We decide to get off the train before it gets to the city. The station is in a suburban atmosphere. There is a hill that descends down from the station. My friends and I walk down to the street and the world goes dark in thirty seconds. The scene is eerie. We all realize that a planned artificial eclipse has commenced. The darkening of the earth to cool it down is necessary and we must walk the rest of the way to our destination in the dark. The planned eclipses sometimes last for hours. We feel a need to explain it to the young kids in the group but they understand already. It is normal for them.

As I’m on the treadmill at night I notice the moon edging over a building on the horizon. It’s a huge timeless full moon. I am covered in moonbeams through the window as I run. I become witness to an Indian runner from hundreds of years ago who runs across the desert sands under that same moon. The night is cool and travel this way is easier. The young Indian is barefoot and must be careful to step on soft sand. Sharp objects and shrubs are easily visible in the moonlight. He runs towards the flat horizon. He runs some twenty miles in a night. He imagines rhythms and chants and sings them to keep his pace.

Before I can complete the novel locked in a room I must confer with my Soviet counterpart who is near Moscow on an open line dedicated phone. It is not a red hotline, but a black shiny phone. The connection buzzes and cracks but Vasiliy (The King) is at the other end. He is overjoyed and enthusiastic about my recent decisions in the narrative. He urges and inspires me to press on. I look out the window at the sunlit garden below my window, but I cannot go outside.

X.F. Pine