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A white ball sits in the sky. It reflects onto a black ocean below a blacker sky. Waves crashed onto gray sand as ensuing winds ran through the leaves of drab foliage. The sea birds sang overhead and danced together like lovers bound to an ever-moving center point. Stars littered the sky like the freckles on a maiden’s face, with the only difference between each them being how bright or dim they were.
Permeating the air was the serene smell of a mixture between nightly air and salty ocean spray. It felt like a summer’s cycle back in the mainlands, where the air was warm enough to be comfortable, but cool enough to let you know it’s not getting any warmer.

Walking alone had always slightly unsettled me, even more so here. In the mainlands, the city-goers adapted to the constant lights, neon and blinding. The constant business of metropolitan life had made people not truly live in the moment anymore. I had spent much of my life in the city, and I had never seen the white ball so clearly in all its heavenly lunar glory.
The last time I had seen its wonderful visage in full was when I was only 5 years old. Since then, the most I had ever seen of it were shy crescents and white globs of light seeping through a fat layer of clouds. Seeing it now, it felt surreal.

The ocean wind soared through my short, curly hair, wiping my scalp with cool air to ease my growing sense of worry. The light from the white ball seemingly reflected off my sand-white skin, making it seem as though my very own flesh was glowing. An old worn-out travel shirt loosely fit to my figure, - swaying gently in the subtle stray breezes, - and met nylon shorts that whistled as my thighs brushed past one another. My sandals, woven sturdy, clung to my soles. They hurled droves up behind them with each step, dusting my feet in a fine layer of sand as I speed-walked.
I was in a hurry, after all. The trade boat had been waiting for me. I looked up into the sky and pondered history in order to pass the time.

According to the common lectures, the last day was four-hundred years ago. Since then, the world as we know it has been in a state of constant night. We don’t know how this is, as the full ball in the sky, along with the many stars visible, implies that the sun still exists. But somehow, all over the world, daylight never came, albeit not directly.
As well as the sun’s absence, other great changes took effect. Most notably, the absence of the very thing I was headed to the trade boat for.

I saw the dim light from the docks. Two people were moving away from the trade boat as a third waited for them. I could hear from a few yards away the third one very inappropriately saying, “So which did you guys get?” out loud. He was promptly shushed by his cohorts.
As I walked past the group, I couldn't help but pick up the harsh scolding that commenced. The one in the middle held a paper bag secure under their arm to protect it from any suspicious peoples lurking about. They tightened their grip on the bag as they passed me, his vision trained on me until I had officially passed the band fellow traders.

The trade boat was a common go-to here on the islands. During most cycles, the boat offers the usual stuff. But on full or new cycles, the boat sells rarer, more high value items.
I was there for something that, though isn’t unheard of on the trade boat during a full cycle, would definitely be unlikely to be there. However, gauging from the of three others on the docks, the trade boat had exactly what I needed.

I stepped onto the docks, approaching the arm that held the boat itself. It was an average sized vessel; it had the luxury of a ramp to board and enter the cabin, as most well off boats of trade have. Along the port and starboard side were a plethora of decorations. Novelty tropic music emanated from the cabin itself, luring me with its charming tones.
I cautiously walked up the ramp, and suddenly felt like kicking myself for not bringing a lookout with me. I looked over my shoulder to check for lurkers before gingerly stepping down into the cabin.

Upon my entrance, I found myself hit with a steep shift in temperature. The luring tunes welcomed me with their aging speakers that hung below the countertop at the far end of the boat’s cabin. The smell was akin to that of a spice den within a mainland city, and brought forth a sweet sense of confidence within myself.

I moved past gadgets and contraptions, novelty rations and caffeinated drinks for the productive, bionic aids and all the other such, and made my way straight to the countertop. The merchant had his face buried in a tome. He lifted his gaze, and clumsily fumbled the book in his hands before putting it below the countertop. I folded my hands and put them onto the counter that was at chest height, making me feel like I was in my youth again.

The merchant’s rugged and oily hair hung down past his blemished and battle torn face. His single remaining eye pierced his dark skin much like the bright ball pieces the sky. His bionic hand tapped the counter, as he was attempting to remember me by my facial features.

I braced myself for when he inevitably would.

His ponderous gaze turned a devious grin. “Well I’ll be damned, if it isn’t Simon, my shrimpy little friend!”
He ruffled my shortened hair, causing my glasses to become crooked. “Hello, Bison.” I said entertaining his attitude. “What’ve you got for me?”

“Oh, don’t kid.” he chuckled before slamming his machine palm into the counter, sending tremors to all its inhabitants. “I know exactly why you’re here.”
I perked up. “Well, do you have it?”
“Oho! You are in luck this cycle!” He taunted.

He moved behind the curtain that led deeper into the boat. This was where seafaring merchants held their more valuable items. All salespeople of the sea kept the universal rule of not letting anyone but themselves and those they trust most beyond the veil of their boat’s cabin.
When he returned, he carried a small satchel. He placed it onto the counter and reached in. My eyes were hungry and impatient as they focused 100% on the satchel.

What he removed was everything I hoped for and more.

“Colors!” Bison exclaimed.

After the last day happened, all color from the world seemingly disappeared along with the sun. Everything became black, white, or a varying shade of gray. However, miraculously, somehow, the colors still existed, but in the form of crystals. Nobody knows why this is or where these crystalline colors came from, but when they were discovered, one thing became readily apparent: each shade of each color on the whole color spectrum, when in crystal form, was able to boost or induce a corresponding emotion. From preferable to unsavory, these emotional crystals are now considered a luxury item, only intended for the rich and wealthy. Some well-off prisons use unsavory colors as punishment for hardened criminals, and luxury spas held thrones forged entirely from an array of differently pleasing colors.

4 color shards sat glowing on the counter. I had only heard of the names of such colors in myth, so I needed Bison’s assistance in identifying them.

“What’s this?” I said, pointing towards a bright and heavily off white shard.
“Yellow.” Bison explained. “The emotion that shade gives off is excitement.”

Without hesitation, I picked it up and felt its effects immediately. It felt exhilarating. I felt restless, like I could run all the way back to my abode on the island. I felt as though I could run laps. I felt productive. I couldn’t stop smiling. The world seemed to go so much slower.

My mouth practically spoke for me. “I’ll take it! What can I give you?”
“Show your inventory,” Bison beckoned, shoveling the other colored shards into the satchel.

I put the shard back down on the counter, returning myself to composure. I came prepared and emptied my travel bag of trinkets and knick-knacks. Bison looked upon the scattered pile, seemingly unimpressed, until he spotted an ancient relic I had picked up a few days prior from an evening of scavenging.
He reached for it and held it up, its upper arm draped over his hand as the lower one hung loose from his grasp. The centerpiece had 3 needles with an outer layer of numbers. The glass layer protecting such a piece had been broken.

Bison itched the inside of his empty eye socket before speaking.
“I know a guy in the mainland who has a ton of relics from the age of sun.” Bison shamelessly boasted. “I bet he’d give me a good bargain for this.”

I hesitated trying to decide what I should do. That very same piece could feed me for a week, but what good is it if it’ll bring me the same monotonous life? I brought my hand to the yellow shard of excitement to help me make my decision.

The rush overtook me once more. “Yes, of course! Take it!” I said, before ripping my hand away from the shard.
Bison shot me the same devious grin he had given me upon arrival.

I walked through the sand. Though I was frightened to be walking in the dark, the shard helped me find the trek back a little more adventurous than usual. It was the same route, but it somehow felt more “exciting.” I was thankful to have the light of the heavenly white ball in the sky to light my way back.

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