The year was NC221. Thick, dark clouds had enveloped the entire planet since shortly after the Nuclear Holocaust, or NC as it was commonly known. The descendants of the survivors called it “the Gloom.” No one alive had ever seen the sun, the moon, or the stars. There were people who thought that tales of such “heavenly bodies” were nothing more than an ancient mythology.
Simon was leading a small party of gatherers scavenging for insects and, if they were lucky, a large rodent or two. Other hunting parties were looking for small game, such as wild dogs, coyotes, or feral cats. Several species of fish had managed to survive the NC, but because of the levels of radiation and other pollutants in the lakes, ponds, and streams, fish was rarely consumed by the descendants. Few other land species had survived the NC.
Simon and his group had been out for nearly five hours when he decided to take a quick inventory to see if they had collected enough to call it a day. When he was satisfied, he told everyone to grab their bags and they started the trek back to the base camp.
As they reached the top of the last hill before heading down into the valley, they all stopped and stared at the sky off in the distance. Some of the gatherers were frightened by what they saw. Others were in awe. Several even began to cry. Even Simon wasn’t sure what to make of it. There appeared a large hole in the cloud cover, with a bright light emanating from it. “What is it, Simon?” one of the gatherers asked.
“I honestly don’t know,” Simon said. “It may be the sun or the moon shining through a crack in the sky.”
“Or maybe the gods are angry and are going to punish or destroy us,” another said, cowering in fear.
“We shouldn’t be afraid,” Simon said. “Some of the old books talked about how the Gloom might eventually lift. This may be the dawning of a new, bright age and a rebirth of our planet. We should celebrate and not recoil in fear.”
The small party of gatherers hurried back to the base camp, which, by the time they arrived, was bathed in the bright, warm light.
Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.