It had been a long time since they saw real light. Sure, there were lights that were turned off and on from the odd occasion, but real light, that’s what they craved. That’s what they wanted to see.
For too many years they had been underground, sealed in some sort of cavernous space with little contact from the outside world, though they had begun suspecting that they hadn’t had any and those that they met during their exploration were in the same situation. However, the illusion of there being an outside world still had to stand, for maybe it was more than just an illusion and that was something that they had to hold onto. It kept them going, even if they questioned it to some extent. It kept them working to stay alive and it was something that may even help them get out of where they were.
Survival was always priority and the need to survive could also turn violent at times. However, usually any of those who were also underground were amiable enough. It was just that in this place seemingly cut off from everything, sometimes there would be a need to engage in aggression and even though that was avoided where necessary, conflict seemed inevitable. Thankfully it was usually fast and swift, and hopefully not fatal. If it was, however, then that was just an unfortunate thing that happened.
They had managed to survive mostly on wit and cunning and doing their best to not screw others over. It was easier for them to do so as it meant any sorts of deals and truces were more easily maintained and gained. They were trustworthy and reliable and so, even though there seemed no unified civilisation where they were, and most remained nomadic in some manner, word could still spread and word was good down here. It was almost like a currency and it could affect how much someone could be avoided or approached if either were required, for running into anyone else could be an uncommon occurrence at times. Many were solitary and preferred to roam, though those that didn’t would more often remain hidden than not, though there could come times where they too would become nomadic, if only to find a better place to stay hidden.
Of course there were others who tried to set up some sort of imitation of a village, though these were usually only a few structures functioning as shop fronts and homes; they’d be passed by almost as quickly as they were approached, and they had little on offer that couldn’t be gained with a little bit of work.
It was unsure as to how many of the other people down in this series of spaces craved natural light, but they did. They yearned for it, for they had been underground for far too long for their own liking. They weren’t sure as to how they had ended up there and they didn’t know as to what was their penance, and they didn’t even think about that so much anymore. They just wanted to get out. They wanted to find a way back to the surface and they wanted to do it as soon as possible. They were growing tired and they were losing a sense of hope that they had held onto for a long time. They were losing it to sheer determination to just do what they could to get out and that was a dangerous thing, for even though they were reliable and trustworthy and their being so had ensured that word about them kept was good, their being so readily set on getting out to the point could cause that standing to sour; something of which they needed to avoid at all costs, especially if they failed.
Still, sheer determination did not cloud their judgement and so they knew what they had to do to try and prevent things becoming more challenging than necessary and so they kept on eking out an existence, surviving how they could and remaining reliable. They were nomadic like many of the others, yet they had not seen the entirety of this underground network. However, they had seen enough to know where to stash things in ways and in places that would reduce the chance of their discovery, and so they had their own separate network, away from people, allowing them to remain prepared to some extent wherever they went, and also without having to worry about carrying everything that they could need at many given moments.
Occasionally there would be new faces found. Lost, confused faces, unsure as to what it was that they found themselves in. They often would stick to the areas with stronger lighting; areas that were artificial structures that somehow had found themselves underground. They formed their own paths, far more uniform in shape and structure and far less rough than the regular ground. However, those new faces would gradually move away from the perceived safety of these light sources, for they offered no sustenance and they offered no more safety than any other area. They would gradually become part of the greater space, moving around, looking to survive however they needed to as they gradually accepted their new surroundings.
Sometimes it was easy for them to try and converse with these new people. They might be able to get details of the outside world, and those stories were comforting, but it still seemed like an illusion at times. It was an illusion to cling to, but there was no denying that the years were wearing them down. They could find it difficult to believe in the stories and as such would occasionally see them as nothing more than the desires of others who wanted nothing more than to imagine a far more ideal environment. However, it still helped them keep on going and so they did, as did others, throughout a darkness with occasional lighting, looking for sustenance, rest, and whatever else was necessary.
The time it took to write one thousand words: 19:58:66
This was slow, but I’m glad that it was. I spent time thinking about this and, whilst it is really, really rough, it’s something that I feel may have promise.
Written at home.