"Reading in the Dark"
Burke never knew why, but for some reason reading was just more enjoyable late at night, when he knows he should be asleep for school the next day… secretly laying at the foot of his bed with his trusty Lamp-Droid shining it’s soft blue night-light on the pages, as the world felt still.
Opening his “Unexplained Mysteries of the World” book that he shoplifted from the used bookstore that went out of business, he reads the note written on the inside cover to whomever the book was originally purchased for:
“Jason, happy birthday! I love you— Grandma. March, 1979”
He stares at the quickly scribbled note, and imagines the other boy reading this same book after excitedly tearing off the wrapping paper… Burke wonders where Jason is now… Is his grandma alive? Why would Jason give this book up? HOW could he give ANY book up?
Perhaps Jason is dead…? Since Jason got the book back in 1979, that’s plenty of time to be abducted by aliens or murdered by shadow people. It’s only a matter of time for all of us.
Burke inhales the musty old paper as he thumbs through the pages… The words and stories just seemed more alive, more real the later at night and the darker the room was. The book was a window into a world larger than his small bedroom— unexplained phenomenon, aliens, mysterious disappearances, unsolved murders and robberies, psychics, cryptozoology… there’s so much out there.
In the light of day, the stories may not seem likely, but right now, in the deep dark of night, every story reads true. The world is so much nicer if they are.
As he slowly wakes up in the morning, Burke finds his cheek stuck to a page describing domed vacation homes on the moon that are a certainty by the year 2000.
Realizing he is late for his bus, he quickly plugs in his depleted Lamp-Droid and rushes off to be tired for school.
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