A continuation of this idea/story. Not necessary reading.
Light and Fire
Light came to the end of the tunnel – dull and dim – and hesitated. She saw nothing ahead of her, no shadows, no lights, no embers. She could easily illuminate the way ahead, perhaps the whole tunnel if she focused, but she never did like not knowing what was ahead of her, in perilous times she never knew anything for certain.
‘What would be worse?’ she thought, to call out, announce her presence, or to light up the tunnel and see whatever horrors may be hiding along the way. Though, if there were truly horrors ahead, Fire wouldn’t be there and that was at least a possibility.
She took a step into the shadows, the dark disappearing around her. She took a deep breath in, and closed her eyes. She illuminated a few feet of tunnel with every exhale, still not looking to see what was there. She was light, energy, but she was not brave.
“It’s okay Light.”
She opened one eye to see Fire standing in front of her, red and burning gently.
“Oh! Good,” Light said, “why do you have to pick the scariest places to hide?”
“Isn’t is obvious? Who would come look for me down here?”
“Me?” Light replied with a smile that fell when Fire answered her.
“You don’t count,” she said, quickly adding, “you’d come looking for me in hell.”
“You’d be fine in hell.”
Fire smiled briefly.
“Are you sleeping here tonight?” Light asked, “it’s horrible.”
“I can spark or ember, and I’ll be fine. Better than one of the camps.”
“Not after I’ve dried it up.”
Fire had an answer for everything, Light realised.
There was a noise and Fire receded into herself and into the shadows. Light dimmed, turned, seeing a fox scurry by followed by her cubs; the animals had survived the new world well. Many had prospered. Once a dwindling species in the area Red Kites had multiplied and spread across the country. Light loved to fly alongside them, soar and dip like the birds did.
Not everything was darkness. Not for Light at least.
She was not sought after however, not like Fire. The human race was satisfied with the little bit of light they received during the day – for now – but they craved heat. Needed heat.
The foxes disappeared into the bushes growing out of the tunnel and into the darkness. Fire remained an ember.
“We’ve been living like these since the darkness came Light. Being in the camps isn’t any better than being here and what if I’m not the only fire out there?”
“You’re going to leave?”
“You’re energy, even when you’re an ember you’re -”
Fire cut her off.
“Mentally. Mentally I’m tired. For five years we’ve been these souls inside energy or elementals or whatever the humans call us and I’m all there is of Fire. You have a little sunlight to supplement yourself, Earth is never alone, Water went looking for what’s left of the oceans-”
Light’s frowned and Fire paused.
“Sorry, I know you miss him.”
She nodded but didn’t say anything.
“Wind,” Fire went to continue but Light muttered something.
“Breeze, she didn’t want to be called Wind.”
“Breeze couldn’t stand the storms or create anything more than a rustle of the leaves! We’re given this power, this energy, but have no real power or control. We’re a joke, Light, a joke of darkness.”
She sparked up becoming bright and white at her core, throwing flames up to the ceiling of the tunnel as she threw her arms up in the air. Light flinched, even though she knew her friend couldn’t hurt her. It was something she couldn’t help and managed to stand her ground as Fire calmed down and she darkened, turning red once more, but whole now. Her face was more defined, hair waving as if it were agitated all by itself.
Light wanted to laugh.
“I may not be the only Light, but what little sunlight breaks through the darkness isn’t sentient. It doesn’t have a soul. Neither does the earth or the oceans or the wind. The others are just as alone.”
“If we’re the only ones – the only souls – then why here in these damn hills.”
Light chuckled she flew up and over the many hills. Fire trudged.
“I don’t know.”
They woke up here, dim and confused, surrounded by hills and darkness with no idea of what she was or who she was. It’s how it started for the five of them. They had been their base states; Water a puddle, Fire roaring a few feet away. Breeze had been over head, gently whipping up pieces of Earth. Light herself had merely been a glow above them all.
“I’m not leaving tonight,” Fire said, looking down at the dry dirt at her feet, “but I am going to leave.”
“And go where?”
“I don’t know. Somewhere else,” Fire said, brightening again, a flash of yellow at her core. “The people here, they’re rabid.”
They were bad, Light had to admit; she considered them determined more than anything else.
“You could come with me,” Fire suggested, still looking at the floor.
Light shook her head, flickers of white stretching out as she did so.
“He’s not coming back.”
She turned away, going to leave and Fire whipped herself into a ball to move around Light and stand in front of her.
“Sorry, sorry. Light.”
“He might come back,” she said, pouting a little unable to help herself.
Water had been gone a long time, almost a year, looking for oceans that had dried up in the darkness. Light did miss him, but they didn’t talk about it. They didn’t talk about any of the others as they left the hills one by one.
“I’ll come and say goodbye,” Fire said.
Light wasn’t sure she would. Or if she even wanted her to, but she nodded and dimmed into a ball of low light, floating away. She could hear the crackle of grass burning beneath Fire’s feet, as she headed back into the tunnel.