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The Sun, At Night, in the Sea

by Luc Reid

During the day the Sun was the highest, the brightest, the hottest, the largest, the most venerable, the most seeing, and it was a very different feeling for her to slide into the ocean at night and be covered by the waves.

This day had been cloudy, and she was moody and distracted so that she was taken by surprise at the first touch of the lapping waters, so that she bled a moment of heat red into them and gushed out waves of orange and purple among the clouds. The water hissed at her, and she drew her heat inward, turning solid and shiny and cold on her lower edge, letting that shell of cold encase her as she sank beneath, as her brilliance drained from the sky to uncurtain the glimmering stars.

Beneath the waters it was silence and vague currents and dimness. The water muffled her hearing and touch, an intimate but impersonal embrace, a cold and flowing garment she couldn't remove. A tribe of silver fish nearby wheeled and scattered away from her massive surface as she sank deeper, as the pale moonlight above her faded to only a silvery patch, and then to nothing.

It was lonely in the ocean at night. The denizens of deeper waters paid no attention to the Sun, hunted and hid and browsed and drifted despite her and around her. Usually at night she settled into a state of dreamy contemplation, bringing to mind vivid pictures of things she had seen on the world that day, sinking deeper until she reached her nadir and began to rise again. That night, the dreams and images wouldn't come, and she was left to search the murky depths for things she couldn't see.

Below her, something stirred, something dark and vast that made a sound that caused the water itself to shudder. Nothing was greater than her, yet this thing made her small. Nothing was older than her, but she sensed that this was not one of her children. It did not have eyes, this thing, or even a mouth, but it had infinite reserves of darkness and cold and ending.

She had sunk so deep as to have nearly touched it when she began her rise again toward the morning and the Eastern sea. Tomorrow, possibly, she would be dragged down into it, to rise no more, to be sucked down into darkness.

Tomorrow, possibly. She gathered her fire inside her to light the coming dawn. Tomorrow, but not today.

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