by Martina Bexte
When the lights hiding under the fractured clouds first appeared, Dimity and the whole town rushed outside to watch.
“Just the full moon,” old man Peabody said.
“Aurora Borealis,” Shirley Wilson, the science teacher, maintained.
“Not this far south,” her husband Myron pointed out.
“It’s the end of the world…end of the world!” a child cried with glee, and everyone laughed.
Dimity tried looking away; such flickering brightness often triggered migraines. But she was hypnotized. Within moments, the pain began burrowing behind her right eye and she cringed, waiting for the aura, or blind spot, to come next.
Two days she lay in bed, blinds drawn, blankets over her head and her family tiptoeing around her. Another appointment with the specialist would tell her why she was getting worse and why certain flickering lights sometimes induced a catatonic state. Her husband wanted to drive her but Dimity told him to stay and help his dad bring in his crops.
Dimity was driving back from the city late after shopping and dinner with her sister when the lights returned. They flickered behind the pines, invaded her fractured brain, shutting it down. Hours later, she struggled from her stalled car and began walking the narrow ribbon of highway toward home. She ignored her throbbing head as utter darkness and eerie stillness tightened its cloak around her as she remembered a child’s voice crying… “end of the world…end of the world....”