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The Seed of Light
Flash fiction, 800 words. For the Nov. 1 Iron Age prompt, "The Emergence." This one might get a Part II eventually.
The boy looked at the Seed of Light. The Seed of Light looked at the boy.
“But where did the sun go?”
The Seed of Light understood. That was the next logical question. It had prepared an answer.
“The sun — the star Sol, that is — was recalled home. It was acting erratically, and the decision was made to take it out of commission lest it threaten Earth’s life.”
“Oh.” said the boy. “Is it coming back?”
“No, I don’t think so. I shall light the Earth for now on.”
“But are you even a sun?”
“No, as I said, I am the Seed of Light. My wavelengths are a little different, but I am hopeful. Nothing has died yet. In fact, you seem to be the first life that has noticed a difference.”
“That can’t possibly be true! Look … look at you.” the boy dropped his voice sheepishly. The Seed of Light had strange lines and was, quite frankly, smaller. The shadows it threw were odd. He could look right at it and his eyes didn’t hurt. “Someone else must have noticed.”
“Do you think so?” asked the Seed of Light kindly, taking no offense. “The most populous half of the Earth has been in night since the switch was made half a rotation ago. Many parts in day are cloudy. Others suffer from man-made clouds that obscure the sky. Many sentient lives do not venture outside all day. It is my understanding that all, when cognizance begins in the juvenile stage, are told not to look directly at the sun. I am not so worried about your kind failing to adjust. I do worry about the plants. They are more sensitive to light. These tall ones …”
“Trees. They’re called sequoia … I think.”
“Do they look different to you? Unhappy? I am trying my best to mimic Sol’s wavelengths.”
The boy detected a note of worry in the Seed of Light’s voice.
“No. But it might be hard to tell for a long time, sorry.” He felt an apology was in order since the Seed of Light was trying its best. “We have seasons where the plants do weird things. Winter is coming up, you know. It’s because … the sun … gets further …”
“It is because the Earth dips on its axis. It is also true your orbit is not a perfect circle, but aphelion is not an issue. I have studied everything about Sol and Earth very carefully. But you are quite right, I think. Plants and animals are used to changes in light and heat. If I have created a problem, it might take a revolution or two to notice. All of you who can speak – you too – must say something immediately if you think I have caused a problem. The smallest difference matters. I will do my best to adjust.”
“Thank you, Seed of Light.” The boy figured that if it had gone to all this trouble to get here, and banish the sun, and adjust wavelengths and even talk to him, the Seed of Light must be serious about its task. “I’m Brian. That’s my name. Like the sun’s called Sol.”
“It is good to meet you, Brian. I am happy to help.”
“Why are you called the Seed of Light?”
“Because all light is grown from me. When a new kind of light is needed, it comes from my reservoirs.”
“But isn’t the sun light? Can’t you just make a new one, then?”
“The sun is not light, Brian. It is a great soup of very small objects that hit each other very hard, making light and warmth.”
“Oh, right.” Brian was glad the Seed of Light had studied the sun because he had not studied his science textbook. “I guess you’re not the Seed of Atoms.”
“No, but the Seed of Atoms is my friend. We discussed what we should do about Sol very carefully, the both of us. In the end, it was not possible to introduce a new star without harming Earth. There are many considerations, and I received contributions from the Seed of Mass and the Seed of …”
“I understand,” said Brian quickly. “How long will you be the sun, then?”
“Until life is done with Earth, or Earth done with life.”
“That’s a long time,” Brian whistled.
“Indeed,” replied the Seed of Light gravely. “Ah, I believe others are noticing. I must speak with them, too, but you will tell me, won’t you, Brian, if you detect any changes? Even small ones. I will adjust.”
“I will.” Brian got no response.
He stared hard at the trees. He walked down this path every day, so he thought he’d notice if something changed. No, nothing. Well … maybe everything was a little greener.
He would tell the Seed of Light, but he would wait until December.
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