Author: Alzo David-West

And the midnight air is hall’d,
all the people turning cold,
shadows storming in a stare,
something’s coming, drifting near.

* * *

Ocular atoms detonated in a scream from a lonely girl’s eyes. An android woman and a little dog disintegrated like embers in the black night. The girl ran down a dark, ramshackle road in the rustic place. It was such a secluded, outland area, with crows, foxes, and stoats, no one was aware what was happening. She ran to the weathered, eroded stairs of a miniature, furrowed mountain overlooking a solemnity of memorial stones. The heat-glow of her eyes was emanating. They always stayed hot for a while. She went up the stairs and tripped, but then she got up again, half way up to a small portal through a tangle of shrubs and bramble, which led to a hidden, bare grove. She had been there a few times before, within the hollows, where she reflected with the reeds, the leaves, and the decayed things, but not with the mosquitoes, which she hated. They kept away when her eyes were burning.

As she walked over skirmishes of tree roots and catastrophes of broken branches under her illumination, her insides felt weird, like a vacant wrenching, and a sensation of nausea came, so she put her fingers down her throat and began to purge herself. After some minutes in the forest hall, she thought she had cleaned out whatever it was that was hurting there. But then her hands began to shiver. She felt weaker, and she lay down on the stubble-ground. The android woman and the little dog flashed, like mercury, in her mind. She didn’t really mean to kill them, did she? She turned her face into the grove sand, massaging the black earth and the mulch leaves in her high-school girl hands, sliding in the spaces between birth and death; a solitary cricket trilled in the solitude.

In the morning, the grove haze quenched the golden blaze, which transuded through cedar trees, mutating into something that was neither dusk nor day.