That autumn day, a little boy named Lorka was playing alone in an old park. The world around him was golden. Golden, but only from a poetic point of view because gold, rolled in a sheet as thin as a fallen leaf, looks pink or even green when held up to the light.

The park was full of sunlight and silence. Few people were here today because the day itself was special, there was a rare cosmic event to be witnessed and it couldn’t be witnessed from the park from under the canopy of ancient tree crowns... Lorka didn’t care about them yet, so he did what he liked best: ran to and fro crushing and chasing the dry leaves with only a careless wind to keep him company…

Lorka stopped dead mid-run, fell silent mid-scream when the darkness fell to the earth like a giant bird. The boy raised his eyes, searching for the sun, and saw that the sun was no longer there. There was a black disc in its place, a hole in the sudden, untimely darkness, crowned with a blinding halo.

It was no night. Nights were the time when cosy, yellow lanterns shone and the lanterns were cold and dark now.

“Eclipse…” Lorka whispered. “It must be the eclipse all the grown-ups were talking about!”

A distant howl shook the air; winded shadows fluttered in the tree crowns as long, leaping creatures chased them. Then something rustled in the fallen leaves, approaching…

It was too much for Lorka. He bolted, scared breathless, like a little animal. He had no idea where he ran to, where a safe place could be, he just ran, away, away from the hungry monsters that he knew were after him.

The world seemed empty, humanless and not in the way the empty golden park was. The boy had a keen, cold feeling that he was alone in this world. He heard noises behind him; those things in the darkness were panting, howling, rustling, and they were getting closer.

Then Lorka stumbled - he felt his heart stop in terror when it happened - and fell headfirst into a pile of dry leaves…

Lorka’s parents prepared for the eclipse well: they chose a good site with a view and took proper sunglasses with them, extra dark, with maximum UV protection. The eclipse was gorgeous! Later, when the golden sunlight was back once again, they went to look for their son who, as they noticed, had ran away. They found the boy in the park, curled up in a pile of dry leaves like a stray kitten.

His hair was white. Pure winter snow upon the autumn gold.

They will tell him that nothing special had happened, that it was just a brief moment when the Moon blocked the light while passing in front of the sun; that the howling monster he heard was in fact just a lost dog missing her owner; that the winged creatures were just scared pigeons… They will tell all that to the boy whose hair turned white; to the boy who saw the worlds collide; to the boy who survived the true Eclipse.

Thousands of years ago, priests of the Moon used to say that the true Eclipse happens only for those who meet it alone.

(September 30, 2003)

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English is not my native language.
If you see an error or a typo, please, tell me. I will fix it.