Monday, February 05, 2007

Every evening, and late at night, just as she was going to bed, alone since her husband had left her, which was not a bad thing (and often it isn't) the light would come on. A golden light that flickered through the window in the apartment across from hers; a fitful luminescence that suggested creation, possessed some formative, primeval vitality.

After some weeks of this, and being moderately curious (and moderately drunk) she decided she had to investigate. After all this was a new time for her, living alone, enjoying it at last, and realizing what her friends had always told her: she really was better off without him. And thank Christ for that.

The window was scarred with paint, offering only a partial view of the room beyond. She had to get up close to have a look. Closer than she would have normally liked, but it was late, and there was no one to see her, and the light was a glowing invitation and a delicious mystery, and there was half a bottle of champagne in her, so she walked right up to the glass.

Her fingers brushed the rough brick that bordered the window, sliding to the windowpane, but still she could not see the light's source. No regular bulb that was for sure, nor a flickering fluorescent tube, the light too warm. She pressed her face against the glass, peered through the smears of greasy paint, and cut her finger on the sharp edge of the window frame. She whispered a curse, and brought her bleeding finger to her lips. But now she was close enough to see.

A man sat in there alone, watching the sunrise on television, running the image back and forth, playing then rewinding, playing then rewinding.

She brought her fingers back against the glass, and her blood smeared its surface. She blinked, the room was empty, just the sun rising upon the screen.

On the other side of the building, a door opened, and something made a sound like wings, or old bones, or the too swift shuffling of rough boots, coming close, rushing, rushing, predatory and not even bothering with stealth.

And in that moment, one way or another, she knew that was the last sunrise she would ever see.

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