Short Story: ‘Slow Night’…

Nice night for knocking out a short-story on-the-fly, off-the-cuff and in-the-moment, don’t you think?

I was feeling flash fiction. I was reading a Ray Bradbury interview. Altogether I was inspired to turn aside from other trivial pursuits for 10 minutes to blast out a very short story as an enjoyable writing exercise. No overthinking or processing out or heavy editing or procrastinating or anything else: just typing out a spontaneous tale, simple as.

Here is that very short spontaneous story: a blast of flash fiction called ‘Slow Night’ for your consideration as bedtime reading…

Slow Night

Slow night, he said.

Yes, he agreed.

And it was a slow night. He listened to the electric hum, barely alive but just about there holding up the emptiness. An ocean of ennui that just went on and on through which he would swim without moving a muscle.

To be in waves and feel the currents but yet the waves do not roll or move for the moons aren’t in orbit and the sea is so still. Those were his sensations on the slow night.

Up above the stars seemed to be sleeping. Blanketed by blackness, oh-so-forlorn up beyond the breathless air.

Would they twinkle or glimmer? They did not on the slow night.

Life in slow motion on this slow night.

He was on the watch, but what to watch? Lethargic, he just felt lost and futile on the slow night, uninspired and with nothing to do but maintain a watch where there was nothing to watch. He was listless, but yet no anxiety accompanied his languor. A strange peace flowed through tired joints, nerves, his biological machinery. The resigned malaise of being a man in slow motion on a slow night on the watch over the fields.

No crackles. No charges, surges or sparks. The fields rested lightless, the infinite coils comatose. The plant seemed abandoned but he knew that what it was not as it seemed on the slow night. Life was sleeping beneath the distant dome, dimmed to post-twilight setting. Energy-saving. Everything energy-saving and in hibernation state on the slow night.

All life around was sleeping. He was sure it was sleeping. He was sure all was asleep except himself.

Nothing except himself alive and awake and aware and holding on in spite of the slowness of the slow, slow night.

No transit tubes travelling. No discharges or flares crackling out of the generator fields. Just the soft electric hum, a prolonged pause. Just the languid slumbering stars. Just the distant dome of low lustre.

Just him. Slow night, he said.

Yes, he agreed in reply. A reply to himself, the slow night finally slowing him to a stop. His watch ended with a soft fading drift scored to the paused electric hum. Eyes closing, function halting and everything ceasing to be awash in the emptiness and entropy of the slow night.

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