWriMo today several of us were discussing how tough it can be to cut scenes you love during edit. I still think of the images in this vignette often, and I’m pleased to have a chance to share it as a flash fiction piece. -SJK