Published on 5 August 2023 at 20:06

The night was sultry so Charlie put on a loose t-shirt and shorts before going out for a walk. The air was warm and moist, particles stuck to Charlie like spit. The dark street was lit by bright street lights glaring at everyone who walked past. Charlie wanted to smash them all, to be lost in the comforting cloak of darkness. Charlie continued to walk towards the park, there were fewer lights there and one or two didn’t work. In the quietness of the late night, everything seemed to hang in the air, suspended from the sky, like stage curtains. The moisture, the air, sounds, even Charlie’s breathing.

Charlie thought about the awful day. The proceeding 24 hours had been horrendous. What were the worst things that could happen to a person? Charlie thought. Charlie was still alive, that was evident. Charlie still had a place, a base to call home, but what had happened went beyond the basic materialistic needs of a human being. Charlie shivered as the warm, wet particles now coalesced into cold droplets clinging to the skin. The lack of sleep and food also worked on Charlie’s system, causing shadows to flit past as Charlie continued to walk. Where was Charlie walking to? Where were these legs leading the body and mind, like some dark version of the Red Shoes?

A car sped by, breaking the hanging silence. Charlie saw the rear lights gleam like dragon’s eyes and then disappear. Was Charlie mad? What was happening in this crazy world? Charlie merged into the sultry night, no longer feeling real, no longer a woman.