Thursday, October 13, 2011

Midnight at Normandale

11:57 and it's dead out on NE Halsey, up away from the seedy glitz of Hollywood and not out as far as the sleaze of 82d. Boring as hell on my beat, so I pull into the street by the dog park just to sit for a minute.

The park officially closes at sundown, but you know how it is: there's no locks on the gates or anything. Who'd want to go there at night? Someone, apparently. There's a man leaning against the fence, and even by moonlight I can see he's not some homeless guy looking to crash under the picnic table.

I sigh and get out of the car. Let myself through the double gates. Metallic clunk sounds echo off the silent houses across the street.

"Sir, the park is closed."

He looks at me, very calm. "I'm sorry, officer. I'll leave in a few minutes."

I fold my arms. "What brings you here, anyway?"

"Them." He points.

There are flickers of movement, quicksilver shapes slipping in and out among the fir trunks, the shafts of moonlight. There's something wrong with what I'm seeing, but I can't quite figure it. "You can't bring dogs here at night."

"I didn't bring them. They just come."

Activity swirls toward us and breaks apart. I see the dogs: a rangy Dane mix, a couple of shepherds, a Lab, a maybe-coon hound, a few I can't guess. They're all silent, no panting, no barking, no thud of paws on the ground. They're all colored moonlight and mist and they cast no shadows.

"He loved it here," says the man. "I never see him around the house, but here, sometimes..."

The Lab trots toward us, tongue hanging out. His paws don't disturb the fir needles or the churned-up sand, but as he gets closer, he takes on some color, a dark blond. And I have to turn away, because I can't bear to look at the face of the man beside me.

"Sorry to bother you, sir. Have a nice night."

"You too, officer."

12:05 and it's quiet out on NE Halsey. And you know? I kind of like it that way.

[368 words]

Collection available! Knocking from Inside


Storm Dweller said...

Ohh, I love the short and sweet summation of this. It gave me chills.

Annie Evett said...

Oh !! thats so sad and so beautiful!!

I enjoyed the alternate way you set this out as well - a great tool for really shaking up writing styles..

I've played along this week too - thanks for visiting!

moonduster said...

Wow! So much imparted in so few words! I loved it!

JM Merchant said...

Brief but very poignant. Nice work.