It's so dark!

The camp had been set and a nice meal was being shared by all before bedding down in the wilderness for the night. Kebi Dabu was smiling broadly and bouncing up and down on his stump seat as he chewed his meal when, as it often happens, the light on the top of his staff went out.

With a look of sudden dread Kebi stopped bouncing and screamed "Light!" while pointing at the top of the staff crooked in his other arm. A small white light again shone from the top of his staff and, after a sigh of relief, he resumed his giddy bouncing and eating.

Although this was quite common, it was only a matter of time before someone had to ask…

Dashiell spoke up, "Umm…you know we have a fire right next to you, right?"

"Yep" came the high-pitched reply.

"So what's with the light?" Dashiell continued.

With his face suddenly going very serious and taking on a matter of fact tone, "It's to keep away the darkness."

Now drawn in and curious as ever, Lysandros spoke, "But the fire is giving off plenty of light. What more good can the light you have do?"

"Well…" Kebi began, "Sometimes there are places and positions that you find yourself where having fire as light just doesn't work. Fire burns you know…" and at that his face grew solemn as he absently rubbed his right hip and thigh.

Feeling there was more to it than that Lysandros continued, "Like what kind of positions?"

Looking off into the darkness past the camp it was a moment before Kebi spoke, "Like The Box."

"The Box? What box?" Dashiell quickly asked.

Kebi was still staring into the darkness as he continued in an unusually normal sounding voice, "It's the box they put you when you are bad. Or when they just want to hurt you. Sometimes it's for just a few hours. But sometimes, it's for days. It's so small you can barely fit."

His voice now a little shaky he continued, "Before an hour is through your neck starts to cramp. Sometimes when the guards are bored they will hold a torch to the side of The Box, heating the metal so much that it burns your skin. But you can't move to stop it or get away. When they pass by they bang on The Box so hard that the sound makes your head feel like it's going to explode. After a day or so, you usually can't tell how long exactly, you have nothing to keep you company but the stench of your own excrement."

Still staring into the darkness his voice took on a fearful tone, "… But it's the darkness that's the worst."

A teardrop slid down his cheek as the fire crackled and popped in the night.

Bagheera slid back into the camp just then, still in panther form after his time out scouting and hunting, and caught the attention of Kebi.

"Kitty!" he squealed, and ran over to give him a big hug and started scratching him behind the ears.

Bagheera, somehow taken by surprise at this now common occurrence, rolled his eyes and flopped down by the fire.

Everyone else laughed of course. But as the laughter died off, they couldn't help thinking about what their strange companion had said and what he may have gone through in his past.

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