The briefest novel excerpt ever. Featured on Six Sentences:
The old wind-up clock on the bedside table said three a.m. and the boy, sitting on his windowsill, fought to stay awake. The street below was empty except for the occasional moped whirring by in the night, briefly obscuring the nighttime cricket songs of summer and throwing up wisps of smoke. Ship lights blinked in the dark distance and some were so far out to sea that it was hard to tell if they were stars low on the horizon or large vessels about to slip down to the other side of the earth. An hour passed. Drowsiness jumbled his thoughts. He slid off the windowsill and onto his bed. But sleep didn’t come and again he was awake, staring at the stars through the open window. For years, they appeared as white dots painted on a flat surface, but now he could see their depth and understood that the bright ones were closer and the faint ones farther away. The notion of eternity formed for the first time in his brain and he suddenly felt sick. He closed his eyes and tried to think of something else, but the thought would never be far away again.