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Walking After Midnight This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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“Night winds whisper to me. I'm as lonesome as can be.”
They say that Beethoven portrayed the beauty of the night bathed in moonlight in a song, but I do not understand it. It is dark.

It is dark as I sit on a wooden bench outside my house. Behind me, climbing roses are twining themselves up fences and stinging nettles protrude at outrageous angles. A light shines through a window somewhere on my left, illuminating a small patch of grass and exposing the dancing dust. The people inside the house busy themselves with chores. The television is on, but no one is watching; it is there to provide sound and assurance. The people shout for someone to turn the noise down. No one does.

It is dark everywhere, but I know clouds are drifting across a glowing moon, dusted with starlight. The dark, leafless trees reach out toward the sky like treacherous spears. My ears twitch, hoping to hear something that will give me some warning of a creature, but the night is silent. The creatures of the night are sleeping, half blanketed in perfidious shadows. Somewhere far away a wolf bays to the moon as though begging for mercy from the strange men and unholy machines that shoot out inharmonious bits of metal like fireworks.

They are well hidden and they are ruthless. They stalk the wolf surreptitiously, footsteps falling softly onto the earth, a shadow chasing a shadow. They know that the wolf cannot see them as I cannot see the night. It is too dark. I slide off the bench and walk barefoot in the garden, the grass tickling at my feet. It makes me smile because it gives me a sense of ataraxia in the chilly night air. I kneel down so I can feel it between my fingers that have become acutely sensitive over the years. I imagine the grass being gray in the moonlight and dark, shadowy silhouettes of the night forming a patchwork that stretches as far as the sky.

Something stirs behind me, and purposeful footsteps come toward me, making sure to make lots of noise so as not to startle me. Judging by how the steps hit the grass in a staccato manner, I can tell it is my sister, who has a casual bounce to her walk as though she is constantly suspended on a wire like those fairies on her bedroom ceiling. Her fairies annoy me as they hit my head when I walk in her room.

She attempts to speak to me, but her voice is slurred and I do not understand much of what she is telling me. Her voice pierces though the air, much too loud for the silent night. She is oblivious to this and I have to search for her hand and squeeze it tightly. I do this so she knows she has to lower her voice. “Sorry,” she mutters. I sign, “it's fine,” and she brings my hand to her face so I can feel her smile. She tugs on my arm gently signaling she is going back in. She is deaf, so I nod.

The clock tolls. It is midnight. It is dark and darkness is a blanket that envelops me in my fear; but they say it is always darkest before the dawn. The sun will chase the shadows away and everything will be fine. Not for me. My world is a maze of gray haze and mist and darkness.

I am blind. I am forever stuck in midnight. I am a child of the night. As I continue my walk after midnight, I silently think, I would give anything to see the moonlight.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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