It was the kind of dark that makes you stick your hands out to feel the air ahead of you, unfortunately all he could feel was the humidity.  He lifted his head to look at the sky to see if there would be a break in the clouds, allowing the moon to provide relief, but it was so black he couldn’t tell if there was a sky.  Out of instinct he raised his left wrist about 2 feet from his face to check the time, but realized he wouldn’t be able read the hands.

He didn’t know how long he had been waiting for her, but he knew she would be there.  She always showed up.  She provided him stability when life would shake the ground beneath him.  That feeling of confidence in her, he liked it.

He reached into his pocket and grabbed the box of cigarettes.  It was crushed, but still provided enough space for the few that remained.  He grabbed one and brought it to his mouth, not being able to see made him less ashamed of what he was about to do.  He slid the box back into his pocket and pulled out his lighter.  A couple thumb presses and a flame ignited on the top.  The glow was dim, but he was able to make out the clear blue plastic that held the juice powering the flame.  As he lit the cigarette, the dim light showed him a pole sticking out of the ground a few feet away from him.

He took 2 steps towards the pole and slid the lighter back into his pockets.  He needed to alleviate his legs from standing and slowly leaned against the pole.  He felt a cold tingle on his left shoulder as his body acclimated to the pole.  He took a decent puff, which showed water sprinkled up and down the metal surface.  The rain slipped his mind, but in this darkness would any thought have enough light to be remembered?  The wet feeling was pleasing to him, if he couldn’t see the world at least he could feel it.

He thought he heard her coming, so he pulled his watch up to his face.  The faint glow of burning tobacco provided enough shadow to tell him it was time.  He turned to face her as she slowly  became visible.

He always noticed her eyes first.  Bright.  When you locked them you almost had to shield yours.  Next was her smile.  It shined like a mirror catching a ray of the sun.  Then her nose.  Two circles that flared as she moved.  She stood there right in front of him, his rock in a field of quicksand.  Right on time.

“Hey buddy, you going to get on?” The bus driver said as the last passenger grabbed his bike off the front.  He smiled while waiving his ticket, and slowly let her take him into another dark night.


The Embrace of Danger

His eyes shot open as he woke up in a cold sweat. What time was it? Did he oversleep? His mind was going a hundred miles an hour. The first thing he did was roll over to check the time. As he reached out he noticed there was nothing on his nightstand. He felt around, rubbing his hand across the whole top of the table before pulling his hand back.

It was darker than he has ever remembered. His eyes wouldn’t focus so he threw off the sheets and walked to the window. The ground felt cold and hard. What happened to the carpet? When he got to the window he put his hands on the curtains and flung them aside. Darkness. Was the darkness as far as the eye could see, or could he just see nothing because of the dark? Regardless, he was still cold so he walked to his closet.

The door creaked as he opened it. He took a step in but didn’t remember having this much space. He couldn’t see the clothes so he felt them, hanger by hanger. Every shirt was the same, every pant was the same. What was going on? He put on his shirt and pants then headed for the front door. The house seemed different, but it was like he knew how to get out.

When he walked outside he felt a strong sense of danger coming toward him. He couldn’t tell from where, but he knew he had to get away. He headed straight out from the door, and looked back. He could see nothing, the house was either too far away or it was still too dark. The danger started to creep up on him. He could feel where it was coming from. He turned to his left and started walking.

The more he walked the closer it felt so he started running. He was sprinting but it seemed like he was going nowhere. It was almost like running on a treadmill, running at full speed but staying in the same location. He bent down to feel the ground as he moved to see if he was moving, but on his way down he was shoved in the back.

He stood up and looked at what was shoving him. It was a man. The man was pushing him towards the danger. He seemed to be face to face with the man, but couldn’t see any feature. He knew this man, but how? He studied the man further only to see shadows and shades. He didn’t want to fight, so he removed the man’s arms and started walking away from the danger.

He had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. The whole time the man tried to push him in the opposite direction. What did the man want from him? Could he feel the danger? Did the man want him to go to the danger? As these thoughts filled his head he lost focus with the world around him, if he had any focus on it at all. He tripped over something, but couldn’t see anything. He started feeling the ground to find what he tripped over.

It was a woman. He gazed at her, like he did the man. There was something familiar about her. He couldn’t focus on her either, but he could see she was injured. He tried to help the woman to her feet, but she fell down. The danger started growing stronger, and stronger. He didn’t want the woman to feel the danger so he tried to pick her up. He looked to the man for help, but there was no sign of him. He ran away the second they stopped. She was too heavy, or his legs weren’t working properly and he fell to the ground. As he tried to wrap his arms around her again she raised one hand pointing behind him. He turned around to feel a swift force hit him and knock him out.

The room was white. He was in a chair, and he could make out what he was wearing, a white suit tailored just for him. He looked to the left of him, and saw the man sitting next to him. He could make out the man’s face now, it was his boss. Where was he? Why was his boss there? He looked to the left, there was the woman. She was beautiful. He had seen her before, but where? He heard a noise in front of him, and as he looked a screen dropped in front of them.

It was a movie. It started with the boss, in the driver’s seat of a car, waiting on the street for him. The boss pulled out a bottle of vodka and drank it whole. When the boss saw him he threw the bottle on the ground and popped the trunk. He was on the phone with his brother, so he didn’t notice anything while he packed the car. A few minutes into their trip he looked over at his boss. His boss’ head fell forward and arms turned the car the opposite direction on a one way road. They were 25 feet from a group of school children going way too fast. He grabbed the wheel and tried to run the car off the road away from the children. The car swerved towards a cement statue, but there was an elderly man in their path. He was unable to move or stop the car, but before they hit the elderly man the woman pushed him to safety. Unfortunately, she took his place as the car crashed into the statue crushing all three of them.

The screen slowly disappeared and he looked at his boss. His boss was now covered in chains and he saw a sense of hopelessness in his boss’ eyes. He put his hands to his head hoping this wasn’t real, he wasn’t ready to be gone. All he knew was he was now alone in an empty world. He wished he was at his favorite bar enjoying a soccer game, somewhere happy and somewhere he knew.

When he opened his eyes, he was in his favorite bar with his favorite team on the tele. His boss was serving him a drink, chained to the bar. He looked down the bar and saw the woman smiling at him. She remembered him trying to save her from the danger. She stood up and started walking toward him. He may have passed on to a new world, but maybe he wouldn’t be as bad as he thought.