Naked Atlantis awaits mere heartbeats away from the tip of your shoes, as electricity runs wild in colors that eat the darkness. Fake light illuminates a strip where they hide in plain sight, tripping the light fantastic, a world of laughter and solidarity, and the dice-roll of romance.

You wish to burn, too.

At the penumbra of the city’s glimmer, moonlight stains your shoes. You’ve swallowed enough books on courage to shit a knight of the round table. Tonight you touch the brightness, stroll the denizen of desire, a wishing well to throw your coin and join them.

Tonight —

Treads leave earth like sparks from a dying hearth as you step on the city’s shimmer, trading moonlight for neon.

Static crackles, transmissions pierce your mind from a reclusive station, and the whizzing whirl rusts your gears. Melodic torture is deciphered against your will until it hums in your ear.

They do not want you.

They will see your naked truth and cackle as you fall.

You will break and spill and burn beyond repair.

Retreat is the safest prison for a long starved soul.

You turn on your heels and shadow of neon strolls beside your cruel march home, static still filling your ear until the voice is crystal clear.

Jay Ridler is the author of Death Match, the first Spar Battersea thriller, and has published over forty short stories in such magazines and anthologies as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Brain Harvest, Not One of Us, Chilling Tales, Tesseracts Thirteen, and more. His popular non-fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Dark Scribe, and the Internet Review of Science Fiction. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. Visit him at his writing blog, Ridlerville, on Facebook, and on Twitter @JayRidler.

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Every Day Fiction