After my wife having read my last Night Flights story, I can say I haven't been flying so high. The engine noises have been replaced by some sort of low growl, my stretching out restricted by knees in my back. I hope to fly again, but maybe by charter instead.
The night drips around me in liquid satin, a perfect black. I can taste its velvety texture, hear its thrumming silence, sense the still. The pause before the final breath, the hush before the breaking storm, darkness slips its fingers around my throat and squeezes with the subtle kindness of a misplaced love. I am choking. I want more.
Waking to dust mites caught in a single beam of gold, I wave the day away. Take me back, I whisper. Let me go. But the sun will not relinquish me; it never does. I pull up the covers and wait.
When you arrive all bloodshot eyes and scimitar smile, the darkness comes with you. This is your world, your eternity, and as I reveal the outline of my eager neck, I dream of it being mine too. I wait. You nod. It is.
The light drew back like a luminous tide, a flowing, undulating glow receding into endless night. The darkness pinched at light’s essence with the stubborn determination of mosquitos seeking blood. Light resisted, but not for long. I watched as the last of everything that ever had, was or would be pinged out of existence like a switched off bulb. All was dark. Nothing was everywhere and everything was nothing. Yet, where some would have despaired, I stayed strong. Moving as though through deepest ocean, I reached into the pocket I could not see, withdrew my salvation, shaking the matches as if their rattling would prove myself still alive, then lit one. In a blaze of new creation, light returned and the whole process began again. Not ideal, I know, but one way to break the oblivion.
Two in the morning and I still can’t sleep. The night stands silent bereft of even cicadas. Everything is still. My bedside alarm blinks in slow motion illuminating a small, green patch of table, then flicks to darkness. When it flicks back, you’re there. You’re always there bathed in green.
Midnight in the garden and the slugs wage war. An army of camouflaged assassins are taking bites out of the flowers with a reckless disregard for their longevity. A solitary snail stands guard over his patch of Eden, one Spartan against Xerxes’ horde. I don’t fancy his chances.
The battle is long taking its toll on both parties. Never has the midnight garden seen such intent, such vicious teeth-baring, such flaring from stalked eyes. Even the owl who nests in the great oak that backs onto the cemetery keeps his distance. He is wise, but not as brave as I thought.
Morning is almost upon us. The first tangerine glints of dawn flicker on the horizon. Flowers are waking in the colours of the earth, weeds, too. The owl is asleep. Our snail stands proud, undefeated, the greatest warrior the garden has ever known. The slugs will reach him soon.
Shadows in the night
Lost to a greater darkness
Were we ever here
Souls drawn away in the chill
Watching midnight ghosts
Twisted nocturnal visions
Sleep an unwelcome friend
Author’s Note: When my headaches won’t go, I like to imagine myself in a quiet place. This was the result whilst sat drinking my coffee. I hope you enjoy.
Endless, the valleys of the Moon stretched out before me in bone-white ridges. As always, the stars beamed through the punctured night like endless celestial spotlights; I tugged up my scarf and walked on.
On good nights when the air was clearest, the heavens shone in polished ebony like perfect Nubian skin; the darkness gleamed brighter than light. I thought that odd that midnight proved brighter than midday, but, of course, memory may have deceived me.
The valley opened out like an estuary of rock rippling away into the cosmos. If not for the oxygen being pumped through my weakling form, I’d have choked, or wept, or both.
The beauty of it all hadn’t hit home until now, the sheer magnificent loneliness of it all. The fact this was Earth, not the Moon, rolled over my consciousness like a cold compress to a fevered brow. I wiped my eyes and trudged on. There had to be someone else left, didn’t there? Didn’t there!