Friday Night Folktales – The Day the Sun Stopped Shining

by Bruce A. Smith

When I awoke, it had already happened.  Getting out of bed at my usual time, 7 a.m., I felt as I often did – groggy.  But I heard people outside my opened window and that cleared my head pretty fast.  Looking out, I saw my best friend Jamie poking his nose in the blackberry bushes underneath my window.

 “Whatcha doing, Jamie?” I asked.

 “Hey Bruce, you’ve got to come down here.  It’s weird,” Jamie replied.

 “What’s weird?  What’s going on?” 

 My next-door neighbors were standing in their yard, too, checking out their roses and vegetable garden, along with their blackberry bushes, so I asked a second question, “Hey Jamie, how come everybody’s outside?”

 “The sun’s weird, Bruce, and all the bushes and stuff.  Everybody’s checking it out.  C’mon down, will ya,” Jamie said. 

 “Whaddaya mean the sun’s weird?  Is that how come the sky looks funny?  It looks like it’s gonna rain or something.”

 “I think the sun stopped shining.  You can see some of the stars and the moon, but the bushes and grass are glowing, like this blackberry bush right here.” 

 I could see a white, hazy glow coming from the branches below me.

 “Why’s it got that white stuff, Jamie?”

 “I don’t know, but everything’s got it.  See for yourself, c’mon.”

 Getting dressed faster than I open Christmas presents, I ran down to the first floor, out the door, and around to the side of the house.  Jamie was still there looking at the blackberries and munching a few, too, in their September ripeness.

 “It’s like smoking or something,” I said, fingering the leaves of the blackberry bush, watching them give off a continuous stream of white puffy vapor.  “And the sun stopped shinning?  How do you know, can you see anything?”

 “You can’t see it exactly Bruce, but you can see the black circle of what’s left.”

 “Where?” I asked, twisting and looking toward the sky.

 “You have to go down to the street corner where there are no trees around so you can see the whole sky.  I’ll show ya – c’mon, let’s go.” 

 We ran down the block and joined the dozen people standing in the middle of Chester Avenue.  Looking in the direction people were pointing, it was easy to see the sun.  Instead of the bright yellow ball that would sting your eyes if you looked at it for more than a split second, I saw a jet-black circle clearly visible against a grey-black curtain filled faintly with stars.

 “Wow, Jamie, this is really cool.  Does this mean we don’t have to go to school today?”

 “Bruce, I don’t think anybody is going anywhere today,” Jamie said, nodding in the direction of the adults clustered in the intersection of Chester and Jefferson Place, Jamie’s and my home street.  Jamie was right; Chester Avenue was usually a busy street.  Nobody was going anywhere.

 “How are we going to see without the sun?” I asked, a note of anxiety creeping into my voice.  “How are we going to stay warm?”

 “I don’t know,” Jamie responded, “but I think something funny is happening with the plants.  They’re glowing, and I think that’s why we can see right now.”

 I looked around.  Every tree, bush, and blade of grass was emanating a white mist.  This vapor rose in the air and then thinned-out, but it gave off a glow like moonlight, or a car’s headlights shining into a fog bank.  It was a warm, cozy kind of light, and I agreed with Jamie’s assessment that this glow enabled us to see.

 Everyone else must have been asking the same questions because our whole neighborhood was out, roaming the streets and checking out the glowing landscape.  My mom headed toward us from the other end of Jefferson Place.

 “Bruce,” she shouted, running toward Jamie and me, giving us a big three-way hug when she arrived.

 “Oh, Bruce… Jamie,” she cooed.  She began to cry.  I began to tear up too, but I wasn’t sure why.

 “What’s going to happen, Mom?” I asked.

 “I don’t know, Bruce.  I just don’t know.” 

 I began to feel scared because my mom felt scared, but down deep I knew everything would be okay.  And it was, as you now know.

 Jamie and I didn’t have to go to school for three and a half weeks.  During the vacation, Jamie would come over to my house and my mom would cook breakfast.  Sometimes she cooked oatmeal, sometimes scrambled eggs, but mostly it was hamburgers.  My mom was shaken by the sun changes, but in a nice-kind-of-way since I liked hamburgers.

 After breakfast we watched TV, and found out the latest developments in the “Earth Changes,” as the phenomenon was called.

 We learned that the sun stopped shining because it lost the critical mass necessary for the thermonuclear reactions that split the helium atoms into hydrogen, releasing sunlight and heat.  The scientists speculated that our sun did not go nova and shrink into a red dwarf as other stellar masses do, because the gravitational forces of the planets were too weak to pull the sun’s matter out, and the sun’s own boron-based gravitational mass was sufficient to counteract the explosive force that normally resulted in a nova flare up.  As a result, our sun is now known as a Boron Star.

 We also learned that the sun “turned-off” in less than four seconds at 8:10 pm, Eastern Daylight Savings Time.  Our sun had been bopping right along, and then in the wink of an eye it lost the momentum to split any more atoms.

 Not only did we lose sunlight and heat, but we also lost all solar radiation.  That meant the earth was no longer bombarded by gamma rays.  Those rays are tough little guys that normally go right through the earth, but when the sun shut down they stopped coming, allowing the earth’s molten core to release highly volatile isotopes of iron oxide.

 These iron oxides reacted with molecules of fluorine gas suspended in the molten core to produce strange gases never seen before, called Gaseous Fluorinated Acetone Hydrocarbons (GFAH).  These gases quickly seeped up into the ground, and when they hit the water in the surface soil they reacted and produced Fluoro-Oxygenated Gas, which glows, and now gives us all the light we need.  The vast amount of water in plants explained why on Day One we saw the glowing effects so prominently in bushes and trees.

 We learned all this day-by-day as the scientists relayed their findings, and my mom took Jamie and me down to the ocean at Jones Beach to see the fluoro phenomenon big-time.  With all that water, the oceans lit up like a giant bowl of phosphorescent jelly, and that’s how the light got its nickname, “floss light”.  The light reminded many people of fireflies or the phosphorescent algae that glow in tropical waters, but since the glow was off-white like dental floss and not the phosphorescent yellow-green of fireflies, everyone called the new light, “floss light.”

 As the months passed we learned more about floss light.  Fortunately, it also produced heat.  When the fluoro-acetone hydrocarbons (FAH) came in contact with water, the reaction gave off little bits of heat, and with so much FAH reacting in the oceans worldwide temperatures stayed summer-like year ‘round.  Not only was the air warm but so was the water, which meant Jamie and I could go swimming in his pool all year long, even Christmas day.  Unfortunately, it didn’t snow anymore, and that caused all kinds of other phenomena to occur besides not getting any snow days off from school in the winter.

 As the oceans warmed, they expanded, flooding beaches world-wide.  But, with the increase of heat from the oceans, the rate of evaporation of its water increased as well, creating enormously thick cloud cover.  With much of the oceans turning into clouds, the ocean level returned to normal, and then sank another hundred feet further.  My mom took Jamie and me back to the ocean to see how far it had receded.  At our favorite swimming spot, parking lot 6 at Jones Beach, we now had to walk four-hundred yards further to reach the water’s edge.

 Every few months it seemed another Earth Change happened. 

 After about a year, with the release of heat from the world’s oceans and the insulation effect from the clouds, temperatures warmed globally, melting the polar ice caps.  That flooded the oceans again and everybody got worried.  Nobody could predict what was going to happen next. 

 Most people living near the ocean moved inland.  Parts of New York City became a ghost town because the subways flooded out, while basements, homes, and apartment buildings became immersed in water. Brooklyn and Queens, most of which was at the old sea level, was hardest hit.  My family and I lived on Long Island, but we were 55 feet above the old sea level, so we had a little time to decide what to do before we got flooded, too.

 While we were figuring out where we should move, along with millions of other people pondering the same question, the rate of sea-level rise slowed and then stopped.  The polar ice caps were still melting, but the rate of evaporation increased, which countered the sea-level rise.  This gave us time to join with my Aunt Teddy and Uncle Bunny in Sharon, Massachusetts and all of us relocated to Squam Lake in New Hampshire.  At the same time, Jamie went with his family to live with his cousin in Ashford, Washington. 

 Although slowed, the oceans were still coming up.  But more importantly, over time most of the new water evaporated and merged with the thick atmospheric vapor.  As a result, the cloud cover around the globe became completely contiguous, and by 2013 – the second anniversary of the sun blinking out – clear blue skies were but a memory.

 The new global cloud cover caused not only a great amount of rain, but it acted as a giant mirror to the floss-light.   Floss light bounced back and forth between clouds so much that it actually got very bright.  It glowed 24/7, and it has never gotten dark since.

 When the floss-light began bouncing around and intensifying, we realized that the FAH also activates air moisture electro-magnetically.  Thus, the air became “alive” in a way that we had never seen before.  Our skin began to tingle pleasantly, acne and psoriasis became a thing of the past, and everybody felt invigorated.

 Intrigued, scientists labored to harness this charged-air phenomenon.  One major project was to place large quartz crystals around urban centers to amplify the ionization, and mirrors to focus the ions into a beam much like a laser.  These beams could then be used as highways that electromagnetic vehicles could ride upon, much like a monorail rides on an elevated rail line.  These “electrical beam highways” were invented just in time, too, because air pollution got really severe once the cloud cover became complete in 2013.

 These “beamers,” as the cars and buses that rode the electrical beams were called, used pulsed-electromagnets to move themselves along the beam, much as a nerve impulse moves in the human body.  The beamers could theoretically move at tens-of-thousands of miles per hour, which is faster than most people can withstand, but with anti-gravitational suits we can now travel anywhere in the world in a matter of a few hours.

 After a year of no-sun, our bodies began changing, particularly our skin color.  Without solar ultra-violet radiation, the keratin pigments reacted differently to the ionization in the air, or turned off all together.  The change in white-skinned Caucasians was noticed first as they became completely black.  The second change was noticed by Asian people, whose skin turn a soft shade of lavender, and their hair became a velvety yellow.  Those of African heritage, whose skin was brown or black, remained relatively unchanged.  Except for secondary racial characteristics, “old” blacks and “new” blacks became virtually indistinguishable.

So, to those of you who have been living on the other side of the “time block” let me say this: the earth changes have been extraordinary and for most people beneficial.  So, come and join us in 2041.  The water’s fine – high 80’s year ’round, anywhere you go.

 Author’s note:

Although some people consider this story to be charming piece of science fiction, it is actually an historical account of what happened to our sun thirty years ago, on September 27, 2011.  Those of us in 2041 consider people who feel it is somewhere in the 1990s or early 2000s to be in a “time block,” meaning, we believe these folks do not accept what happened in 2011 and thus blocked out the reality of it.

 My fellow storytellers of 2041 and I tell our tales about the sun in order to help people feel more comfortable with the new reality.  We know that hearing these stories helps the time-block people release their fears, allowing them to join the rest of us in 2041.  In any regard, our mutual experiences certainly show the vital link between consciousness and reality, and the fluidity of time.

 ©  2041 Bruce A. Smith

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