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Afraid of the Night

I was always afraid of the night. Nowadays I had good reason to fear the dark, to dread sleep. The world was ending. It wasn't a virus or nuclear war or anything to do with global warming. In fact, it was nothing made by the hand of men. I know what you're thinking...and no, it wasn't aliens or wrathful gods, either. But it did come from outer space.

A twinkling star very far away began emitting deadly radiation at night. Well, it was nighttime for our hemisphere, daytime on the other side of the world. Point is, you got burned in the starlight unless you were covered up. And even if you were, the radiation still got to you, the way radiation does. Killing you slowly and surely, shortening life spans and giving everyone cancer. You couldn't hide or escape it. It preyed on you as you slept at night unless you were shielded by lead. And there just wasn't enough of that to go around to save the world, baby.

I glanced at the clock. It was late. It was dark outside.

"Are you coming to bed anytime soon?" she asked.

"Yes, dear," I said.

"Are you writing about the end of the world again?"

"No," I lied.

"Are you writing about the dark?"

"Maybe."

"I wish you'd stop. You keep writing nothing but gloom and doom and that stuff will come true, you know.

Bedtime is happy-time. We snuggle and sleep and hold each other."

I sighed and tore myself away from pondering our end, missing the security of a world with infinite tomorrows.

Story by:

Jem A. Jones

submitted at 3:39pm

30 October 2010