The night howled, sucked at the windows, and rattled fences. Trees, arched with the onslaught, whipped and branches reached out for anything to unleash their frustration and torment on. The wind pushed against everything, a bully on a rampage, the world its victim.
The cloud shrouded darkness ate away at the edges of the dim pools of light cast by the street lamps. The polka dot glows shimmered in the swaying black. They seemed resigned to their fate, destined to be swallowed and complete the end of all things, but too stubborn to wink out quickly. Fading, little by little, the long hours of the night stretched thin.
A single door on the block creaked open, straining against the arms of the storm, and then banged shut. The hunched man winced in anticipation of the sound even though the echoes of the escape were lost below the fury of the wind. His strained eyes swept the scoured landscape and saw nothing but the traces of lights ominously urging him forward.
The way is here.
It is not safe.
Follow the dancing lights.
If you dare…
But did he dare? Could he turn his back on all that he knew. The path ahead might not be safe but the path behind was headed toward a timely end. So what would it be? A short life of security or an unknown filled with possibility. Turning his collar up against the wind he grabbed the railing and took the steps one at a time. Once he reached the side walk he straightened to his full height. It had been years since he had unhunched his back. His muscles longed to snap back to the familiar shape but he didn’t give in. If he was going to do this, then he was going to do this completely.
He tapped his first step, fully stabilizing his foot before taking another step. He repeated this process over and over again before he looked up and saw the lights were pulling him along. Taking less care he continued, urged to hurry by the lights. One foot in front of the other, he kept going, faster and faster. Before he realized it, he was jogging. The road ended but the lights continued. Without pausing he ran after them. His jacket blew open and stretched out behind him. It didn’t take long before it was too much trouble and he pitched it to the ground. Off he ran, into the lights.
A few hours later, after the storm had transitioned into a calm spring shower, the same door opened. A woman stuck her head out. After glancing over the street she hopped back in to grab an umbrella. Then she set off down the street in search of the man. When she came to the field she spotted a black lump. Confused she crossed to it and found the coat. Her brow creased as she picked it up to examine it. Realizing whose it was she smiled sadly to herself.
“Time for you to return home then,” she wept. “Good bye my love.”
She hugged the drenched coat to her chest. Pressing her face into the wet fabric she attempted to hide the tears from the world. After a brief spell she collected herself. She smiled again, folded the coat, and carefully placed it back on the ground.
“Just in case,” she whispered to the field. She slowly turned, lifted her head, and returned to her empty house.