it was hard for richard to fathom how empty everything felt; it was harder for him to care. it was simply not empty here. in the back of his skull, richard registered that he was there to pick someone up. soon, he thought.

cars were scattered through the streets and parking lot, and people milled themselves across terminals, down stairs, and through baggage claims. he knew this because he could hear these things happening.

in front of richard’s skull were lights. his phone was silently geocaching his location as the hector international airport in fargo, north dakota. tonight, he had been told, was a beautiful night.

the lights were silent. everything was silent now. richard kept walking along the sidewalk. nothing called out to him from the darkness; nothing beckoned him forward. his phone screen read 23:37 p.m.