The joggers emerge at sundown. Where are they going? The dark envelops the placid neighborhood with feline stealth, creeping across the painted sky and then, with its gaping maw, swallowing it whole. You hope the joggers pick up their haphazard pace before nightfall consumes them and rips their colorful athleisure to shreds.
There are chalk arrows drawn on the sidewalk. You follow them to the local condominium complex. They disappear at the edge of the parking lot, where asphalt and woods converge. Pieces of blue chalk lie on the ground, framed by a circle of trees. In the distance, you hear the lilting giggle of a child. A dark cloud eclipses the sun and the trees become looming shadows. They beckon with long fingers.
All the houses look the same. Their mouths hang open in a perpetual cry and their eyes are dark and glassy. They live in a mundane cul-de-sac, with a neatly pruned knoll in the center. The street is shaped like infinity. They stare deep into each other’s brick façade until a hand yanks the curtains shut. The eyes, they say, are the window to the soul.
This piece is inspired by walking through my neighborhood at sunset and my favorite podcast, Welcome to Night Vale.