Goddamned Daystar

All of his life, Jonah has been a night creature. Being more at home once the sun had gone down made living in the world a difficulty at the best of times. Despite the abnormality of his habits, his parents had been very accommodating. They’d realized it was just easier to find ways to adjust instead of fighting. Homeschooling him until he surpassed their abilities, then finding him night classes at the community collage. It meant a G.E.D. instead of a diploma, but he didn’t mind.

For a darkness-lover, Jonah was not himself very dark. He enjoyed bright colors and happy things. Stayed away from horror movies, and heavier reading material. He enjoyed KPop and Top 40 when he listened to music. His favorite games were puzzlers, and sometimes adventure. He was, in general, an upbeat and optimistic character.

When he was old enough, it was actually easy for him to land a job. He just had to agree to take the unpopular overnight shift at a convenience store. It worked out very well for everyone. His manager didn’t have to keep bribing and threatening workers to cover the hours, and Jonah didn’t have to worry about the sun and being awake so early. For months, there was a steady rhythm to life.

Problems didn’t arise until the chain decided to end their super late hours of operation. Being open past nine pm was proving to be more expensive than they wanted. The amount of dollars it cost far outweighed any benefit. THe change was made with no warning. Jonah was given the earliest shift, which began at 4 in the morning. Even he thought this was an acceptable compromise to losing his job entirely. He’d get home mid-morning, be able to go right to bed. No problem.

He was sleepy on his first shift, it being so late for him, but everything went fine otherwise. With the register at the back of the store, the light only got to him as a haze through the window tint. It was pretty easy to avoid looking at it for too long.

At the end of his shift, Jonah donned the extremely dark sunglasses he’d found, and said goodbye to his shift replacement, ready to get home and sleep. The sun was much brighter than he’d anticipated, hurting his eyes even through the nearly opaque black lenses. Also a good deal hotter. He felt like it shouldn’t be so warm so early in the day, and definitely not for the time of year. He turned up the collar on his jacket, hoping it would help protect him better.

The heat rose and rose, however. He felt as if even the skin that was covered was vexed by the UV rays. It wasn’t possible, he knew. He just wasn’t used to dealing with the daylight and everything that came with it. His body was panicking a little bit. It was psychosomatic. Had to be.

He reached for the handle on the car door, his eyes catching two odd things immediately. The first – his hand was charred and black at the tips of his fingers. The second – smoke wafted from the edge of his sleeve. Before the lack of pain could cause him any wonder, Jonah noted the flicker of sudden flame.


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