Sunrise Part Two
The next day, assuming it was day, we got up to find food when a rather unexpected thing happened. As we were leaving, we saw something bright in the distance. It lifted from the horizon glowing brighter and brighter, and then we began to realize what it was. Impossible.
It was the sun! The sun was rising!
I couldn’t believe it! The sun was rising for the first time in years. We stopped to look at it, forgetting how bright it was, we held our hands in front of our eyes, stealing glances. The survivors around us broke into spontaneous applause. For the first time, I could see everyone’s faces light up. It was a miracle. Everyone started to run around and enjoy the sunlight. My mother said nearly under her breath. “Where the hell have you been?” One of the former employees started planting seeds behind the store while others began to hunt for food without fear of being hunted. We felt an overwhelming sense of joy when we basked in the warm sun. The Dark Ages had finally ended, we were going to start all over. I should have known not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched.
The sun did not rise again, and we were back to where we started; a cold and pitch-black world. Some of our neighbors disappeared into the dark. Why did the sun stop rising, I thought. We sat around a fire as my parents discussed what they ought to do next. Why did the sun come back at all? It doesn’t make sense. I hope Chadwick is all right. Did he go out into the sun?
I made my way back to the large house where Chadwick lived. I found him playing by himself in the living room. When he saw me enter, he smiled and said. “What took you? I was afraid you forgot about me.”
I apologized and told him how the sun suddenly rose and how happy we were. “Did you get to go out when the sun rose?” I asked.
“I did.” He replied. “But you didn’t come, I thought you might come when the sun rose, but you didn’t. It got dark, and I waited.”
“Well, I’m here now,” I said. “Let’s play.” Chadwick and I started to play hide and seek in the house. Chadwick seemed to have forgiven me as we played with his toys and read comics. It felt good, and I forgot to look for food. I really liked being a kid again. And I liked seeing Chadwick’s smile.
When the time came for me to go back home, I promised Chadwick, this time for real, that I would come back the next day. Chadwick gave me the biggest smile and a sack full of food and supplies from his kitchen. I went home handing the bag to my dad, continually telling him that I just found them along the way. There was something about Chadwick that I didn’t want my dad to know about. Trouble was, I don’t know what it was.
The next day, the sun rose again. I wondered why the sun didn’t rise yesterday. It was a euphoric feeling once more. I went to Chadwick’s house and saw him playing again with his toys in the living room. I said his name as I cracked open the front door. He saw me and stood quickly coming toward me. Suddenly, he tripped over a broomstick on the floor and hurt himself. He started to tear up and frown, and at the same time, the sky began to grow dark. I walked over to him and said. “Are you okay?” Touching his face.
When Chadwick looked up, he smiled, and in that instant, the sky had grown brighter outside. I looked in Chadwick’s eyes. “Did you see that? I asked. “See what?” He said. It then dawned on me that when I first visited this house, I had encountered an unfortunate boy who immediately smiled after playing with him. And right after that, the sun rose for the first time. And when I didn’t go back as promised, the sun stopped rising. And when I came back, it rose again. And just now, when Chadwick hurt himself, the sky darkened.
The sun rose when Chadwick was happy, and when he was sad, it would not rise at all. I then told him this. He looked at me and said. “Well, when I was born, my mom told me that I was her little sunshine.”
“I’m serious, Chadwick,” I said
“It’s completely unrealistic,” Chadwick said.
“Before the Sun went away, we thought that was impossible, too,” I said.
“Well, what do you want me to do? Be happy all the time.” He raised his hands.
We soon forgot our conversation. I ventured to Chadwick’s house almost every day after that. And every day, the sun rose like it used to, bringing in warmth and light. It felt so good to be a kid again and not worry about rival gangs and starving wolves.
For the first time, it was….a new normal.
One day while at Chadwick’s house, the door flew open. My dad was standing in the doorway. He had followed me here and demanded to know what I was doing.
I meekly told him that I was hanging out with Chadwick. And my dad was furious. He immediately said that even if the sun had risen, I should not stop foraging for the family supplies. He even demanded to know if this was the house where I found the food parcels. I couldn’t lie to my dad, and I sadly said it was. My dad then went to the kitchen and began to raid it.
Chadwick ran to the kitchen and began to cry and told him. “THAT’S NOT YOURS! IT BELONGS TO MY FAMILY! DON’T TAKE IT!”
My dad didn’t listen and kept on raiding the pantry and the cabinets. I joined Chadwick and pleaded for him to stop as I didn’t want my dad to make Chadwick sad. “Please don’t, dad,” I said. “It’s not ours.”
Then Chadwick picked up a broomstick and struck my dad with it, telling him to stop. My father looked at him and, with one hand, shoved Chadwick away, making him fly backward and smash his head against the floor. Chadwick was limp, and I could see blood slowly gushing onto the hardwood floors. I tried to wake him up, but he didn’t move.
“Chadwick?” I said, gently prodding him. I couldn’t believe it. He was dead; tears fell from my eyes. I was speechless.
My dad looked at me and told me that I shouldn’t be too soft and worry about him. That we had to take care of our own family. He then stuffed the food and supplies into a sack and ordered me to bury Chadwick’s body.
I sadly obeyed and dragged Chadwick’s body to the garden. I dug a hole big enough for him under a large oak tree. I carefully pushed him in and buried him. I placed a small stone on top of the freshly covered dirt, continually apologizing to him, knowing all too well that the sun would slowly set…and never rise again.
It’s been a year since that happened. And the sun has yet to rise again. I am now 13 years old. The survivors are disappearing every night, and I’m afraid to go out there. I don’t know if its suicide or wild animals. It doesn’t matter. If we are to survive another day, we have to go out. Sometimes I think about Chadwick and how the sun would rise. Beautiful. Have you ever been in darkness so complete that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face?