I was born in a big family. And we all live together in the same… you can say the same place. We have one huge house that around twenty families can fit in, but it’s not exactly a house. It’s something between a mansion, a residential complex, and a bunch of houses. And by we all live together, I mean my cousins and second cousins, their kids and so. There are a lot of us. We live far away from other people near the forest and we are all hunters. We don’t go to school, but we are homeschooled. After we learn the basics of reading, counting, and a brief history of our family, we are all taught how to do the basics of cleaning up, cooking, hunting, and how to survive in nature. Although everyone in the family is a hunter, when we reach a certain age, only we, the men, are hunting. The women take care of planting, cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling the younger ones. This may sound all cool and show us like brave people, but it really is not. I’ll get to that later.
We usually have a few good years but occasionally, we are visited by it. Mother of Shadows. Generations before us used to fight with it and it would only get angry and destroy everything they’d built. Our great great grandparents slowly learned what to do when it visited, and wrote down the three golden rules. The three rules have been passed down from generation to generation: One, when it visits, do not refuse it entry. Two, when it offers a gift, do not reject its generosity. Three, when it leaves, do not turn your back until it is no longer in sight. This way, our family has been kept safe. We know them by heart and we, the educated ones, repeat them everyday before we start our daily tasks.
Mother of Shadows doesn’t have a specific time when it visits. But there are signs before its arrival. We have assigned people to keep an eye for the signs. At first some darkness slowly appears on the sun and the world slowly slowly becomes dark. A shadow as dark as the night covers everywhere. Eventually the sun disappears in the sky. When we see the first sign, which is the sun being covered by it, we open our doors for we shouldn’t refuse its entry. According to those who lived way before us, Mother of Shadows used to offer us gifts but it has stopped for some unknown reason. Maybe we angered it. This darkness doesn’t always happen the same way and doesn’t take the same time. When the world starts to brighten, we stay in the gardens and look at the sky until there is no sign of it left.
But enough is enough. I don’t want us to live in this anymore. Now my whole family is outside, with all the doors opened. The world is darkening, but I won’t join them. I’m hiding and they’re too busy to notice anything. They just assume we’re all outside. From where I am hiding, I can see them all outside. I quietly make my way to the main entrance. It’s impossible to lock it without a sound. But here goes nothing. Shoot, one of my cousins just saw me and I barely manage to lock the gate. I start to run for the other doors, to lock them too. And I can hear them shout behind me. Begging for me to open it or else everything we’ve built will be destroyed.
But I don’t care because truth be told, the other day I found something in the forest, a piece of paper. That’s when I realized why we aren’t taught beyond reading and counting. There is so much more to the world than what we know. The paper I found was something related to Science, whatever that might mean. It explained how the darkness of the world happens during daytime. There were even pictures of the sun. The pictures showed how the sun slowly disappears and then the darkness goes away. This whole event also has a name. It was something similar to elips. Oh yeah, it was solar eclipse. I wanted to show them the paper but I knew no one would believe me, so I waited. We’ll see what happens. It’s either the words of our ancestors or the words of science. But my bet is on science.