APROXM: SHORT STORY

UNDER COVER OF NIGHT

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The following story is a very old writing class assignment. It's of little merit--really just about getting the white boy shakes in the dark, but it did allow me to remember a long forgotten morning. Also, lol... "amongst"...

Blankets were strewn around across the bed in a haphazard mess. Pillows found themselves scattered amongst the blanketed wasteland. Nearby, a fan whirred softly, unaware of the figure lying within the madness taking place atop the mattress. This figure was trapped in an endless loop of sleeping for but an hour, followed by an unwelcome awakening, and then another rest again until the inevitable. This figure could be no one else but the spitting image of myself one particular morning hailing from so many months ago. The end of Sunday night heralded the coming senior year of high school, and I was as unenthused to return as I was to sleep.

Lifting my dizzy frame from perpetual slumber and awakening, I checked my phone to find that it was only 4 AM: a solid three hours before a yellow and black caravan would come to rip me from my home and stick me in an institution of boredom for far too long. I carefully considered my options: there was the choice of nesting my body within the confines of pillow and blanket once more in a feeble attempt to garner sleep or I could try to force myself out of bed and assume some sort of activity to last a few hours. After much deliberation, I secured the second option for my decision as I dipped my body and fell out of bed. Smacking the floor, I came face to face with some rather frayed tennis shoes, and suddenly, an idea began to surface: why not depart on a leisurely walk in the dark through the nearby park and observe a romantic sunrise? There were worse ideas, I suppose, and so I equipped myself with the worn out tennis shoes as well as a pair of earbuds and my iPod, and thus, my journey began.

Stepping out of the house, I was immediately slapped with regret as I realized just how much *darkness* blanketed the world at 4 AM. Hesitant, I kicked my feet around until forcing myself to descend the patio stairs and brave the ever-expanding blackness around me. Following a trail of spotty streetlamps, I journeyed past the neighborhood and onto the asphalt path that I had taken many times before to access the park, only to realize that the faint light of streetlamps did not exist on the road I was to take. I shrugged and ignored the inherent danger, flipping my iPod's brightness to maximum and putting on some now-forgettable beats. This method of illumination proved fruitless, however, as the iPod was only capable of displaying a shallow puddle of light--a light so useless that it may as well not be used at all. Tunes were quickly stopped as well as anxiety racked my brain and I became hyper-aware of the surrounding animal noises and crunching of leaves.

Indeed, I must have experienced envisioning of things that simply weren't there, but I spied into bushes, trees, and thickets and found nothing but golden yellow, beady eyes peering back into my own. A slow, leisurely walk slowly grew into a steady pace as I hurried to make my way to the park, all the while cursing the moon for deciding upon being new and the sun for deciding to take its free time. Under normal conditions, animal noises simply are a part of the background of nature, but during times of stress and fear, these noises became the backdrop of what I assumed to be my impending doom.

Upon reached the end of the asphalt road, I took a moment to collect myself and remember that the goal was now well within grasp. I would soon arrive at the park's backway entrance, and from there I could reach the soccer fields, which is where a good amount of tables and chairs would play host to myself so that I may view the sunrise. But the thick veil of darkness still permeated my vision, and it would certainly be a trek filled with even more anxiety. This prophecy proved true as, within my first few steps inside the park, a howl stretched out across the land, freezing me in place.

Shit. I was simply unable to discern whether or not the howl originated from a dog, a coyote, or perhaps something worse. I was able to discern one distinctive fact from the situation, however: do not head in the direction of the howl. Brushing aside the pangs of fear that rose up inside me, commanding me to return from whence I came, I forged an alternate path through the park, away from the source of the howls. As I walked, more howls filled the air, followed by intermittent barks. My skin grew cold as I felt sweat form and hairs raise. Perhaps seeing more visions, I swear I could make out the figures of dogs out in the distance, all with their heads snapped to attention towards me. Glowing yellow, beady eyes met with mine, or so I believed.

Steady walking became a brisk jog as nervousness took full control of my sensibilities. I hurried under a parking lot that was shrouded by overhanging tree limbs and maintained my pace, focused completely on escaping threats in the dark. As I ran, I felt as if the wild animals were right behind me, steadily catching up and readying themselves to pounce. I grit my teeth and burst into an all out dash, afraid of the dangers manifesting in my mind. Concrete became dirt and dirt became rocks as I rushed all over the park attempting to discover the soccer field of my dreams. Sweat rushed down my forehead, a reminder that doom was creeping closer and closer on four legs.

As if fate had correctly coincided with my mad dash, the sun began allowing the color of blue to begin its assault on the skies above. No rays of light, but my vision became clear as my throat clenched itself tight. Hurriedly coming to a stop, I spun around, ready to fend off a pack of anything using just my two fists, knowing full well that I wouldn't last a second.

But there was nothing there.

There was a pause as sweat continued to bead along my chin and breaths drew forth heavily. I scanned the area now growing with light, licking my lips and wiping my brow, and I sighed the heaviest sigh I was possibly capable of. Straightening my back, I turned right around and headed towards the soccer field well within my grasp.

Taking a glance at one of the metallic benches lining the soccer fields, I remarked that the seats appeared moist with condensation. I laid my jacket across the seat and took my place to watch the growing sun emerge from the far-off distant tree tops, and in that moment, everything had been worth it. The night chase seemed utterly ridiculous, as did my growing fear and anxiety that blossomed into full-on panic mode. As the sun released its golden rays upon the land, I considered if there ever really were dogs at all--perhaps I imagined the entire scenario, howls and all. Perhaps they were real and I was simply spared--a warning to not attempt such a foolish undertaking again.

But none of it mattered, for all of my thoughts and fears were extinguished in the powerful blossoming of the rising sun. The sky grew brilliant as the sun rose from its resting place just as I rose from my seat, and, grabbing my jacket, I turned and headed back home, ready to embrace the first day of school.