Nightlight Flickers

by Patrick Heffernan

Four posts and four chains suspended a net, twined and tarred, high on the western horizon. A cradle built to snare time since it would not freeze.

The sun set, delicate and steady, into the trap, catching for hopeful moment. Then the posts and ropes erupted into solar flare, and the chains slammed to the ground.

He sighed, calluses aching. “I’m sorry.”

The sun winked out of existence behind the offbeat hills, orange luminescence shrinking to darkness, past where their ball could be distinguished from the stars.

“It’s okay,” his daughter said with a smile. “We can play again tomorrow.”

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