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Volume 2, Issue 3, September 30, 2007
Dying Light
by Neil Carstairs

        Kendon heard sirens as he heated the last thread of silver. They died swiftly, as if whatever had summoned the emergency services was close by. He put away his tools, turned off the burner, and put the piece into the safe.
        He stepped out of the workshop into a cold November afternoon. Down towards the road, red and blue strobe lights flashed eerily. The road was blocked. The children would be late home as that was the only route for the school bus. He walked down to the house and went to the living area, always so quiet when the children were out. Spotlights illuminated the room in a half dozen yellow cones of light. A portrait of his wife looked down upon him. The half-smile he had captured seemed to mock him, as if she was thinking, "you never wanted children and here you are missing them."
        I miss you more, he thought. They are the only connection I have with you. It had been three years since she had died, and still their friends weren't speaking to him, as if he were to blame for the cancer that had ravaged her body.
        Mrs Martinez, his housekeeper, appeared in the doorway. "A car is coming up the driveway, sir."
       He went with her to the front door and watched as tree shadows raced across grass, pursued by twin headlights. As the car rolled to a halt, he saw the yellow and blue cubes of its markings. The electric whine of the vehicle's engines died, and two cops, a man and a woman, got out.
        The woman asked, "Mr. Kendon?"
        "May we come in?" She wore a holstered pistol on her hip and her name tag read "Delaney."
       It was the way she spoke. It was the way her partner looked down at the gravel driveway. It was the way Mrs Martinez began to pray, in Spanish, beside him, that told Kendon all he need to know. He led them inside.
       "Sir, there has been an accident," Delaney said.
        "My children?" He said it just for the need to speak. A void was opening around him; dark shadows edged his vision.
        "The school bus was involved in a collision. Your children have been taken to St. Jude's Clinical Centre. We can take you there now."
       "How badly are they hurt?" He was having trouble breathing.

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        Dying Light (pdf)
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