12/15/2011: brown wolf

The night is dark brown. Behind me lies a small, unfinished town. I don’t know whether it’s an old town that’s dying or a new town just being born. It has very few street lights, each starkly white with a tiny halo of yellow. From where I stand I cannot see the buildings; they all are behind my line of sight. There is also a pickup truck languishing behind me along with a couple of cars. They belong to people who are inside the buildings. The night is neither warm nor cool, and the buildings’ doors stand open. Muffled voices, music, laughter waffle out into the night.

Outside, I stand alone. In front of me, parallel to the row of buildings, is a road. A concrete road with strips of tar mending the cracks. Another road intersects it, a smooth black top never stopping till it reaches the horizon. The black top road goes through bare land with no bushes or grass, only dirt and one large, leafless tree farther in the distance. The land looks freshly plowed, smooth but textured with lumps of dirt. It has been sectioned off in long rectangles framed with two-by-fours, as if someone were outlining plats.

The sky, colorless in its darkness, is neither blue nor gray. It’s merely dark. No moon. A few thickly smudged clouds, barely paler than the sky, slough together. The land is a dark grayish brown, the two-by-fours slightly lighter. The street lights illuminate only as far as the concrete road. Beyond is darkness.

It is then that I see the wolf, standing in one of the plats, relaxed but looking straight at me. Her fur is thickly white, edged in silver, a pastel blur against the flat brown dirt. No stark contrast; it blends together, all shades of one hue. Yet she is plainly there. Her legs are long and strong with light feathers tickling against the thin wind. Her eyes are dark, of course, and she looks at me unflinching, as if waiting to see what I will do next. I do not move.

I wake up knowing she is there. She is always there. Though it may now be day and the sun rules the sky and the darkness has gone, she is there. Simply there. In the darkness.

Waiting.

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