The Flickering Lights
The familiar chatter of children echoed throughout the hollow classroom. The lighting flickered from glowing orbs, the color of lemons, which were placed throughout the room. Devon sat in the far back, at a peculiar desk covered in pencil marks and scratches. Everyone else’s desks were completely identical: slight discoloration with a 3 carved into the center. As the teacher walked in, all the students stood up simultaneously and waved.
The teacher’s voice resonated throughout the room. “Students, please read the daily 3 from your textbooks.”
The students responded: “Never turn off the lights. Stay indoors after 9 pm. All are equal.”
It was a process that had been ingrained into the minds of the students. No one dared to disobey the daily 3, and for years it was kept that way.
For a moment, Devon’s vision became blurry. He hadn’t gotten much sleep, and his mind was still foggy. As his eyes slowly began to close, a thought raced through his mind.
Turn off the lights.
It seemed illogical, but how could thinking be a sin? As Devon glanced down at his textbook, his mind spoke to him again. The same protesting thoughts reappeared, this time stronger. Under the flashing yellow lights, Devon stood up from his seat. The other students and the teacher paid no attention. No. They did not move at all. Their eyes remained fixed onto the lights, still flickering, as Devon walked towards the light switch.
“One has escaped!”
The voice caught Devon by surprise. Alarms began blaring, and the lights flickered faster. He could hear rapid footsteps beating against the ground outside. Still, his classmates remained motionless. They were staring, relaxed, into the flashing lights, mumbling as the yellow hue grew brighter and brighter.
“It’s beautiful. Don’t turn it off. We need the lights.”
Outside, multiple men were shouting, and Devon heard them through the poundings on the door.
“Boy, do not turn off the lights. You don’t understand!”
But Devon had already made his decision. He flipped the switch, and the lights shut off.