A 3-post collection

Challenge #01314-C219: The Long Days

These things are sent to try us and they certainly do. -- Anon Guest

All of the longest days start in the wee small hours. Haven't you noticed? They begin with the nightmare. The terrors. The loud neighbour who accidentally or on purpose blasts five seconds of noise into the air. Or the telemarketer who calls without realising the time where you live. Or the obnoxious party relative who drunk-dials you for no real reason, or under the mistaken assumption that your home is a pizza place.

Regardless, sleep is now unattainable and you attempt to do some quiet work to at least get it out of your way. Except there is some base demon in charge of making certain that nothing quiet works properly in the wee small hours. Or it finds a reason to make noise and you have to scramble to stop it before anyone else wakes up.

Even the smallest noise is magnified at four in the morning.

And heaven help you should you decide to work on a computer in those witching hours. Updates and virus checks will happen, and fail, and need authorisation, and endless reboots just to get you back to where you began.

Then, as the rest of the house wakes at the appointed hour... Chaos! The curse that you brought on before dawn catches to everyone you know and love. The combined minor horsemen of absentmindedness, clumsiness, distraction, and mislaying all work together to ensure that absolutely everything is obeying one law - Murphy's.

This is a day for minor disasters. For the little things to drag you down. For your pantry to run out of favourites. For your account to run out of spare cash. For everyone to need a new pair of shoes. For your medication to need replacing.

It is a day for a thousand errands on no coffee. It is a day of traffic jams and road works. It is a day for everyone to run out of things just as you attempt to get them.

And it is a night of burned dinners and expired pizza coupons, of more vital expense than can easily be afforded. Of arguments and screaming matches and a disaster from too far away that makes an early night impossible despite your exhaustion from the day.

Survival in that forge of exasperation is never easy. It is possible, and draining, and it makes you wonder if life is worth living. But it does throw all the better days into sharp and amazing contrast.

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I can't brain, today.

I have the dumb.

It’s been bought on by a combination of late nights and bad sleep, both through circumstances I can’t control (I’m a Mum, remember?).

I shall be working on tomorrow’s entry in the rare moments when cognisance presents itself. Slowly, so I don’t hurt my wrist. And possibly fuelled by an endless stream of caramel mochachinos.

Then again, given how weirdly poetic I get on sleep dep, I could

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Nor Gloom of Night (Story!)

A little bit of palaver before I delve wholesale into the fiction.

Firstly: I write Science Fiction. Yes, the red-headed stepchild of the fiction arena. Well, sparkly vampires and bodice-rippers be damned, I like┬áScience Fiction. If you don’t, then you don’t have to read this.

Secondly: This story has been rejected by Analog Magazine. I would like to find out why, since the standard rejection letter is a trifle vague. Just… be gentle. My ego bruises

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