Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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Flash Fiction
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Why Sunny Days Scare Me

by Thomas Reynolds

Even now they’re waiting for us to slip.
Yawn too widely. Lean our heads back
For seconds in sagging lawn chairs.
Close our ears to noises from the street.
The plane sputtering above that stand of trees.
Drift away in faded copies of Edwin Drood,
London streets dripping with slow, steady rain.

Then our neighbor who was always a little odd—
Trimming shrubs long after corners were square,
Holding his breath while strolling to his Volkswagen,
Stooping to examine ants and laying down fingers
To see them march in a straight line over barriers—
Will suddenly pause his clippers and look up
Into that crystal blue sky absent of all haze,
All obstruction, to send out one brief signal,
Just one word—even a brief guttural syllable—
Maybe a tone as innocuous as that a cell phone
Makes when the battery is running its course,
A thin flat note that seems to come from nowhere.

Then you’ll swear you charged the thing that morning,
And patting the pocket of your shorts to check,
You’ll see the neighbor give you a nod with his clippers,
A probably harmless yet strangely menacing wave.
You’ll shade your eyes from what you think is the sun,
A light so intense the hairs on your wrist curl up,
The roar of its engines knocking you to the ground.
Everyone, beginning with you, will begin to rise
Into that immense, vibrating star.

© 2011 Thomas Reynolds

Find more by Thomas Reynolds in the Author Index.

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