The guard will tell you to stop and wait for the next. "This is my rifle," he will say, for no specific reason, because he is not armed, "there are many like it, but this is mine." You will keep going because he does not make any sense, but nothing makes much sense. And so you keep going.

Eject smoke into the evening, which is dark and purple, but not black. Leaves are falling but not fast enough for Fall which is waiting, just around the corner, casting long fingernail shadows.

On the refrigerator before the takeout menus and report card from the fourth grade is a note written in black sharpie on powder blue stationery: "While you were out... GOD LOVES YOU." It is tattered and stained with marinara sauce.

"Do you want to come dancing with us?" she asks. She is wearing all black. She, black, just as the night cannot be black. Light her cigarette. Let her go. Exchange phone numbers and wonder why either of you even bothered. It'll all be lost tomorrow. Today is tomorrow. Everything is catching up.

"It's great of you to come out," the kids say. They're all smartly dressed, every last one, to the shoes and socks and through, straight down to bone. Behind and inside and around them smoke. Pour another one and make it count this time.

Break down on the street corner. World narrows to tunnel vision, thick velvet curtains around the edges and little bits of black fire which bleed into the retina. Sight, you remind yourself, is faster than sound, and the sight of pavement first: then ice cracks on sidewalk, face bends and skews with force. Already bone mending. Capillaries gorge healing blood into the fissure, filled with protein and pain and love. Made with care, you imagine, inscribed inside the skull. Lovingly made. Carefully constructed. Do not open. No user serviceable parts.

First blossom strikes and dawn is stretched out far and wide through windows hidden by curtains and curtains stained by age. "Break down on the rifle," the guard will tell you, "and go back home, we don't want you here," he says on top of polished shoes. Lean far out the window, far past curtains, far past sky and let go into air, and: fall, Fall for a very long time.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.