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The City With No Light ~Inspirinq

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avatar Inspirinq
Level 38 : Artisan Sweetheart
270
Centuries ago, hidden deep in the coral reefs of the ocean, a city called Achecia thrived. No one knew of it except for the sea nymphs who lived within the boundaries. The underwater metropolis was hidden in plain sight, built of the sandstone and stone that made up the sea floor. No lights were permitted in the city, as the secret of the community could be jeopardized. That was fine with the residents though. As generations who grew up in the city moved along, the nymphs began to develop fluorescent skin that had cast a dim glow around them, and their eyes were developed to adjust to the murky water.

However, not all nymphs of the city were settled with having no lights. Some protested, stating the city was deep enough into the ocean for light to be permitted. Most of these protesters were children under the age of eighteen. Because of their young age, their eyes were not fully adjusted yet, and their skin was much dimmer than the grown nymphs. Since they were not trusted by their caretakers to wander the utopia without full eyesight, sitting at home was their only option.

Many grew tired of this. One nymph in particular, with the name of Anemone, planned a betrayal against her own kind. At only the age of twelve, she made plans to escape the city. She was tired of being treated like she really was a poisonous plant. Being trapped in her chambers all day until she was eighteen seemed impossibly wasteful. If she could find a way to escape, then why would she have to wait until that moment? She knew fully well her eyes were not fully developed, and she thought she could be the one to change that. If she could swim away and find a light source to bring back to the city, come up with a convincing reason on why they should install lights, and free all of the children under 18 from their prisons at home, the expedition would be worth it.

Determined and fixated on her goals, Anemone worked quickly. She silently praised the sea goddess for allowing windows in the city. Anemone found it strange how no other child had tried to escape through their windows like she was about to do. The only dilemma was she had nothing to break the sealed shut sea glass. The only object potentially heavy enough to break the window was a metal anchor that laid in the corner of her room. It was a family heirloom for generations, and she vowed to take care of it. She only hesitated for a second though before she dragged the anchor to her window. With all the strength she could muster, she hurled the anchor at the window. It broke with ease, and Anemone was free. She once again was thankful, as she had dimmer skin which was not as bright as the adults, therefore less noticeable. Swimming behind buildings and ducking behind boulders, she slowly maneuvered through the city. She occasionally would lose her way though, as her eyes would not be able to recognize some parts of the city. Praying that she wouldn’t knock into someone, she continued on. The murky water was filled with fish and other creatures. She could see the faint glow of fluorescent skin of nymphs going about their day, staying clear of them. The last thing she needed was to be caught.

Finally, Anemone found herself at The Shipwreck. The decayed sail boat marked the entrance to Achecia, where the first generation of the city’s history was born. Legends and folktales told the story about a group of sailors who were caught in a violent storm. Their boat was capsized, and the crew found themselves lost at sea. Many died, but the survivors, with no place to go, scrambled to find their diving gear and plummeted down into the ocean’s water. No one knew why they didn’t just wait to be rescued, or how they survived as long as they did to make Achecia. However, the story stated that the generations after the founders began to adapt and change. Lungs were replaced by gills, skin produced light, and eyes developed the ability to see in the dark.

Anemone took one last look at The Shipwreck and began to swim further away from the city. She continued swimming until she was sure no one would find her. Sighing in relief, she embraced the feeling of being free. She was making her own decisions, and she knew they would pay off in the end. Forcing herself to continue moving forward, Anemone began looking for a light source. Her visually impaired eyes squinted in every direction, trying to decide where to start. Looking up, she saw a faint glow of a lighter blue. Her heart skipped a beat as she began to pump her legs, propelling herself upwards. The light began to expand, and strange rays of light began to shine down on Anemone. She reached out and touched one, but she discovered that her hand went straight though the light source. She furrowed her brow in confusion, unable to piece together how the light was being produced. She had once heard of something called sunlight, but she never knew what it looked like. Everything in Achecia had an eerie blue or green glare to it. She had never seen light so soft and yellow. She continued swimming upwards, occasionally reaching out to try and capture some of the light. She only stopped when a dark shadow made the light vanish from underneath her. It was shaped like an odd oval, and Anemone soon grew fearful. She now realized how close she must be to the surface of the ocean. Her parents had warned her enough of humans to know what could happen to her. She began to dash back down into the water, willing her feet to kick like they never had before.

She heard bubbles and looked back. She noticed her mistake too late, and the net enclosed on her frail body. She yelped and flailed, tugging at the net and trying to free herself. She didn’t realize her vision beginning to pulse white until hot, blinding, and intense light forced her eyes to snap shut. Her whole body protested as cool air hit her form and the sunlight beat down on her. She whimpered and hid her face from whoever occupied the floating structure she was now on. She assumed it was a boat, but her thoughts were interrupted as the lack of water knocked her unconscious.



Back in Achecia, the work day was drawing to an end. Anemone’s Mom had just arrived back home, and her Dad wasn’t far behind. The parents didn’t know Anemone was missing until her Mom called her down for dinner with no response. They waited ten minutes, thinking their daughter was probably just being her stubborn self. They knew full well she was against having to sit in her chambers all day.

“Coral, why don’t you go check on her? Maybe she’s just sleeping,” her Dad said. Coral, her mother, nodded and headed to Anemone’s room. The moment she opened the door to the smashed window, she let out a horrified scream.

“Kai! She’s gone!” Coral screamed for Kai, the father. She began to sob, fearing the worst. Kai raced out into the streets and alerted as many neighbors as he could. He also alerted the city’s marine police, who began a search for the twelve year old. Little did they know she was still stuck in a net.



The fishermen were perplexed by their peculiar catch. The girl looked almost human, but they could see her gills and her pale, slightly green skin. It was the captain of the ship that spoke first.

“Ever heard of that Achecia tale? About the missing sailors who supposedly started some underwater utopia?” The captain proposed to his crew. He had a smug look on his face and the fishermen soon caught on.

“I wonder if this thing is one of them. Just imagine the valuables that place probably holds,” one fisherman said greedily.

“Why don’t we release this thing and see where it goes? Maybe it’ll lead us straight to the riches,” the captain ran his hands together and looked at the rest of his crew for approval.

“Why don’t we get out the emergency gear and give this a try?” the fisherman that hadn’t spoken yet said. The crew dug out their diving gear and some flashlights. They released their weird catch back into the water but kept the net loose around the figure. When it awakens again, they would retract the net and make it look like they were setting it free. What it wouldn’t know though is it was playing right into the fishermen’s trap.



Anemone woke with a start and momentarily forgot where she was. When she realized she was in the water again and not the dreaded surface, she frantically began to swim back down towards Achecia. The net she was entrapped in untangled from her body moments after she awoke like a miracle. Too distracted from her fear and desperation, she didn’t notice two figures that swam closely behind her, following her back to the city.



Since only two diving suits were present on the boat, the captain and one of the fishermen volunteered to follow the human-like creature. They soon discovered its body glowed in the light. Instead of using their flashlights that would surely give them away, they just followed the glow.

The captain smiled to himself as he watched his plan fall into place in front of him.



Anemone was almost back when she first saw a group of people of her kind. Their skin shined brighter than hers, and she could see their expressions because of it. She scanned each face. Some showed fear, and others alarm and panic. Puzzled, she stopped where she was. Two of them broke from the group and cautiously approached Anemone, their eyes fixed on something behind her. She quickly realized the nymphs were her parents, and she hastily whipped up an apology.

“Mom, Dad, I didn’t know, I thought —“

“Anemone! Stop talking. Do you know who you brought back with you?” Anemone’s father hissed at her. She just gave him a look of confusion and misunderstanding.

“I brought back no one,” Anemone stated cautiously, her voice quivering.

Just then, bright lights blinded Anemone and the rest of the nymphs nearby. Anemone screamed as she saw two figures swimming in the water. No! How could they have followed her?

“Dad! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Anemone sobbed and tried to adjust to the bright light. She barely made out the figures - surely the humans from the boat - approaching the hidden city. They shined their bright lights in all of the nymphs’ faces, blinding them. Anemone screamed again as the humans begin to search the buildings. Blinded nymphs run around, helpless and terrified.

“Anemone! What have you done, my child!” Anemone’s Mom wailed. Anemone sobbed harder, knowing that she had been the one responsible for this. All she wanted was some light in the city for the children. Now, Achecia may be destroyed forever, and it was all her fault.

“Anemone! Everyone, listen to me!” Kai yelled over the chaos. “If you can see, I want you to listen!”

Many heads turned and stared at Anemone’s Dad. Anemone, who was finally able to see again, listened in.

“This may be the end of our city. It may even be the end of us,” he began, trying to stay calm and emotionless. “But I don’t want our collections of treasures and valuables to fall into the wrong hands.

“So maybe we can survive this. We could escape with what we can scavenge and renew our kind in a new place,” he proposed. Many heads nodded in agreement. However, the possibility of starting new was short lived.



The captain and fisherman were awestruck. Who ever knew the tale of Achecia was real? They would be rich! Grabbing as much as they could and stuffing it into their rucksacks they carried with them, the pair looted the city.

The captain headed toward what looked like the city’s town hall. It had many stone pillars lining the front, and a garden of coral and seaweed lined a circular pathway. Inside, he spotted something that caught his eye. It looked to be a wooden ship steering wheel. Behind it was what looked to be a metal box. The captain swam towards it, eager to find out what was in the box.

From closer inspection, the wheel looked to actually be made from gold. The captain smiled with greed and began to turn and pry the wheel away from the box. He grunted and continued to pull, and the wheel began to move. With one more good push, the wheel began to turn more freely.

The captain noticed a moment too late that something was up. He heard a faint tick, and the wheel stopped spinning again. It broke off, but the ticking got louder and more rapid. The captain shouted and realized the ticking was a bomb. He scrambled for the exit, but the structure exploded before he escaped, crumbling around him.



“What’s happening?” Anemone yelled, petrified as she watched buildings collapse into the sea floor. She heard the explosion, and watched as the town hall reduced to rubble. The shake of the explosion was powerful, creating a shockwave that caused almost every building of what used to be Achecia crumble to piles of sand and stone. She watched as many of the citizens trapped in buildings and the streets fell dead to the sea floor. Anemone wailed and ran towards them. They were dead because of her. She cried and felt nothing as the building she was next to collapsed on top of her, plunging her into eternal darkness.




Word count: 2327 words

Thank you if you read the whole thing. I know it’s long. xD I hope you like it and if you spot any errors, it would be greatly appreciated if you tell me.

Also, I know this is kind of dark. I didn’t really know how not to make it dark, and I thought this ending suited it. If you liked it, please help me possibly get to the finals. <3

Edit: I don’t know what happened with the spacing. I hopefully fixed that.
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  • mouse36
  • Level 16
  • Journeyman Toast
  • July 20, 2018, 3:41 pm
Eery is Eerie.

I get that you're a dark writer, but this is SO SAD
  • Inspirinq
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Sweetheart
  • July 20, 2018, 4:14 pm
I’m sorry for making it sad xD I couldn’t find a way around their fate ;)
This is really good! Sad, but good! I’m sure you’ll place really high!

I did find a few errors. In the first paragraph, you said “site” when you likely meant “sight.” There are a few placed where periods or commas are missing, and some small spelling errors.

and ok the mom is Coral and the daughter is Anemone that’s like WoF
  • Inspirinq
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Sweetheart
  • July 19, 2018, 7:43 pm
Thank you! I had to copy and paste this from somewhere else where I wrote it, so that might explain the missing periods. xD

Also may I ask what WoF means? x3
Wings of Fire 😄❤️😄
theres a mom named Coral and her daughter is Anemone so
  • Inspirinq
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Sweetheart
  • July 19, 2018, 8:06 pm
Ohh xD I didn’t even realize, that’s really funny! 😂

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