David Shipko is a Los Angeles based scholar and writer.


          I stand in the corner, by the window set in the brick wall that stretches in both directions, wrapping around, enclosing my modest but modernly furnished loft apartment. I am staring out at the night city skyline. The building on the opposite street corner towers over my building, dominating with its steel and glass body. The other buildings are mixtures of times and styles and materials. All I can see are buildings and the sky, emptied of stars. Suddenly, the lights in my apartment flicker and go out. A wave of darkness spreads from my building, plunging the city, block by block, into shadow. And the stars come out. I step closer to the window to get a better look. The stars are beautiful. I haven’t seen them in so long. They remind me of something, but I can’t remember what. I realize the air has grown hot. A flicker catches my eye and draws my attention streetward. A fire is raging up the side of the building, consuming it. I can feel I don’t have much time. Panicked, I turn from the window to the couch where my girlfriend is sitting. She looks so calm, so peaceful. I don’t think she knows what is coming. I think the fear in my face frightens her, but I cannot be sure. I want to run to her, to embrace her, to hold her and hug her and kiss her and comfort her and let her know that I love her and that everything is going to be okay. But the flames engulf the room as the floor beneath my feet collapses.