As it sprawled towards its own edges, the city seemed first to panic, and then to die.
It erupted first in neon light and screaming defiance of the night, flashing patchwork signs and music more felt in the bone than heard by the ear. It rioted the dark hours away with modern rituals of banishment, alcohol to forget, dance to warm the writhing bodies within it, smoke to obscure the darkness and strobes to banish it.
It fought against the dying of the light, but with each block, it fought a little less. It accepted more of the night into open windows and broken doorways, and lay grey beneath every heavenly body, like a graveyard erected in ambitious, haphazard masonry. Its sounds receded to a greater distance than their sources would seem to allow, echoing as if from the bottoms of wells or the wires of dying radios. Shutters banging without a breeze to move them. A lone wheel turning, turning somewhere out of sight, catching at the same point in its rotation with a sh