By Bethany Stevenson, age 17.
Lights smeared in the puddles and washed away with the weighty pollution in the air. Horns blared as cars swooshed down the streets, screeching their breaks on whenever a yellow light flashed after green. Wind angled the rain drops to patter on the glass towers, running over the slick surface and soaking into the cracked pavements.
Dodging streetlights and crumpled soda cans, Evan jogged down the sidewalk, pumping his limbs and pacing his breath. His heart beat with each footfall and his lungs exhaled between its throbs.
The loose change in his rain-coat’s pockets clinked, dancing with his movement, knocking together and ringing as small bells. The coins encouraged his breathless running, his chance to replace the broken cellphone in his fingers at the red phone-booth outside the subway-station.
Evan reached the old booth, swinging the angled door open, and slipped inside. Relief from dripping rain and street traffic rang in his ears; the sound of his own gasps echoing in the tight space he stood in. He reached the plastic phone and untangled some of the cord before shoving it between his ear and shoulder. Digging into his pockets and inhaling the wet-wooden scent, Evan poked coins into the slot and dialed a number.
The phone buzzed.
Evan held his breath, waiting for someone to pick up the other end. Water pattered on the glass enclosing him in time with the droning trills from inside the phone’s small speaker.
A warm sensation tingled in him unexpectedly, sending a shiver up his back and making the hair on his arms rise. He clenched his jaw and eyed the smeared world outside for anything that might cause heat passing by, but there was nothing but the rain and city lights.
Presence filled the booth.
Bright glow glared off the tiny rain drops clinging to the windows. Evan’s eyes squinted in protest and he wiped them with the back of his sleeve.
Noises of the city and weather hiccuped and blurred and fell silent. An eternal ring dragged in his ears.
The light intensified and a spiritual veil danced within.
The light. It was alive.
Swirls of bright whiteness swam throughout the air in slow motion, swooping with the ringing in his ears and passing in wispy curtains between trickles of rain.
Evan took in a deep breath. His heart sped and his limbs tightened under the weight and surrounding illumination.
The aura took a humanoid form and for a blink of an eye, it looked at Evan and he looked back. A whisper brushed his ear as if a finger outlined it.
“My world is the universe, my life is untouchable; unreachable.
Darkness cracked it in two; darkness, my death, held and contained.
I flow like water, dance as the wind, and live as light.
My power runs in your wires and flickers on your screens.
I’m invisible, but my glow makes you squint.
I’m silent, but my presence wakes you up.
I am not a star or a spark; I am light.
I am alive.”
And then it was gone.
In a deafening rush, the noise of passing cars and impinging rain burst forth as reality engulfed the world and seemed to awaken Evan’s mind.
He blinked, the words of the light still fresh in his ears. His inward thrill and tension told him it had happened.
The phone in his hands beeped to tell him his coins were used up and if someone had answered, they hung up at that point,
Evan slammed the phone back on its wired hanger and let out a puff of air, sticking his hands in his empty pockets and entering the rain again.
He smiled up at the drops as they bounced off his face. His eye kept a sharp watch on the flashing advertisements and headlights blinking high life at him. Somewhere in there… the light lived.