Flash Fiction: Neon

I moved from a city that was always dark after ten o’clock, the stars still able to peek through the smog, to shine a little light here and there. Here, I find myself doused, soaked, slick with neon, even when I’ve thought I washed it away, down, down the drain.

Los_Angeles_Basin_at_nightI’m getting used to the sporadic sound of honking horns at three am, the drunken shouting under my window, the women crying, crying, crying. I’m getting used to feeling as though I haven’t properly dried off after a shower, to the feeling of salt caked into my hair after no days at the beach. To the sensation of pollution absorbing into my skin and finding its way to my bloodstream, like nicotine. A bad habit I can’t shake.

It is an hour’s drive to nowhere. A big circle with no shortcuts and a brown haze engulfing everything, turning us all into hypochondriacs. And so I drive, and I drive, and I drive, and by the time I get home I forget where I’ve been all day. In the haze. In the heat.

I walk down the block late, heels clacking against the sidewalk and though they still feel unnatural, I am getting used to them. I’ve painted on a face I never had back in the darkness and to everyone I pass I look like I belong here. Hours later, my red lips will be smeared and faded. Eyeliner caked into lines I didn’t know I had before I came here. Too many drinks and physical contact that I will not ask for. I don’t care. I’m here now. This is how it is.

And by the time I reach the club I’m drenched in neon. Hot pink, green, yellow. I am shivering under the weight of it, developing neon hypothermia. I am cold, cold, cold to the very bone. Neon seeping in, changing the color of my insides. A neon blood disease.

I moved here from a city that was always dark. Stars still able to shine, here and there. Here, there are no stars.

2 Responses to “Flash Fiction: Neon”
  1. Dave says:

    Love your flash fiction, Hannah. The always make me feel something, and this was no exception. I never read your stories, finish, and shrug my shoulders like, “Well, that was ok.”

    This one feels dirty and suffocating, almost claustrophobic, buried beneath non-stop neon lights.

    Favorite sentence: I am shivering under the weight of it, developing neon hypothermia. Or maybe “A neon blood disease.”

    • Wow. I love getting your comments, Dave, but this is a really special one. I am so happy that I could affect at least one person in the way you are affected, because that is the goal!

      Thank you so much for being so encouraging and an awesome reader – you give me so much confidence, and I really appreciate it.

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