by Melanie Odhner
There was always something there, she reasoned. We must see something when we look at the dark, or it wouldn't scare us so much.
She stood barefoot on a cold street. At her home, in her element, the pavement was always warm from the last rubber tires to crush against it.
There, the world was not a spectrum between what she could barely see and what she could not. In the city there was light and there was darkness, noise and pale, empty sky. No one could quite be trusted, but everyone knew that, and readily forgave. Here, grudges were held. The sky was lit with reminders.
Real light here was rare, and real darkness only meant there was something to fear. Right now, real darkness was everywhere. It lived and surrounded her on this pathetic, two-lane street.
At home, light would have come to rescue her.
Safety was the tiny buzz that meant civilization. She thought of it rising into the whir of a motor, then fading back into the under-noise, or getting louder until it stung her ears and morphed into a series of clicks too fast and painful to be rhythmic. Then it turned a corner and was heading toward her. Here in her imaginary city world, two small lit orbs could streak and blind enough to fill her seen world.
She snapped out of her trance and started running toward the edge of the road. Something was there.