Flash Fiction: Seven Minutes Late for Sunrise (365 words)

It had been a long day, long in that way that made the morning seem like it had passed him years before, before the thousand tasks, moments, and decisions had stacked up and hurried Silo through the hours. The sun was down already. From the solid dark of the sky, it seemed it had been done for a long time, but he hadn’t noticed until he escorted the last of his clients to the door of his workshop. Every thought that had been chasing each other between his ears suddenly pulled to a dead stop as he realized he was late.

Late for dinner. Late for the work to be done at home. Late for sleep.

Late already for tomorrow morning’s sunrise, but there was no real surprise in that.

Sighing, Silo whirled back from the door, running into the workshop to collect his coat. He threaded it over his arms in two quick motions and stuck his hat on his head, already aiming for the street. At the door, he shook through his ring of keys, locked the shop up tight, and dropped the ring back into his pocket.

Silo considered running down the street, to make up the time for being late – later than usual. He tried to remember the last time he had walked home, and sighed again, at the wish for such leisure.

Then he stopped, chose to stop instead of standing stunned at whatever the world had spun out next. It would take him five minutes to run home. Twelve minutes to walk. Standing in the dark, it didn’t seem like that great a difference. Except for the fact that one option allowed him to breathe.

The first slow step was experimental. The third was slightly uncomfortable, as if he were supposed to be doing something else. The tenth and every step after, were the sweetest, quietest things he’d had in a month. He thought about the pleasantness of it for a few minutes, then thought about nothing at all.

When he came through his front door, Jandy greeted him with a smile. “You’re late,” she said.

He nodded and let out a long breath. “But I brought my whole mind.”

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