Cool, moist air fills Henry’s nostrils as he drinks the night air. Cautiously he wraps the lanyard of his flashlight around his right hand while juggling his walking stick and the ever moving leash in his left. Satisfied with the wrapping, he shifts the walking stick to that hand so he can wind in the leash to a more practical length.
“Ok.” He says wearily. “Let’s go.”
Little is said as Henry and his companion walk alongside the road. The dog trots gingerly from side to side, looking for thorns and discarded treasures while Henry keeps an eye out for traffic.
His mood is as dark as the night sky. He wanted to write, but nothing would come. He had tried every trick in the book. He had thought of items that would create an emotional response in remembrance. He had stopped at a motorcycle shop to look at, take pictures, and dream about his favorite bike. He had looked at various pictures, hoping to stir a spark of creativity. All for naught. Every story line seamed as thin and pale as the ghosts haunting him.
“You’re trying too hard.” He thought to himself. “You can’t say, ‘Be creative’ and expect something to happen. It doesn’t work that way.”
Henry paused for a moment and looked cautiously into the night sky. He wanted to make sure that no cars were speeding upon him before he turned down the side road. The dog was oblivious to any possible danger and pulled the leash eager to continue.
“Maybe about Luke.” Henry thought. “It might be a good time to write about him.”
The street scene faded a little into the night as Henry visited Luke in his mind. He could see a cold winter’s night. The inside of a log cabin painted a warm yellow orange by the glow of a low fire in the stone fireplace. Luke slowly sharpening his carry knife while looking thought the window to the stars shining in the night sky.
The piercing brightness of a fog light interrupted Henry’s thoughts as a motion sensor detected his movement.
Henry squinted under its harshness while muttering to himself, “Damn light”.
A small dog barked wildly from behind some random closed door. Henry hunched his shoulders and urged his dog forward.
“Too much.” Henry thought. “Luke didn’t have to worry about things like this. It would never happen. There was no one else around for miles. No electricity, No phone lines, no infrastructure at all. Just him living peacefully off the grid. Well, as peacefully and as off the grid as possible.”
Henry knew that unless Luke was a vegetarian, he would have to hunt. That meant Luke would have to kill and that’s not peaceful. Henry also knew that Luke was a modern man in his own right and would not be willing to give up every luxury known to man. Especially music. Music would be essential in the wild. Nature’s hushed quiet can be soothing when drowning in societies noise, but over time, it can become as oppressive and suffocating as a wool blanket wrapped around you while you are in the middle of a lake. Music would anchor Luke to sanity during the long days of dark. He would not give that up.
Henry moved over to a wooded lot, letting the dog wet the grass. A woman’s voice squawked from a few streets away. The tone high and grating while the words indecipherable.
Henry shook his head. “How can I get the feel for Luke’s story with everything around me crashing in?”
Henry looked at the dog that was now looking at him and said, “Home”.
As they walked back the way they came a stranger came into view.
“I see you brought your bodyguard with you.” The man said noticing the dog pulling excitedly at the leash.
“Yeah. You have to be careful or she might just jump up and kiss you to death.” Henry replied drily.
Henry pulled the dog away as he left the man chuckling.
“Too much.” Henry thought again.
As he reached the driveway, Henry looked up at the clear night sky. He could easily make out the constellation Orion.
Henry stopped and pondered for a moment. “I wonder if Luke sees the same sky at night or if he sees it differently given his latitude.”
He fumbled for the keys in his pocket and thought. “Maybe tomorrow, he’ll tell me.”