On a starlit night, darkness fell. Millions of stars danced the sky and beyond. Dazzling, with waves of extreme brightness, my head ached. Before the age of eight, I experienced a slight of Armageddon. Living in a small village, with electricity slowly weaving its way into every shack and shanty, with possibly one bulb to switch on, deep darkness dwelled. The year? 1950 – 1953.
Our bedrooms were on the second floor. Not enough light to see our way. Mother did not trust us with a candle for fear we would let it continue to burn. We were afraid of the dark like most children. Afraid of the blackness set before our eyes and with imaginations that could stalk even the dead. But my brother and I had each other. So we held on, our little bodies emerged together, until we reached our bed. We slept together. We would talk and giggle until we heard the sound of power below.
“You kids. Go to sleep now, or I’ll come ….”
We knew what that meant. And we respected the tone of the voice. It meant business.
We closed our eyes and covered our heads with the blanket. It was black underneath, but it was dark on top, so it didn’t matter. Somehow, we felt safer with our heads covered. My brother fell asleep first. Now, I was alone in the dark. Alone. The feeling of the word gives me shivers when night time begins to slither in. It took years for me to forget what I saw that night.
Sleep came about rather smoothly, though the darkness remained. I will never know whether this was a dream or if it actually happened. If it did happen, nobody ever shared it.
I peered out the window. Dark black shadows sprung from every direction. Monsters of some sort, I presumed. It was the sky that drew my utmost attention. Perhaps, the most amazing thing I can recall … the sky had become brilliant. If I could explain it now, I would say it was kind of a Star Wars event taking place. Brilliant, horrendous sized stars and planets, began to bombard each other with the sound of people screaming, and in torment. Which would survive and did I want to be part of survival, or would I much rather succomb to one strike and succomb to death?
Death. Another gruesome fear of my youth.
I watched purposely. Never had I ever seen fireworks. We were much too secluded in the woods to have any such an opportunity. But tonight, I saw a fireworks display that made me shiver. The atmosphere was at War. Missiles, it appeared, pierced through the heavens and headed towards its target. Then an explosion. Colours of every description skipped across the sky. Here; there and everywhere. Talk about explosions and colours fragmenting the atmosphere right above my home. It lasted most of the night. I didn’t think I would be alive to tell the tale of that gruesome night when Star Wars had taken place.
Who won? I don’t really know. I guess whatever is left is who won. When you look out on a clear, dark night and you see thousands of stars brilliant in an array, remember, there had been at one time many more stars much too numerous to count. And I have lived to tell about it.