Sunset on the City

Author: Mark Joseph Kevlock

Solinsky sat upon the mountaintop and watched his hometown die. As the sun set at his back, the farthest outskirts of the city fell into shadow first. Solinsky had his telescope trained there, upon the edge of town. He gasped to see the first of them fall.

A young boy and his father both collapsed, there in a backyard. An old woman fell dead crossing the street. Lovers on a front porch glider intertwined in an unnatural embrace.

They all needed the sun to live. The rays gave them energy, vitality, existence. The instant the sunlight ceased to touch their skin, they all fell away dead.

The curtain of descending shadow widened to encompass a local bar, a pool hall, a diner. Bodies collapsed. The tomb grew wider. Solinsky could not look away.

Cars struck curbs. One took out a fire hydrant. No shower of water could awaken these corpses. From end to end, citizens succumbed. No one, not even pets, survived the coming of night.

The sun had been their only fuel, it seemed.

Solinsky wept. Then he put down his telescope to go take a closer look at the tragedy. He hopped in his car and raced down the dark side of the mountain, toward what little light was left.

They couldn’t help it. Oh, they just couldn’t stop themselves from dying. Maybe if they had been built differently… But they weren’t. They were as God had made them.

With Saul Solinsky’s aid.

He ran down the center of Maple Street — the only place still touched by the life-giving rays. A little girl — a stranger — ran to greet him. Solinsky held her tight against his chest. The light passed over them. She died. He read no accusation in her final expression, just… discontinuation. Shut off from the good things of life before she’d begun.

“This isn’t right!” Solinsky screamed. “I did the best I could! How could I remember everything? It was so long ago! So long…”

The town was only bodies now, littering the streets. Solinsky turned away. Already the sweepers came: gigantic mechanical arms descending from flying saucers, lifting the corpses clear like bowling pins to be reset in an alley. By the time Solinsky got back to his mountaintop factory, all ten thousand models had been assembled again in endless rows before him. He performed some quick calculations in his head. Then he sighed. There was nothing to do except put them back… and try again tomorrow.

4 Comments

  1. xdhz8

    Saul’s creations are too dependent on Sol it seems. Mysterious and emotive.

  2. JH

    Quite disconcerting…and strange.

  3. Hari Navarro

    Really enjoyed this. It took me a few readthroughs but then I am very slow on the uptake.

  4. Jae

    Now that’s intriguing and nicely done.

Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Random Story :

  • Exchange

    Annabelle could have gotten stapled, pumped, sucked and tucked, but …

The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member

Submissions

We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

Voices of Tomorrow

Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.

If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact ssmith@365tomorrows.com