Darkness. Some people fear it. Maybe because they fear the unknown. You can’t see what’s in the dark, don’t know what may be waiting out there. For us, it meant protection; at least, most of the time. On rare occasions, one of us would be taken during the night, unexpectedly. Most of the time, though, we had at least a warning when the door to the cavern was opened. The light was a sign of danger.
We came from many different places, backgrounds, and were mixed together and became one unit. Then we were separated, broken apart and shaped, molded into whatever they wanted. We had no choice. We are all young; the older ones are less desirable.
We travelled through intense heat and rose to greatness. We became hardened to stand against what we would be faced with. When they thought we were ready, the alarm sounded and we were sent out to face them. Some of the others were taken before they even had a chance.
Those of us that remained made it to this cavern where we thought we might be safe. Judging by what we found here, we were not optimistic. There were remnants of ones who had come before us. Pieces of their lives could be found strewn about–evidence of past generations, but all with the same result: not a single survivor.
We weren’t able to rest long before the attacks came. The monsters. We had no other word for them. At first glance, they seemed harmless, but it wasn’t long before their true nature was revealed. They were ravenous beasts with insatiable, self-serving desires. The door of the cavern opened, light flooded the interior, and one by one we were taken, plucked out. We were defenseless against them.
I had hope, at first, that maybe we would be different from the others. That we would somehow survive. Now I am the only one left and I have abandoned that hope. I decide to leave something behind–a piece of myself that makes me special. Others who come later will see it and know that I was here.
I hear noises outside the walls and I know what is to come. Light floods into the cavern and I am taken.
“Mom! Nickie took the last cookie!”
“Nickie!” his mother admonished, “I told your brother he could have the last one.”
“Sorry,” Nickie said through a mouthful of cookie.
“Well, we can always bake some more tomorrow.”
The lid to the cookie jar was replaced. Nothing but crumbs and a single chocolate chip was left inside.
Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich
*If you enjoyed this short story, you might also like some of my other ones like Dia de los Muertos or Dinner Party