Writing Exercise: When she woke the second time, it was already light

July 31, 2009

Sergio’s glowed with toney orange hues, a well-heeled Californian’s idea of the perfect Italian bistro. It meant that Elizabeth’s co-workers HAD to go. And Elizabeth, dutiful prole she was, would join them.

All six of them–Elizabeth, her supervisor Frank, and her fellow programmers Pam, Julie, Mike, and Bonnie–surrounded the oak table. Everyone else’s conversations revolved forceably around work. They’d been working on the Web design to end ’em all for a clothing retailer, and instead of enjoying the (very good) wine and the view of the California coast from the restaurant’s picture windows, Liz’s partners in cubicle crime were talking code, deadlines, and capri pants.

She tuned them out readily, until their blather began to grow mutable and diffuse. Liz took one last swallow of the cab she’d ordered, quietly excused herself from the table, and walked towards the exit.

The large wooden doors opened with a deep oaken creak, and she stepped out into the evening air. The sun had just about completely descended, casting its final few fragments of orange/yellow light against the restive ocean water and filtering through the numerous trees that divided the restaurant and the beach below. It would be a great night to sleep among the stars.

A cool wind played with the curls in her hair as she walked further away from Sergio’s, along a winding forest path bracketed with tall conifers and numerous bushes. At one point, she decided to leave the trail entirely and forge her own direct route to the beach. The path she trod took her into a clearing surrounded on all sides by trees.One small gap shone through, an opening that presented the tidewater and the beach sand in all its dusky glory.

Narcosis began to overtake Liz, and she lay contentedly in the tall grass. Just above her, peering down upon her reclining form were thousands of stars. The balmy clime enveloped and comforted her. She felt her eyelids grow heavy, and she drifted off to slumber.

Spectral figures walked the beach diaphanously in her mind, restless and pale. In her dreams she took solace in their quiet vigil. Once, she heard them whisper to her, just loudly enough to rouse her from her slumber. At that point the rich indigo above her was smeared with clouds that obscured the pinpricks of starlight all ’round. As Liz’s eyes began to once more drift shut, the view through her heavy lids smeared the stars into diffuse figures, just like the ones that drifted along the beach.

When she woke the second time, it was already light.

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