AntiLite: Chapter 6 | Eternal Darkness

AntiLite

Kirkland awoke when he felt rested.  There was no way to logically tell what tie it was, so he went about his routine as usual.  He carefully picked his way from his home to his office.  He knew this would take longer than usual, but he was the CEO of BPE.  He was entitled to a break every now and then.

Kirkland noticed that he could hear a lot more street chatter than usual since everyone had abandoned their cars in favour of the safer alternative of walking to work.

As Kirkland approached a street corner, he heard a familiar voice declaring  doom among the residents of London.  Kirkland stopped briefly to listen.

“The London Stock Exchange has essentially crashed due to the lack of light.  Nobody can see how much money they are actually carrying around, so it’s virtually useless.  I suppose you could use it to light a fire and keep warm, but you wouldn’t be able to see what you were doing there either and you might burn yourself.  For that matter why are we not completely freezing to death.  The new principle in charge of the World Geological Survey London Branch, Theodore Redding says his team deployed is all over the country but admittedly, he has no answers.  Although he did mention his former supervisor was working on something.  When pressed, he would not give anything away.  He did not want to stir up false hope among the people of London.”

The crowd around the anchor began to mumble.

The voice of authority was the chief anchor of the BBC 11:00 news.

Kirkland continued his journey.  Theodore Redding, Kirkland thought for a minute.  Where had he heard that name before?

Never mind that for now.  Kirkland had places to be and people to fire.   Today was the day he would get rid of Bradley, the pesky intern.  Bradley had clearly overstepped his bounds yesterday evening, and today he would pay for it.

Kirkland finally arrived at BPE Headquarters to find all of his staff in the lobby rather disgruntled and confused.

A voice cut through the crowd

“Sure, the boss gets to show up late.”

Kirkland recognized that annoying voice as Bradley’s.  He immediately seized this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  Kirkland had to maintain order.

“Bradley!” he shouted above the crowd.  “Bradley, come stand by me.”

There was immediate silence.  Everyone listened for what would happen next.   Bradley wandered over next to Kirkland, knowing where he was by the direction where his voice was coming from.

“Bradley, consider yourself fired from this moment on.  The way you’ve been acting over the last few days, especially invading my home last night has not been proper the proper way for an employee of BPE to behave.  You are now hereby terminated immediately.  Go on.  Get out of here!”

“Fine!” Retorted Bradley  We can’t spend the money we make anyway.”

Bradley pushed by Kirkland and out the front door.

Kirkland addressed the rest of his employees.

“Ladies and gentlemen.  We are going through a time of uncertainty.  The sun has stopped shining.   It is going to be up to us, the largest hydroelectric company in the world to provide a reasonable solution.  we will be able to once again spend the money we make once we solve this problem.  We will solve this problem.  If anyone doesn’t have the stomach to go through this tough time, you can leave now.”

Nobody in the moved a muscle.

‘Excellent!  We’re all in this together.”

Kirkland’s address was met with cheers.

Allister had moved up beside Kirkland and tapped him on the shoulder.  Allister then addressed the crowd.

“This is the man who has led us successfully this far, and if you stay on with us, he will lead you boldly into the future.”

More cheers and clapping ensued from the crowd.

“Now get to work on a solution for this!” said Kirkland abruptly.  “Get into groups and brainstorm.  Work as long as you feel necessary each …day… and then return to your families.  We will have a corporate meeting in a few days to compare ideas.”

Many in the crowd were shocked.   Usually it was Kirkland’s way or the highway.  Now he was asking for their input?  Many were leary of this, but they did as ordered, not wanting to become a fired dissenter like Bradley.

***

Bradley walked down one of the many London streets that had now become non-descriptive.  He had never felt so free.   He now lived in a world free of his oppressive boss.  In a

world where looks no longer mattered.  He had just as much chance at what remained of the pleasures of this world as anyone else.  The barriers were being knocked down.

Smelling the unmistakable  scent of stale alcohol, Bradley followed his nose into a nearby pub, brushing by many a confused Londoner as he made his way down the street.  Bars could still function for the sole purpose of beer in this environment at the moment, surely he would be able to find some fun to end off a rather poor day.

He sat down, ordered a pint of Guinness and drank it down quickly.  Hearing the sound of a woman’s voice nearby, Bradley made as direct a line as he could toward her.  He caught her in an embrace.  She was obviously startled.  Feeling that a knife was concealed in her shirt, Bradley skillfully introduced himself, more or less.

“I could be the most attractive man in the world to you.”  he said confidently.

“You sound like a pig!   You smell like one too!”

“Hey! I showered this morning!”  retorted Bradley.  “If I can’t go out with you, can I at least borrow your knife?”

“No, you fool!” screamed the woman.

Knowing from his embrace that he was short and not very heavy the woman picked Bradley up single-handedly and threw him out of the pub.  Bradley lay in the street.  He was glad nobody had actually seen that happen.  He had heard of the unbelievably strong women of London’s inner city.  He had never thought he would actually run into one and make her mad enough to show him.

Bradley continued his walk home.  He seriously had to get that knife.

***

Kirkland finished a day of brainstorming for another solution to the current world crisis.   They were both disappointed that their alternative sun idea had not panned out.  He left work disgruntled and blended in with all the other Londoners headed home on their slightly longer commutes.  At least people were getting more exercise this way.

He decided to pass by St. Paul’s Cathedral again.  Upon reaching the stairs Kirkland found a shocking sight.

The sign proclaiming Jesus Christ as the light of the world was still illuminated!

Kirkland was extremely confused.  How can the whole city be in darkness while this one little sign still be in darkness?  Kirkland had an idea.  He took out his executive paperweight, which he kept in his pocket at all times to remind himself of his heavy responsibility, and ran up the stairs towards St. Paul’s.  Kirkland hurled his paperweight at one of the low windows.  Glass shattered everywhere.  Kirkland stepped in through the gaping hole he had created.    He searched around for any light switch that he could find.  Flicking them on and off, Kirkland became more and more disappointed when no light enveloped him, try as he might.

Kirkland emerged from the church extremely exasperated.  He ran down the famous staircase into the street, not bothering to look where he was going.  Suddenly, Kirkland tripped over what felt like a wheelchair.  He fell headlong over someone’s lap and headfirst onto the concrete that had previously been underfoot.

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