Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Dark Flare

By @Mason moon

Chapter 1

Cairo’s family was poor. He used to have a ‘proper family’ with both of his parents and his brother. He wasn’t happy but he wasn’t unhappy either. 

He also didn’t know much about where he came from or where he was living right now. All he knew was that his parents are both from a country called ‘Japan’ and they moved to the states because of his father’s work.   

He had never gotten a toy or friend to play with or book to read and study. What he had was a small house with no air conditioner or boiler, a mom who was always angry or sad about their quality of life, a brother who wandered around all the places bullying kids and stealing money from them and a father who never came home except sunday.

 Cairo’s father was always a mysterious but kind person to him. 

He taught him how to read and write and how to control himself and free himself from the anger. Also he never got angry at Cairo or even at his brother who caused all sorts of troubles. The one time that his father got mad at Cairo was when he got candy from a rich old man. He said that we don’t get anything from others, even a one piece of candy and throw the candy away before Cairo can toss it into his mouth. his father sure was someone with pride. Unless that was the only explanation that young Cairo could come up with when he threw the candy away. 

When Cairo turned 6, his mother disappeared without any notice. He had to shiver because of the cold and darkness alone for 6 days until his father came back at sunday. When he saw his father, he ran to him and hugged him “where is mama?” he screamed “where is she?”. But what his father did was to push him and say “it’s none of your business” but he was crying all over his face. Cairo craved for things that could comfort him but there was nothing. He believed that his mother was kidnapped or something. It was a few years later when he realized that his mother ran away to Japan. 

Soon, he turned 8 and had to go to school. It wasn’t a pleasing experience for Cairo. He felt naked, exposed, unarmed to everything around him. The thing that made him struggle the most was Language. It didn’t take very long for Cairo to realize that nobody in his school spoke Japanese, which was the only language that Cairo knew. That night, Cairo told his Dad to teach him English. What his father said was that he will learn in time. Cairo’s father told Cairo that remembering where he came from is more important.

“If you lose where you came from Cairo, if you lose your mother language, that’s losing a part of yourself. If you feel lost, your origin will guide you.”

It turned out that Cairo’s father was right about ‘learning in time’. Although it was a hard process for Cairo, he managed to do it. Still, he never felt included anywhere. He would not say much in school or talk to kids and when he came back home, there was usually no one. He remembered his father telling about finding origin whenever he felt lost. Origin. It was a tricky word for Cairo. To him Japan wasn’t the place that he lived nor borned. He couldn’t feel any connection to the place where he only encountered through words and pictures.  He just couldn’t trust his father’s words of finding the origin. What was he supposed to do? swim across the ocean? get an airplane? However, he was sure of one thing. He wanted comfort, something he can feel, feel comfortable. Small empty house didn’t accomplish this job well for Cairo. As days passed by, he felt trapped inside a time loop that he can never break free from, he wanted to make a change in his life. 

One day after school, Cairo randomly decided to climb up his little village and look down from the top. His village was built on a steep hill that was nearly part of a giant mountain laying on the backside of his village. As he looked downwards, he saw small filthy houses mushed up together. Most of them seemed highly unstable, even collapsed. Road that went zig zag through small houses was filled with countless trash from the top from the bottom. Suddenly he felt something that never felt before about where he lived. He hated it. He hated seeing the same dirty streets everyday and coming back to a cold empty house. He closed his eyes and stood still feeling wind gently stroking his forehead. He imagined opening eyes and finding himself in a new place. Maybe a big shining city? or maybe even Japan…. Keeping his eyes closed he leaned forwards as if he was going to fall right on his head. He kept leaning forward until his legs couldn’t bear the weight of his head and leaped. Cairo opened his eyes and found himself running in full speed across the small dart road passing through houses and buildings. He didn’t want to stop so he kept running down the hill to the downtown. He kept running, focusing on the wind hitting him as he passed by following his instincts. After running a few more minutes, Cairo finally stopped in front of his school. 

‘after all this, is this where I stop? School? I just came back from there’

he thought furiously. His school was the only place he had ever been downtown. Cairo’s father warned him not to go downtown or wander around there. Cairo had nothing else to trust besides his father so he was always on his everyday pathway to school, never going out of it. However, this time was different. He was trying to find something new wasn’t he? Cairo simply turned back and walked all the way to the top of the hill and started to run again thinking that he would end up in something else, something new. After a few minutes, he found himself standing in front of his school gate. 

‘How? I tried not to end up here’

From that day when school ended Cairo would climb to the top of the hill and start to run where his instincts lead him. He had only one purpose; being free, finding something new. He tried several different roads, he passed several different buildings as he ran over and over again. However, he always found himself in front of his school. How many times he tried he just couldn’t end up somewhere else. After doing this for weeks, he got angry at himself. 

‘What is keeping me from getting out of this place? Or is it because I just can’t think out of the box?’

As he continued he felt like he was the one who was trapped inside a timeroop. Not his school, not his poverty, not his father. Himself. He hated this thought. Still, he kept running because in that few minutes of running, he felt new, he felt free. 

Late afternoon Cairo was running down the hill once more, He passed his neighbors and small houses. He felt like no one could stop him. He wasn’t worrying about bumping into someone or something. His instincts took care of it! How easy is that? At that very moment where he was about to reach the end of his small hill, a giant hand grabbed him from the back. 

“Hey what was that for?”

Cairo turned around still not being able to admit that someone was fast enough to grab him when he was running full speed. 

“You’re not a polite gentleman, are you my dear?”

Deep voice boomed and Cairo looked up to see who just grabbed him. It was tall middle aged men with odd looking eyes; one red, one blue.  

“Let me go, I’m in a hurry!”

Cairo exclaimed.

“Are you? Or do you think you will end up the same as last time?”

The men said with a soft but somehow intimidating voice. 

“What do you mean?”

Cairo asked, finally resting to catch his breath and looking straight up at the men.

“Oh don’t act like you don’t know boy. You got nowhere to be?”

“Were you watching me?”

The men stared at Cairo for a second and started to laugh out loud

“Well, let me ask ya something boy. Have you ever thought of what a nuisance you can be running around every day screaming?”

“I wasn’t screaming!”

“Guess what? you’re doing it right now.”

Cairo just stared at the men with nothing to say. 

“Hey Kid, why don’t you walk instead of running?”


“Walk. That can get you somewhere new. Have you thought of that? Not following yar instincts? You look like an energetic child. Go make some friends downtown”

Cairo was very puzzled at this point. What is this? Who is this man and why is he saying things like this? 

“Who are you and why are you telling me this?”

Cairo asked trying to look confident

“I’m just an old man who finds the…. key to evolution of humanity should I say? Also, I’m a friend of your father. By the way, kid, I just broke your timeroop you realize that?”

Cairo thought about it for a second.

“Guess you just did”

The men just smiled mysteriously.

“Did your father tell you to stay out of downtown? Well, it’s time to make some changes in your life.. What do you say?”

Cairo looked at one last look at the weird old men and walked downtown. He walked slowly looking around where he was going. Soon enough, he ended up in a different place, a new place. A new beginning mabe…. 

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