A/N: This is something I wrote a while ago. Surprisingly, I still like it. I normally ferret away older pieces as soon as they begin to show signs of being in the least bit obsolete . . . but not this one. You know the drill. All characters, ideas, writing and whatnot are solely mine. Do not copy or reproduce this in any way without my permission. As of right now, you don't have my permission.

*~*

The pavement seems an ebony maw of darkness. The houses themselves, ordinary middle-class homes, are dormant and shadowy. There are street lamps, and, in places, the bright spots of light can be seen lining the street, breaking, for a moment, the infinite blackness that is inevitably beyond.

What is beyond, anyway? As far as one can see, it is more streets, more homes, more lamps illuminating deserted pavement. There are bushes, mailboxes, rose gardens, front porches, and garages. If looking upwards on any given house, one sees the eves, the roof, the chimney, with perhaps a nest of jays inside that will need to be cleared out before winter arrives. The pattern, the sameness, is suffocating to the lone observer.

Breaking the silence, a dog barks. The sound reverberates and hangs in the clear night air. Perhaps his persistent whining has finally forced some work-worn parent out of her bed to let him outside and he rejoices at his success when two blanket-warmed human feet finally slip out onto the floor. Maybe his beloved family has gone away for the weekend and the pet sitter has forgotten to let him into the house for the night; so he protests, one, final time. Or perhaps it is naught but a lonely call into the blackness, a declaration of life, of his existence, only to be hushed by the nearest groggy sleeper.

It is not important, and yet, it is everything. He is captured in time, in that second in a world of whines, growls, yelps and whimpers, only he is heard. On that warm summer night, he calls to the world and it screams back at him in awesome silence. The silence is all he needs.