She glances down at the bright young child with the toothiest smile bouncing on her knees, and he’s asking her for a story.
She tells him a story of physical darkness, where the shadows on the ground weren’t cast by tall objects or the clouds in the sky, but descended from above and covered the earth. The shadows breathed, writhing as they devoured everything beautiful and green. She tells of a time when the ground turned a tangible black that rippled in watery waves and when people became seasick while still on land.
She tells him a story of literal darkness, not the kind seen when day turns to night, but the type of darkness that only a blind man knows. A darkness that invaded people to hollow them from the inside out and threatened to make them forget what light is; one more powerful than what a child fears in the moments before he falls asleep.
She tells him a story of emotional darkness, where the bodies of children were piled high and scattered through the land and the only sounds that could be heard were ones that wailed of love that have been lost forever.
It isn’t her first intention to scare her grandson with such stories, but if he asks her for one, then she might as well tell him the best ones she knows. Besides, she’s never been very creative or imaginative, but she doesn’t have to be, because she’s gone through far more than the average person usually does.
The child still bounces and smiles in the end, because he can tell that the ending will be that much better.