Mr. Blue Sky
Story by Sam Walker-Smart
– Sam Walker-Smart is a Barcelona based journalist and writer. His work has
been featured in CLASH, Huffington Post and on notes that he’s lost in the wash.
We always bed by 5 am.
Any later would breed carelessness and carelessness just won’t do, as Mother used to say. A firm time for seclusion ensures the four of us are able to properly secure the basement, prepare our beds and not rush our prayers. Father applies fresh tape to the floorboards above our heads while I tend to stroke Scout until he settles. Once nearing sleep, I apply his muzzle and tell my family I love them.
It doesn’t come every day, but when it does there is no sleeping through it.
The birds have long stopped singing, so nature gives no warning. However, the change of electricity in the air gives sign enough. You can hear it gently exploring the house above, its long glowing fingers singeing everything they touch. It is mute, bar an occasional low cold laugh; the sort you’d give to a joke you didn’t find particularly amusing. Its shining eyes, if you could call them eyes, are truly blinding and its smile wide and innocent.
Illustration by Violet Oakenheart
During the first days, the men of the town tried using their guns or tools, to no avail. A small mound of ash is all that would remain of those foolhardy enough to get too close. It was my sister Florence who, when hiding in the outhouse one day, discovered its dislike of the dark. She’d concealed herself under our old picnic blanket and wept silently while it tried the door. Once open it did not dare enter the gloom. Before long, and after the loss of more loved ones and neighbors than I care to mention, the basement became our only refuge during daylight hours.
At night my father checks the chickens he’s now stored in the dry well, hopeful that they’ve provided eggs in their solitude. Some days, when a particularly melancholic mood has taken him, he’ll try and seek the creature’s lair. We’ve seen it retire to the west on occasion and Father marks his map with a bold X after every unfruitful excursion. Each time I beg him to stay, but he has lost too much not to try. Those moments without him are when my faith is tested most. In the four months since our struggle began, I’ve heard of many who’ve willingly gone to their deaths, greeting the end in some belief that this is what John the Revelator prophesied.
I wish I could join them in their certainty. I only know that the sun is no longer a friend.