Netherworld

I finally left Victor’s place last night after the roller derby. It was midnight and the rain seemed to wash away all of the traffic. It is always interesting to drive in this sort of weather and in this time of the night. The streets have been cleared except for the other handful of souls that, like me, have somewhere they desperately need to be. Clouds dominate every inch of the sky, blocking out the star and the full moon. The only light they hold is a smoky reflection that of the city. The city is ultimately a sparsely populated area, little satellite towns connected by arterial roads. Driving down the slick, glossy motorway almost feels like driving through some kind of future world. A netherworld where everything we wrought remains yet, just right in this moment, we no longer exist. The clouds have sunk low, swallowing everything we built to rise against them. The tower on the mountain is barely visible. Off the motorway, in the distance, red lights burn like electrical fires, warnings for aircraft that may never fly these skies again. Signs are greased, ageing with grime. Everything is still and quiet. It is a special time. I take photos while driving at top speed, somehow trying to capture the strangeness of it all, its visual silence. Despite how alien all this might be I am oddly comfortable. My radio begins to play bizarre sounds, like another intelligence is attempting to overpower the late nite drum ‘n’ bass with pulsing off time beats and thumps. But all too soon it is over, I pull up at my house and the car goes to sleep.

I look at the final shot on my cameraphone, realising that the human eye is still superior. I tilt my head at the sky to gaze upon the muted colours the city has offered to the clouds. The streets all around me are dead, I cannot hear or see anything move. I go inside and my house is empty, which is unusual for a Saturday night. My flatmate often has guest and they are all very loud. I move to the television and find a channel of dead air, the salt-and-pepper of static snow, hoping to see the alien signal. Its overall pattern moved from the smooth flowing of random dots to harsh ordered patterns of black and white, cycling around like some argument encoded in the cosmic background radiation. Again and again. And eventually my television turns itself off.

And I find myself fighting the urge to sleep and a dying battery.

Night.

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