Lost In The World With The Lights On
By Tobias Bass
The day had just begun and my mind wasn’t wrapped around the idea of getting out of bed. My body wanted to lie, and my body wanted to stay in the position it was in, asleep. My eyes were shut and I could only feel the radiant heat from my bedroom window, as if there was candlelight, and it was placed all on the outline of my body. The fear had taken over my body, that I was late for school, and that soon the rush of the none-wanted day would begin. The room would be a bright blue, as the sun shined through the blue cotton curtains that failed to shade me.
My eyes opened to the room, which was different in many ways. The light that was shining was different, and my room was full of red light. The red light was something I had never seen before; the light was different from any red I have ever seen. There was no one for me to ask what was going on. I slid my head on my pillow so I could get a better glance at the alarm clock. I was at least two hours late for school, which was weird because my mom hadn’t run in and pulled the blankets off of me, waking me to the sadness of society. As soon as I was thinking this, I heard my mom’s feet slam on the hallway carpet. It was a slam that symbolized something was wrong.
I sat up in my bed with all the energy I had in my body at this time of the day. My mom burst into the room and charged at me with her arms spread out. I swung back thinking my mother wouldn’t yank me off the bed in the confusion of the morning. But this time she grabbed my head and looked me in my eyes. I couldn’t get a good honest look into hers, but for some reason I felt like she was searching for something. “Son, you need to go wash your eyes right now.” She stuttered. I didn’t ask what was going on since when she told me to do something I did it.
Once I was in the bathroom, I looked into the mirror. I tried turning on the lights, but no light bulb was bright. So I did what I could and began looking myself deep into my eyes. The first thing I noticed was the ring around my pupil; it was yellow and wide in diameter. “Mother!? What is going on?”
I asked with a much-needed answer. My mother walked into the bathroom and turned on the sink. She pointed and I knew she wanted to make sure I washed my eyes. I cupped the water with my hands and splashed them on to my wide-open eyes. I repeated this a couple of times, until she turned off the water. I looked up at her, and she had the most worried look on her face. “Mom?” I asked again. She looked me into my eyes, and I finally saw what was wrong with her. Her eyes were red, as if they were bleeding, and she had no choice but to look. “Toby, go get your bag you use for football, and fill it with clothes!” She told me this in a manner that I knew was only the beginning before she was yelling.
I walked into my room and pulled out the bag. Inside of it was dirty workout clothes from when I played. I took those out immediately and began to place the clothes from my closet into this bag. I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to be a trip to the family’s, but we were leaving for a long time. So I grabbed some more things from my dresser, like pictures that I couldn’t bare to lose.
The house began to shake, and the windows began to rattle. Earthquake? We haven’t had an earthquake here in over three years, unless it was time for an earthquake. I could hear the car in the driveway start up, and knew that it was time for me to hurry. I zipped up my bag and ran to the front door. I placed my hand on the front door; I had to pull it back from the heat it was putting out. My hand was burnt from touching the door; I noticed that the same red light was oozing its way into the house. With one quick jab at the door knob the door swung open, and my brain couldn’t absorb all the things that were going on at once.
The smoke from everything was hurting my lungs, the noises of the planes above were slapping against my eardrums, and this was something out of a movie. The neighbor’s house was on fire, and halfway gone, along with their car. The road looked as if it was melting, and when I glanced up at the sky the red light was coming from the huge mushroom cloud up above. It was clear this was something, which I myself couldn’t explain. The passenger door to the car swung open, and I could hear my mom screaming out for me to hurry and get in. As I was running to the car, I heard a loud clapping noise. Before I knew it I was laying face down thirty feet from my house.
I was out of breath, but when I was close to the floor my lungs had less smoke to inhale. My back hurt and it felt like the whole football team crashed into me when I wasn’t looking. On the floor I couldn’t see my mother, but I could hear her crying. I twisted myself so I was on my back now looking at where my house once was. What sat now was a lump of pure burning wood, and memories. I got up to my feet as fast as I could and jumped into the car, which was a couple feet in front of me. I closed the passenger door, and my mom was wiping away the blood tears from her face. She put the car in reverse and began to back out of the driveway. The ground started to shake again, and the car along with it.
The fear in my eyes and the fear in my heart were too overwhelming. I felt like I could literally die at that moment. We were now driving down the freeway and all we could see out the window was the burning buildings with the red light. “Mom? What’s going on?” I asked her on the edge of tears. She was gripping the steering wheel with everything she had, and she looked over at me. “We are at war,” she stated. I couldn’t believe my ears; I couldn’t believe the ideas and thoughts going through my head. “With whom?” I asked. There was a pause. She gulped, “Ourselves.”
She stomped on the brakes hard, as we came up to a car pile up. We had no way to get around, and we had no way to go through. She sat there and she wanted to tell me it would be all right, but she would be lying. “Toby, for years the government has been keeping this from us. They were trying to act like nothing would ever happen.” My mom was trying to explain, so I asked no more questions for I knew that she would let it all out. “The Uprisers.” There was a pause of complete silence I couldn’t wrap my head around what she was referring too. Who? What are they? Are they human? She was catching her breath. There was less oxygen from being too close to all the smoke and cars on fire.
We got out of the car to look closer for another way, but we couldn’t really see much. The smoke was starting to look like a red fog, or a red mist hovering over us. She began to speak but what she was saying I couldn’t hear, and understand; all I could do was read her lips. Her mouth was moving so slowly. It was like nothing else really had a sound anymore. It all sounded like jets and explosions.
My mom walked over to the side of the road, and she sat down on a curb. I sat down right next to her and took her by the hand. “This country is lost - lost in a world with the lights on.” As soon as that sentence left her mouth, a helicopter emerged from the red clouds. It landed not that far from us, I quickly stood up. My mom stood up right behind me. I looked at her with the sign of hope, that maybe they were good, like us. My mom began to run to the helicopter, along with everyone else trapped on the freeway. I followed thinking that if I got there before my mom I could save her a spot.
I ran as fast as I could, and I wanted to be there first. I was in front of my mom along with many others. Closer and closer the helicopter became. There were men standing around the helicopter, with guns on their hips. “People! People! Stop Running!” One of the men shouted out. I ran to them along with everyone else who didn’t listen. One of the men grabbed me by my arm and picked me up, handing me off to another man on the helicopter. “Sir my mother!” I cried out. But he didn’t listen; he was still trying to keep everyone else from hopping on the helicopter. “Mom!” I yelled out. But I couldn’t see her anymore, not with all the people.
Soon the area where I was being held started to get full of young people, people of the new generation, the ones that will have to re-build this country. I knew what was going on; they were tossing out the old, the people that lived their own lives already.
One of the men grabbed my face and sprayed some liquid into my eyes. I put my hands over my face and screamed, for my eyes were now burning. I felt the helicopter lift off the ground, and I felt the wind through my hair; we were flying. I managed to open my eyes and saw nothing but red clouds, nothing but emptiness. I lost my mother forever. The feeling in my stomach could only be compared to when your deepest secret gets revealed. I, as a human being, felt lost and felt alone. I felt like I was being pushed around in a room and not being able to do anything back. Life was the bully; war was its tactic; and my losing the only thing I had was the funeral. I now know what my mother meant by being “lost in the world with the lights on.” We were blinded from what was here, until it came out to attack.
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