The Falling Light
Auriel squealed with excitement.
“Look! I made a necklace made from the petals from our flower garden!”
“Hoho! What a beautiful necklace. Thank you, my little Belle! It is almost as beautiful as you, my little birthday girl.”
Her father, a tall, hefty man with a devilishly curled mustache, lifted her onto his broad shoulders and whispered into her ears jokingly.
“My little Belle, just make sure Baba does not know these were from his flower garden. He worked very hard to grow our flowers. Say you saved these flowers by whisking them away before I could squish them in the garden. He will be very proud!”
She giggled heartily and hugged her father.
Auriel was adopted into the Íroas family and lived in peace with her beloved fathers. Papa, Tryferós Íroas, was known by many and adored by all. At first glance, he appeared daunting with his massive build but all it took to win the hearts of fellow citizens was his cheesy smile and a crinkle of his curly mustache. He carried himself with a respectful demeanor, with a proud puff of his chest and tall stance. He always found a reason to give to the needy, even when he had nothing to give, further proving to his fellow citizens his sense of compassion.
Married to him, Baba, Pénthos Íroas, was a much shorter gentleman with a rebellious, scraggly beard that simply could not be tamed. He was oddly much stronger in comparison to his husband, despite his drastically smaller stature. He had a knack for making people feel loved and wanted with his hospitable nature and cheerful tone. Like the friend in need during dire times, Pénthos Íroas simply knew how to cultivate a welcoming and safe ambiance .
The two had met by chance in an evergreen garden that Pénthos had tendered to with unyielding passion, a safe haven that cemented their commitment and passion for each other.
The happy family of three were celebrating their beloved daughter’s sixteenth birthday. The two fathers struggled to keep up with her fickle list of favorite things. This year, the doting fathers were proud and confident of their attentiveness. Gifts continued to unravel, cakes were inhaled, and love stayed true. The family of three had not experienced such elation for so long, all for different reasons. To the Íroas, they found a daughter that they could share their overflowing sense of love with. To Auriel, she found a home.
For hours, their laughter and merriment lasted. Jokes were told. Banters were indulged. Even moments of silence were savored to bask in bliss. All was splendid until their home suddenly rattled from what seemed like distant explosions.
Their home was only a few acres away from the town. But this very town was located near the outskirts of a recovering wasteland that was ravaged by the Endless War.
The explosion was a little too reminiscent for the fathers to shrug off. Auriel paid no mind while Baba distracted her with her gifts. The parents looked at each other and agreed to head down towards the cellar.
“Belle, my little birthday girl, do you remember what to do when we need to hide from scary things?”
Baba did his best to hasten his daughter into obliviously complying.
“Of course, Baba,” she said confidently, “No longer am I a child nor am I afraid. Today is my sixteenth birthday! I am a lady now.”
Papa, becoming increasingly anxious as the quakes gradually became stronger, interjected with an urgent yet reassuring tone, “Wonderful! Let’s all head out and go down into the cellar. Will you walk us old gentlemen across the way, my fair lady?”
Bringing levity to the situation and to their amusement, Auriel rose from the wooden table with the elegance of a pretentious aristocrat. As she took her first steps towards the back door, she almost lost her balance from the rumbling of another explosion, drawing ever closer.
“What is that?” She bemoaned, “Why is this happening now on my birthday?” Auriel was more frustrated than she was concerned, unaware of the impending doom that crept towards them.
Another explosion. This time it was too close.
With grave concern, the fathers lept into action and commanded the situation. In hurried silence, the two worked in sync, knowing what was asked and needed with mere visual gestures. Pénthos grabbed Auriel by the hand and began escorting her toward the back door while Tryferós hastily grabbed the kit of emergency provisions and the floral necklace Auriel had made.
Catching up to his family outside, Tryferós handed his husband the materials. The family of three hurried across the rumbling plains beyond their garden towards the entrance of the underground cellar only a couple yards away. Stopping only briefly to do a quick inspection of the house, Tryferós noticed a shimmering singularity of light descending towards them. In doing so, a small gap between him and his family lengthened as he slowed down his pace to assess this anomaly. With widened eyes and flushing skin, Tryferós recognized the singularity as it marked its landing from its course.
Now, in plain sight, just barely landing between him and his beloved family was the source of all the commotion, a ticking flame bomb, nestled amidst the family garden.