𝘣𝘺 𝘈𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘯 𝘚𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘨
They came back.
"I'm not ready," he said. "I haven't finished. You said you'd come back when I was ready." The light seemed to grow brighter—an unblinking eye. The shape of the humming ship was barely perceptible above the soft street lights, glow from the houses, and the telephone pole wires transporting communique.
The hum increased and Donny noticed his feet were now dangling above the pavement—not to take him away, but to show him that they were in control. They put him down. The only harm done was to his ego and the wanton soup spilled in the takeout box. "I just need three more days. Then it'll be done. Then you can have all you want. Just three days."
His wife looked out the front window, but only saw him staring into a dark and empty sky. She couldn't make out the words she thought she heard him speaking, but it sounded like a plea—a prayer to a God unseen. For what, she did not know. She made her way to the front door and opening it carefully, reached out her timid voice that said, "Donny?" But Donny did not answer—just kept up his quiet incantation at the end of the driveway.
Then he stopped.
"Just three more days," Donny whispered to the invisible. He arched his back, shook violently, and collapsed into a pile on the curb. The neighbors heard him weeping. Some closed their shutters. Some stood on their stoops folding robes over their chests to protect themselves from the night.
And Donny, sobbing, lay knowing that three more days—that a month, that a lifetime—would never be enough. ✦