We were used to living in darkness. None of us had ever seen a streak of light in our lives. We walked in the darkness and wallowed in it. We reveled in it, recreated and procreated in it. The darkness was our normal. Stumbling and slipping were as normal as breathing. Everything was beautiful to us in the darkness.
So, it was a huge surprise when we woke up one morning to see him, the Priest accompanied by an aura we just couldn’t fathom. Anywhere he went, his aura took the darkness away. We were all scared to approach him. The children more so.
He introduced himself as ‘the light’. When we heard him speaking in our native tongue, we were more relaxed and welcoming. We came closer to get a better look at him. And for the first time, we could see each of our faces. Those who walked close to him didn’t stumble because he lit their way. The kids danced and played and followed him around. We took the opportunity to remove the obstacles that made us stumble as we tried to find our way.
However, with the light came a lot of quarrels and conflicts. We could now see the differences in one another. We could see each other’s ugly faces and the disfigured bodies. We could no longer ‘play’ with anybody we wanted because we could now see their faces and it scared us. The oldies started getting frustrated because people abandoned the tradition and walked with the light. The oldies were the angriest because they lost their control over the people. We stopped farming and other activities we enjoyed in the dark. I, most of all preferred walking with the light than toiling on the field because it was an escape from the disappointments and frustration of farm work.
In an attempt to secure their control over the people and capitalize on the frustration of the worried people, the oldies made up a story that the priest was a distraction sent by the gods to test us. He was the great confusion that was prophesied that will come with a lot of promises to test our faith in the gods. This got the people riled up. There was only one way to appease the gods. We had to kill the priest to restore our darkness.
As we marched to the place where the priest was to be killed, those of us who had the light in us masked to blend in with the crowd. We could have objected, but we couldn’t summon the courage to speak because we didn’t want to end up like the priest. We were all made to cast stones at the priest as a show of our denunciation of the light. As the priest breathed his last, the light died with him.
There we were once again, in that all familiar darkness. We partied all night and joked about how gullible we were to believe the priest and his light. By the time we woke up the next morning, a lot had gone wrong. People were falling over each other like in the old days. But this time, they called one another ugly and dirty, and tempers were flaring. The bad ones amongst us had mapped the tracks of their victim and had waited for the light to go out. Now, their nefarious activities were in full swing. The only thing we had ever known was the darkness but now that we had seen the light, we no longer could pretend there wasn’t something better out there.
By the time the morning drifted to midday, we all wanted to get the light back. We were screaming and wailing and begging the gods to send us another priest. We had been fooled by the oldies who had their own selfish ambitions. Later, we marched to the dwelling of the oldies to seek answers, but we all stumbled upon each other and ended up being scattered in confusion.
As I lay down waiting for the bad ones to come and end what was left of my miserable life, I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if we had tried to save the priest. But we didn’t talk and now, the light in us had died too.