J.Andrew Goss is an artist and writer living in the wine country of the Missouri River Hills. He is currently an MFA student at Lindenwood University.
The Hardest Button
Noah existed in the event horizon of street lamps and neon signs-that place where the radiance finally gives way to the night’s pull. Constantly leering over his shoulder and into the fray, all the while struggling for the light. His pursuer would come, and the fact that it was equally likely to burst forth at the trumpeting of cannon blasts or gradually build from a whimper, made his continued existence all the more terrifying. "Can't you just get over it," his father would say, feigning concern. They say time heals wounds but Noah wasn't convinced. First it was summer’s flash storms, then crowds, then the absence of crowds. Now it was everything, around every corner. Noah would kill for only a chance to right his ship. Maybe kill is the wrong word, he thought. Two weeks ago, exhausted from an afternoon of exploiting the mayfly hatch down in the pools past the rapids, Noah kicked his boots up on his parents couch, waiting for his mother to return from town. When her timid hand shook his shoulder, Noah was nowhere near South Dakota, his parent’s home, or their couch. The sun stung his vision and he kept firing. He couldn’t hear the rifle’s report, his consciousness shutting down nonessential system. Vision and motor skills, his only life support, were online. His tongue swelled in his mouth and he forgot how to scream. He felt the enemy grab his shoulder and spin him. Instinctively, Noah pulled his M9 from its sheath and was on top of the enemy. The brown eyes, scared and sad, peered up at him as he pressed his blade hard against the flesh, ready to slice. Noah blinked and found his mother beneath him, locked in terror. It would be forever, the dark’s relentless pull.