Short Story by Vala Schriefer
Before the concept of time was established, a battle between two forces began to dominate all life on earth. The powers of Light and Darkness were the first to find the new planet. Ever since their arrival, the two forces have fought for control over the earth. The world knew only of chaos. Shards of white and puddles of black inked the atmosphere as these two powerful forces clashed. The power of light illuminated the skies with milky nebulas and slashed fires across the landscape. The power of darkness poured blackness into the deepest lakes and tinted the mountains dark greys and browns. The influence of light and dark touched every crease and crevice of land and every living being.
Light took its claim on the radiant birds and colored them all sorts of bright hues. It poured glorious gold upon the lions, foxes, and wild cats. Darkness stained the bears, beetles, and ravens with the boldest of blacks. The cheetah, however, was caught in the crossfires of all this claiming and was both doused in Light’s gold and splattered in Darnkess’ black.
On a day rife with violence and pandemonium, the mighty golden lion said to the cheetah, “Oh, creature of Light and Darkness, you possess the qualities of wit and intellect. Will you not reason with these powers, convince them to stop this onslaught, beg them to make peace?” The Lion was crying now; large golden tears.
The cheetah thought for a moment. It was given the gift of cleverness, speed and strength from the influence of both Light and Darkness. It knew it could use its abilities for good.
“I will help.” The cheetah said calmly.
The cheetah devised a plan to end the constant fight between light and dark and bring order to Earth. It looked towards the battle field, where blacks and whites bled onto the earth and mixed like paints.
It approached the two powerful forces and said ever so smoothly, “My dear friends, we creatures of earth are so very grateful for the colors you have bestowed upon our world. Your quarrels, however, are futile, for you are both equally powerful and your battle of strength will not warrant a victor. Why, what you require is a test of speed rather than strength.”
The two battling forces momentarily stopped their fighting and looked upon the brave and cunning cheetah. As they pondered the suggestion, curious animals emerged to investigate the unfamiliar silence. Finally, Light burst forth and stated proudly,
“Well, my dear creature, it would be unfair to my opponent to engage in a test of speed for I am superior to him in this field.”
Darkness swelled with anger and screeched, “You are neither superior in speed nor strength. For all know that I, Darkness, am quick, agile, and possess the ability to dominate all. My superiority over you would make the race unfair.”
Before the two entities could engage in another furious battle the cheetah said, “Have you not heard The Tale of the Wind and the Stars?”
Light shot out small sparks to signify its confusion while Darkness silently dripped with dark matter. Neither was willing to admit their ignorance, so the cheetah began its story.
The Tale of the Wind and the Stars
Before Light and Darkness met the earth, the colorless world was ruled by two strong demons. The demons controlled the movements of the world. The first demon made the waves curl while the second demon made the leaves rustle. Both demons, however, had their eye on one particularly powerful movement; the movement of air. The demons argued constantly over the air. One day, the first demon proposed that they race for control over this power. Both demons, being haughty and proud, thought that they would win. They decided that the victor would claim the wind, while the loser would fade into nothingness and never possess the power of movement again. The two demons stood at the starting point. The second demon decided to adorn himself with millions of ocean pearls so that he could camouflage himself amongst the grey scenery, trick the first demon, and get a head start. The two demons stood at the starting point. The demons took off. The first demon, who was not weighed down by millions of ocean pearls, reached the finish line leaving the second demon right behind him. The loser began to disappear into nothingness. As he disappeared the pearls on his body began to tremble and burst into the sky, leaving thin trails of white. These pearls still bounce aimlessly through the sky. The first demon then controlled the wind. The first demon was victorious because he was clever and quick.
Both Light and Darkness were in a deep trance from the cheetah’s words. The entities were inspired by this tale of speed; Light swirled with excitement while Darkness rose with anticipation. When the cheetah finished its story, Light and Darkness were already prepared to race. The cheetah smiled as it watched them stare into the horizon. It leaned over to light and whispered,
“Oh great and powerful Light, we creatures on earth much prefer your qualities over Darkness so you must get a head start to win this race. There!” The cheetah pointed towards a piece of round gold, “use that bright gold to blind Darkness.” Light picked up the gold which became encased in flames. The cheetah nodded to Light, moved over to Darkness, and whispered,
“Oh great and powerful Darkness, we creatures on earth much prefer your qualities over Light. This is why you must know that Light is planning to cheat and begin before the race has officially started. But hush! Do not let Light be aware that you know of this! You must chase Light and obliterate its power while it is off its guard. Light will never expect it, for Light will be too busy thinking of speed to consider its strength. There!” the cheetah pointed towards a large grey stone, “use that stone to throw at Light.” Darkness picked up the stone and took its position.
Darkness tensed with anger towards Light and excitement for the competition. All creatures of earth gathered to watch the great race. The cheetah took a deep breath. As it opened its mouth to sound the start of the match Light zipped forward. Darkness, however, was prepared. Darkness slithered like a serpent across the earth, a few steps behind darting Light. The race sped on until Light reached the finish line. Light stopped and spit flames of victory.
“Are you mad?!” yelled the cheetah, “If Darkness catches up with you it will swallow you whole! You must race on! Now, go!”
In a blazing hurry, Light took off, traveling once more around the globe with Darkness lurking around the corner. The competition went on and on; neither entity was willing to give up. The race fell into a rhythm and the creatures of earth adapted to the new periods of Light and Darkness. The animals continued to be spectators of this race; however, because of its never-ending nature, the animals had to select a particular time to watch the competition. Those who chose to see Darkness engulf the earth were called “nocturnal” while those who chose to experience Lights smudging of gold were called “diurnal”.
Light and Darkness twisted through branches, inhaled clouds and glided across every surface they came in contact with. Their touch missed no crevice, skipped no corner, dodged no cranny. Light dragged its flaming gold ball of fire behind it as it dashed across the atmosphere. Darkness carried its grey and glowing stone; eager to hurl it at Light. And thus, Light and Darkness wrapped around the earth and intertwined their powers with the world’s life; dividing time into increments of day and night.