One Chicago Night
Flash fiction at the top of the world
“Here we are, Tom.” Jason led the old man from the elevator onto the Skydeck.
“Top of the world.”
“That high, huh?”
“One hundred third floor of the Willis Tower.”
“They renamed it.”
Tom Five Dogs tottered along on his young guide’s arm, one hundred three years old today, as high in time as the Skydeck in space.
“Look out there. All of Lake Michigan. On a clear day, you can see the opposite shore.”
“Come over here.” They tottered to the adjacent wall. “Look north. The Hancock building! Lake Shore Drive! Up the shore, Evanston and Northwestern University. Then Wilmette, the Baha’i Temple. The whole city and all the suburbs at your feet! What a spectacle! Such light!”
Tom pointed a shaking finger upward. What’s that?
“That’s the sky, Tom.”
“What, that splash of orange?”
“Not like the prairie sky, I guess. Big cities light up the universe.”
The old medicine man pondered that. “Now I’ll show you something.” He stretched out his hand. In an instant, darkness swallowed the city: not a street light, not a headlamp, not a candle flickered in the dark. Chicago, consumed whole by an unseen monster.
Above, the universe glowed.
Jason gaped, the breath stolen from his lungs. “What . . .”
“That?” Tom said. “Top of the world.”
“One Chicago Night” was intended for the Indies Unlimited flash fiction competition, September 24, 2016, but I didn’t finish it in time, so it never appeared there. Pity…
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