Belated Sunday Story, enjoy.
I click once on the picture of Sarah’s face, summoning the floating chat window to Jess’ housemate.
“Hey, tell Jess to call me if you’re still home please, thanks” I ask, feeling like I should mention the sun but with no idea how to bring it up. It’s a fairly complex issue, I decide, too early to jump into that online.
Having sent the message, with no dancing ellipses to signal an imminent reply I stand up and close the curtain. Yeah just don’t look at the missing sun and it’ll all go away, I think, shaking my head. Dropping my towel, I stand in front of my chest of drawers struggling to decide what to wear… Do I dress for my workout or do I skip today. On one hand the sun going missing is a decent excuse, and if Sarah see’s my message Jess’ll probably be here in an hour to take me to my parents’ place. On the other hand my work out is only half an hour, so they aren’t really reasons not to and I skipped last Friday because I was a little cold anyway.
I groan in exasperation, as if a third party observing my own mundane inner monologue. I grab my workout gear and sulkily dress. Dropping off my empty bowl in the sink on my way down to the garage, I choose to skip my warm-up jog, not really jogging weather.
My angst-ridden teen rock backed workout is interrupted shortly into my first unscheduled breather by my phone ringing. Must be Jess, I think and click the button on my headphones to answer the call.
“Hello, Ty speaking, how can I help you?” I cringe at the mechanical response, its how I answered the phone as a kid and never really grew out of it. I blame the inherent awkwardness of phone-calls, I much prefer text.
The response is garbled, the sound quality is awful, like listening to someone under water. The cadence follows the flow of someone talking, but I can’t make out a word of it.
“Hello?” I ask, “Hey, I didn’t catch that, say again?”
The same muffled, scratchy tone responded, this time I think I caught my name in part of it as well as some hideous scratchy burst of noise.
“Hang on I think we’ve got a bad connection, I’ll head outside and call you back”
I click the headphones again, hanging up the call and returning my playlist. Realising my work out was over I grabbed my towel and started to wipe off the sweat as I hit the garage button. The door has this really old motor that takes ages to open, the strangely dark sunlight stretches and claws its way beneath the door as it opens. I turn back into the garage to grab my water bottle for a drink while I wait. I never used to like water, I think as I swallow large gulps, now it’s all I drink, growing up is weird.
The door makes the grating chunk noise it does when its finished opening, and I put my water bottle back down. I lift my phone from my pocket, nodding my head along to the music as I turn back to face the driveway.
Chills run down my back, my skin prickling at the sight of the world under the black sun. Stepping out onto the driveway, out from under a roof for the first time today, I’m speechless. I can see the main road that mine connects to is packed to a standstill with cars, straight through the lights. There’s people on their lawns or balconies, on their phones talking or filming in awe.
What really struck me was the strange beauty of it. The way the light shone on everything, it seemed like a thick layer of shadow was covering everything. It was like on an overcast day when the sun shone through the thick clouds, but there were no clouds. Not a single cloud. The sky was clear, and dark, a thick navy that was almost black and only that one blemish. That tenebrous abyss and flame-wreathed halo.
I couldn’t entirely divert my gaze from it as I raised my phone to my eye level, tapping Jess’ contact, the ringing replacing the distorted guitars in my ears.
It rang until the call dropped, the dial tone as infuriating as always, with far more weight of importance lent to it. I redial several more times, getting the same response each time until I want to vent my frustration by throwing my phone at the ground.
“Fuck it, Jess, pick up” I growl under my breath. Forcing myself to blink and look away from the sun, even with whatever bizarro eclipse is happening it can’t be good to stare directly at it. I sigh angrily and step back inside, hitting the close button for the garage harder than it deserved before bounding up the stairs.
Returning to my computer I check to see Sarah still hadn’t replied, or even seen my message. She must have already headed in to work, I decide, even without the sun Sarah’s always on time I suppose. It’s a bit weird that Jess would be up without prompting this early, though.
I click on Jess’ profile picture, Last online 7 hours ago. Okay, that’s also weird, I think, usually she’d have messaged me if she was going to call me, and always if the call didn’t connect properly like it did.
“Hey Jess, message me, text me or call me as soon as you can sweetie.” My message is direct and to the point, I’m starting to feel worried. I guess when it was the sun, it was too big for me to invest in, but now with Jess acting strangely I’m scared.