Thursday, September 22, 2016

#1 A Whiter Shade of Pale

A sharp crack shattered the quiet evening stillness on the streets outside The Victorian. Howard's apartment, number 504, was suddenly plunged into darkness. He let out a resigned sigh and rose from his chair to search for a flashlight. Using the little moonlight that shone through his open window, he was able to discern the faintest outlines of furniture packed into his cramped home. He stumbled across the room, rummaging through drawers and running his hand across tabletops for the flashlight he kept for this very situation. Finally, after nearly knocking over a bookshelf and stubbing his toe on what seemed like every available surface, he located the light and flicked it on. Its weak glow illuminated the room, casting huge dramatic shadows on the walls. Howard collapsed back into his desk chair, using his flashlight to illuminate the quarterly financial reports he had been slaving over.

Howard was a slightly over-weight, middle-aged man. He lived in a perpetual state of exhaustion with deep dark bags under his eyes. In the faint light his pale skin seem to glow with an unhealthy pallor. Running his hand through his thinning hair, Howard squinted at the tiny numbers on the page. He could feel one of his all too common migraines beginning to develop and he let out an audible groan. He had just returned home from his mind-numbingly boring job as a business consultant at a local banking firm. But as usual, he couldn't relax. The unreasonable demands of his supervisors meant he would be up until the early morning to meet their deadlines. Howard sighed, looked out at the quiet streets, and contemplated what his life had become.