Midnight and the Shadows Are Howling
by
Liza Whiting



Itís midnight, and I can hear their voices out beyond the hedge again: whispers and moans, an occasional shout. Then they all scream, ďYou miscreant liar.Ē

Itís not true. Iím no liar. I just donít follow the path theyíve been following all these years. Centuries, really. Millennia. That path of rules and admonitions mouthed by patriarchs and politicians and parents. All those dos and doníts.

Theyíre scared of me. Theyíre afraid the freedom of my writing might lift them out of their programmed sleep and slam them down hard on their heads. Maybe it will. If Iím good enough at what I do. If I stay focused and find new ways to expose the truth that there is no Truth.

Daylight is fine, but I canít go out in the dark anymore. Theyíre too strong. Their whispers have turned to growls. Their murmurings to threats. I know how it works: their faith requires my heresy. It makes them stronger. It gives them purpose and someone to hate. They will kill me, if they have to.

Theyíre howling now. I peer into the shadows and see that the entire hedge has moved closer. Is it possible? Are they strong enough to make it move with their minds?

I take a firm stance. I donít need them to agree with me. I donít even need them to understand what Iím saying. But I did hope some light might seep through with my words and cause a little crack in their minds that would allow them to comprehend what theyíve never even considered before, that the world only exists in perception.

They do have reason to fear that happening. The ground gets all shaky when you realize your truth might be skewed. Truth is truth. Right? It is what it is and what it has always been, not some, willy nilly it-might-change kind of thing.

It is hard for anyone to stand on thin air. Thatís why there are so few of us out here in the realm of the unknowable. Weíre hard to find, and even we need props now and then. You know, a real wall to lean on. Maybe a table, and a chair. Just a hint of solidity before we fly off again on the wind of perception.

I wish I could go out there and convince them that they will survive, but their howls are ferocious now, and the hedge is pushing in even closer. If they break through, thereís nothing I can do about it. Iím not that strong.

I hold my breath. I keep my mind completely silent, and then, I begin to write: Itís midnight, and the shadows are howling.



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