testing the darkness

“And when the end of the world comes, will this undersized planet go up in flames like a dying star, or will we hardly have time to blink before it’s over?”

The steps are too rough for her bare feet. She sits on them anyway, resting her hands against the weed-ridden concrete and smiling as night clings gray and cold to her fingers. Hungry moths dart in the edges of her vision, but her half-closed eyes are following the lone headlights of some midnight traveler.

“Will we go out with a whoosh,”—she tosses her hands into the air, testing the darkness—“and leave the rest of the universe a little quieter, or will every layer of creation go slipping through the tiny hole left by our absence?”

Is she touching the sky? Her face is wet and pale and sweating in the heat of the moonlight. She stands, swaying, and listens in transfixed silence as the night wraps close around her shoulders.

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