Step Into The Light.


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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

When this street light turns on everything changes.
I hate deadlines but I understand their value, especially to someone like me.
I spring into action as time runs out.
When that light turns on, my time will have run out.
I’ve been waiting here for what seems like forever but in reality it has only been a few hours.
It’s been raining on and off, the way it does in Melbourne, and I really don’t mind; I love the rain.
My bottom hurts from sitting for such a long time and I’m sick of the waitress glaring at me. It’s not as if the place is packed.
That’s another reason I love rainy days; people stay home and I get the streets to myself. Not the way that the nighttime clears the streets, but nearly as good.
I’ve been a bit worried about that street light because I’m sure that they go on when the light level gets low enough, and with the overcast conditions the damn thing is likely to fire up way too early.
I need all the time I can get.
If she doesn’t show, I’m done for, and everything depends on that street light.
Many years ago, whoever is responsible for such things, took down all the old street light poles and replaced them with boring modern ones that no one will mourn when their time comes. Somehow, the light poles in this street escaped that fate. Maybe a local bigwig kicked up a fuss at the time and managed to get them saved, or maybe a clerical error simply left this street off the list. The latter is more likely but I would like to believe the former.
No one is going to save me if she does not arrive before illumination.
It just occurred to me that maybe the bulb is blown, maybe they haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet?
Maybe I get a reprieve?
It’s better not to know when your time is up.
Blissfully ignorant would be a nice state to be in.
The damn thing just lit up.


photo credit:

11 thoughts on “Step Into The Light.

    • I’ve been sitting on this photo for quite a while and every time I get it out, and stare at it, it felt like there was a story in there but it would not come out. A couple of days ago I tried again. A light went on [no pun intended] and this is what came out.
      The interesting part has been the number of possible explanations that people have come up with. My ‘Ideal Reader’ thinks that it is a metaphor. Someone thought it was a spy drama.
      Personally I’m not sure what happens next, I’m only the writer and invariably, I’m the last to know.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and feel free to throw in a theory.


  1. G’day, mate! Think I disappeared up my own nether regions. Just couldn’t find a topic I wanted to write about 9and was very squeezed for time, too) so just lost interest. But, then, three days in a row and now I’m hankering for something else to write about. I envy your free time to indulge the art of reflection. Please keep making us think, matey!


  2. Lost love. Or unrequited love, is what I take from the scenario. Reminds me of that vacant park bench that captured us a while back. There is also an essential optimism: the willingness/determination to wait until the last possible moment in the expectation that something good will happen. Ever so often that ends in sadness but it is that most human of qualities that those with character will persist in a valiant task even if the odds are stacked against us.


  3. Terry, have you explored short fiction publications offline, too? (Are they any anymore???) Seems like the more specialized stuff does continue to live in print, btw. Are there any mystery/crime zines that you might consider? There’s always space in a good ish for short short fiction. (Or there should be!) In the States we have some writers organizations that keep folks posted on when the various deadlines are for contests and other submissions. Just a thought…. 🙂


    • I’m touched that you consider that I might make it into such a mag. Thank you, my ego is now one size larger.
      I have tracked down a few in North America and my next goal is to track down some in Australia. We have a long history of Lit’ Mags here but they have always struggled…….. big country but small population. I think the online thing should be helping [lower production costs] and I read somewhere that Lit Mags have started to ‘insist’ that contributors be subscribers as well. Sounds a bit rough when you first say it, but it might make sense in the long run. It’s a bit hard on those who have limited funds but if the Mags don’t survive there is nowhere to send your work, so survival is paramount.
      I’m currently trying to decide where to put my collection of rejection slips. It’s only a small pile at the moment but it is likely to grow.
      I really appreciate your encouragement. I’ve got my head down and I’m determined to see my stuff in someone’s publication.
      My my interesting rejection so far came from Alaska! Maybe Aussie does not translate well way up North? They were very nice about it though…. friendly folks in Alaska.


      • Just a thought, Terry, but what I’m suggesting is looking for something more genre, less general lit, in other words. Specialty mags seem to be a bit more open to good newcomers. There must be jillions of aspiring Hemingways but maybe only billions of would-be Simenons or Stephen Kings. I think all my published work (not a huge oeuvre, mind, but still, on newsstands from time to time!) has been in specialty publications–sports, media and now, food-related. I’m not up to speed on who that would be in your area but you get what I mean. (PS, and, yes, I hear folks in Alaska are very nice!!!) Good luck!


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