Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Day and Night (07/10/14)
- TITLE: The Divided Kingdoms of Day and Night
By Jenny Fulton
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A young girl walked to edge of the field, her favorite thinking spot. She looked across the plains of the no-man’s land to the towering gates of Hemera off in the distance. Today the air was especially clear and she could hear the musical chatter and laughter of its people lighting up the sky with as much brilliance as the light shining forth from its borders. Somewhere in the middle of that barren zone, the light met with darkness. They co-mingled for a time, and then only a soft darkness remained. The sounds, however, persisted on through the darkness until they reached the thick walls of Lela. Then, they were solidly shut out.
Such noises were rarely heard in the Kingdom of Lela. People spoke, but only quietly, and only after the words had been carefully formulated in the mind. People laughed, but only in a soft manner, so as not to disturb the contemplative atmosphere of the land. An overly loud outburst or a word hastily spoken was sure to be met with a stern look of disapproval, followed by an assigned reading of “The Contemplative Mind”.
“Hello there!” a cheery voice called out, interrupting the contemplations of this Lelan.
Nesheph startled and looked around, attempting to locate the source of the greeting.
“Hello!” the voice called again.
Nesheph looked in the direction of Hemera. The form of a young girl stood silhouetted in the fading light of the city.
“Are you a night person?” the voice persisted. “Did you know that your dress is glowing in the dark?”
Nesheph nodded, then realized that her company wouldn’t be able to see her motion.
“Yes,” Nesheph answered softly, in the tonnage of her people.
“What? I didn’t hear that! I’m coming closer!”
Well that’s silly of her, thought Nesheph. The longer she walks this way the longer she’ll need to walk back the other direction.
Picking up her lantern, Nesheph walked forward to meet the strange girl.
They soon stood face to face, both silently taking in the appearance of the other. Both girls, about 12, had long hair and flowing gowns. But the Hemeran girl had bright blond curls and was dressed in traditional bright reds, yellows, and oranges, while Nesheph’s dark tresses were so deep they seemed almost blue and her softly glowing gown was set in shades of blue and purple.
The girl from Hemera broke the silence.
“I’m Shachar. I live in Hemera. I’ve never seen a Night Person before. How can you stand it with only lights and lanterns and clothes to see by? Why are you so quiet? Do you ever talk? Are you shy? What are you thinking?”
“Do you always speak so much?” Nesheph was surprised to hear herself say. She hadn’t planned on saying anything. Somehow, the words had just jumped out. She might as well continue. “If everyone talks as much as you do, who does the listening? Do you even think about what you are going to say?”
Stunned by her own outspokenness, Nesheph turned around, fully expecting that this was the end of any potential friendship.
“Wait, please don’t go!” Shachar pleaded. “I’ve never met anyone like you and I do want to hear what you are thinking.”
Nesheph stayed and a friendship was formed.
Shachar enjoyed having someone who would actually listen to her and gradually learned to be a better thinker and listener herself. Nesheph enjoyed having someone to listen to, and learned to take more chances in expressing her own thoughts and feelings. Even if she didn’t fully understand them, she found that talking them out with another person brought further clarification.
“You know,” said Shachar one day, after a long pondering moment, “The grand speakers of Hemera thinking they are better than the quiet thinkers of Lela is as ridiculous as the Day thinking it is better than the Night.”
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