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99 The Second Coming

For Monday, Solar Eclipse Day, April 8, Day #99 of Story-a-Day Challenge

By Gerard DiLeoPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read

As the sunlight began to wane and day made way for night, nocturnal creatures stir as another dusk spreads across the horizon.

First, the birds chirp noisily, anticipating the first wave of the evening insects taking flight. Second, follow the cicadas and the other Orthoptera, playing their game of survival, a game of numbers--a true lottery. They play the odds, just as their prey do likewise.

The diurnal hungry cascade in two directions, balancing consuming with consumption.

Photophobia is overrated.

The light from the sun continues to fade, the hoots and screeches sound, owls' plumage creating an advantage of circular dish-like audio collectors focusing sound waves to highly attuned ears.

The cicadas are the loudest, with sound organs called tymbals making clicks. The clincking coalesces with that of fellow fliers into the buzzing we now hear all around us.

They know.

Their cacophany will go silent by the time it becomes actual nighttime, when they handoff the night's sounds to the the katydids and crickets.

Next, frogs come on stage. Today, April 8, is into Spring, and the "spring peepers" and wood frogs enter the pastoral with their own contrapuntal harmonies. Their calls croak higher now that their muscles move more energetically in the warmer air.

And finally, the excitement of anticipation invokes reverent whispers and cooing from the human crowd.

For something strange is happening.

Sun spots? No. Sun pox. [Author + Solar Eclipse + Colander]

Dusk no longer centers on the West. The horizon encircles us in rust, over 360º. Looking to the ground, we witness shadow bands on the ground, propelled in thin, wavy, parallel lines: umbras portraying a planet's atmospheric detail. Looking down, our own shadows are so sharply bordered as to mimic anthropomorphic cookie-cutters.

The spectators all knew this had happened before, on this exact same spot, intersecting with that of August 21, 2017 — the circumferentujal dusk, the shadow bands, and ultimately the blackest black that can be witnessed: the black of totality that promised to render all the phenomena in reverse:

The silence of the Orthoptera, preceding the nesting of the other birds, preceding the reappearance of the Sun as a false dawn.

This reverse timeline serves the punchline for the the birds and insects, because the joke was on them.



This was written before today, as I intended to drive to Northwestern Vermont April 8 to don my eclipse glasses and join the universe. As such, at the time of this writing, pending weather, I didn't even know if the skies were going to oblige me. (I will let you know!)


Ya had to be there!

This piece also has a companion poem, submitted for the "In Eclipse" Challenge: From Dawn to Dusk to Dawn, and ecliptic acrostic. (


Word count (excluding notes): 365

Submitted for Monday, April 8, 2024

2024: A Story-a-Day for the whole year. This one is #99.

Have a nice Sol!

There are currenly three Vocal creators still participating in the Story-a-Day Challenge:



About the Creator

Gerard DiLeo

Retired, not tired. In Life Phase II: Living and writing from a decommissioned church in Hull, MA. (Phase I was New Orleans and everything that entails. Hippocampus, behave!

[email protected]

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    Hahahahahahahahaha the colander 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Hopefully you get to witness the eclipse!

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