Dusk was breaking. As the sun fell very slowly, its red light dripped on my hand, soaking my dirty fingernails with its brilliant crimson. I hid my hands in my bulging pocket, dispirited by the absence of nocturnal songsters. The light swept across the murky water, leaving stains upon the fish and their wicked murmurs, the algae and their infinitesimal lives, the broken branch and its dry corpse—closer and closer each time I looked, its emaciated arms punctured and askew. The sun sunk gradually, obliviously, and the water absorbed the crimson light that was the sun’s lifeblood.
Fleeting darkness took over, cloaking the blood under its curtain. By the river, I could see nothing but my own image, staring back at me from the motionless water. My crooked nose, cracked, busted lips, eyes like an animal’s, ghostly pale skin that was once green with envy, red with anger, purple with hatred. A blink of an eye and it was me no more. A phantom with a bloody third eye stared back at me, a dead soul—perhaps that of the blood drained sun or of the amputated tree. We were both silent. The words were stuck in my throat, their blades cutting into my veins. Or perhaps his silence muffled me. I slashed my hand across the water and he vanished, just like a vapor, as if he was but a figment of my imagination. How I wish that was what he was. That was when I left the side of the river, my throat burning with thirst.