#FridayFlash: Work in the Daylight


Gotta get as much done in daylight as possible.

Most folks take to cellars at night, or underground vaults if they got ‘em. If they don’t they hole up best they can and try to wait it out. But wooden shutters ain’t much.

In the morning we come out and take stock. Did we lose livestock? We hope so, otherwise we might’ve lost people. How many? Anyone lose a door? Window? God forbid, a wall? Gotta get that fixed quick. While some of us do that others get to work, try and conduct business, like we’re normal. Still need money, food, supplies. When traders come through we might make serious money on the rocks. Other times we just do what we can.

Getting supplies is tricky. We tell ‘em to make their delivery drivers stay outside town until sun-up. We only do business during daylight. No, there’s no inn to stay at. No, there ain’t a hotel. No, the saloon don’t rent rooms. All drivers have to stay over in Creigsville for the night and get here quick as they can at first light. We do all we can during the day, then they need to get back to Creigsville by sundown.

Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, well….

Some comp’nies won’t do business with us anymore. Their drivers get spooked or don’t come back, horse teams get lost … it just ain’t worth it to ‘em. So we only work with a handful of comp’nies for supplies.

Some raw materials we can bring in. We got some woods just outside town a bit. Send a couple men out to cut down a few trees, or drag back deadfalls. During the day, of course. We mill those ourselves, no need to send that out.

We raise livestock like I said. It’s just not easy keeping all of them alive through the night.

Some farms produce. It’s just hard to farm under these conditions.

Other stuff we need. Like clothes or textiles, flour, sugar.

Winters are hard.

First thing a traveler might notice is how heavy we build things here. Barns are strong. Thicker than normal. Houses too. We need the strength, but wood ain’t the best barrier. Way back, some folks dug cellars and vaults. Lined ‘em with concrete, when you could still get it. Those are best. Folks can snug up safe and sound in concrete, and if it’s built right, they don’t even hear what happens after dark.

You can tell the ones who do hear by their eyes. Haunted. Gaunt, drawn faces. Paler than others. Yeah, those are the ones that heard. Sleep’s a demon for them. It’s not pleasant when it comes.

Evenings are spent stocking up. Making sure everything and everyone’s where it oughta be. Inside, locked down, by sundown. Everyone.

Sometimes I shudder when I remember times someone didn’t make it, or had one last thing to do. I try not to remember their faces, their screams.

I’m haunted by their screams.

Copyright J. Dane Tyler 2010, All rights reserved

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9 thoughts on “#FridayFlash: Work in the Daylight

  1. I really want to know what happens at night. Thank the gods I am not a cat. (^v^)

    Thank you Diandra! This is actually a little worldbuilding practice. I’m glad it had you curious, and thank you for taking the time to read and comment! Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  2. Gremlins. It’s gotta be gremlins. Somebody fed them after midnight.

    When will these people ever learn to read the directions? 🙂 Thanks for the read and comment Bryce. 🙂

  3. Oh, yeah, this gets the imagination jumping! If this were the opening of a story or novel, I’d definitely have to read on.

    Linda! What a pleasure to see you here! I’ve been following your CWS progress on your blog and assumed with the editing of your own novel and the WS you wouldn’t have time anymore for our #fridayflash pieces. Thank you so much for taking time to read and offer me that encouraging remark! This is exactly what I hoped for and I appreciate you saying it! Thank you!

  4. Vampires? They can only come out at night (or so I’m told!!), and might be partial to a driver or three…

    I’ll never tell. 😉

    Love the atmosphere – it’s totally convincing. 🙂

    Thank you so much Aislinnye24! I appreciate that so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Have a great weekend!

  5. A think it’s “The Village” meets “Twilight.” Like the concept, it’s a great hook!

    Thank you Louise! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve missed your entry this week, and hope you’ll be back with us next week! Take care. 🙂

  6. I rather like that you don’t tell us what’s out there. It lets my own imagination fill in the horrible blanks. The sense of urgency is like a character itself, and totally infectious.

    Very well done.

    Thank you very much, Gracie! What a wonderful and kind comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. 🙂

  7. This has got to be the best story I’ve read this week! Masterful control of the rising suspense, and I really like how, even as the information flows, there is no mention of what is out there. Any chance of a sequel with a reveal?

    Sam, thank you so much. I’m flattered you enjoyed the vignette enough to consider it the best you’ve read this week. *blush* To be honest, this is a practice vignette for world-building. I just wanted to engross a reader in a world, a setting, in as few words as possible (this one’s about 500). But it’s been so popular, I may have to follow it up, though some would say a “reveal” would spoil the effect. 🙂 Once again, thank you!

  8. Very cool reveal. Kinda like The Village. Oooh.

    Thanks, Carrie. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece, and thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my work. 🙂 I’m honored!

  9. Wonderful – just enough to get our own imaginations working overtime

    Julie, thank you so much. That’s precisely where I wanted the piece to take you — into your own imagination. This particular piece was a world-building exercise, wherein I’m trying to paint a world which immerses the reader in as few words as possible. This one’s about 500, and it seems to be a success. Thank you very much for the time you took to read and comment; I appreciate it greatly! Happy weekend!

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