I was staying with a cousin in New Mexico, not far from Truth or Consequences but still well away from civilization.
To get there, my rental car climbed an unpaved, winding slope to a ranch with no neighboring houses in sight. A dog greeted me at the car and instantly peed on my suitcase.
When it was time for bed, I turned out the light in the guest room and was greeted by darkness that comes only from being nowhere near an artificial light. Even after ten minutes of adjusting, my eyes could not see the walls, the window, the sheets–not anything.
I was drifting off to sleep when I sensed light behind my eyelids. I opened my eyes. There was light coming from outside the window.
The light was bright, but I couldn’t see what was making the light because of the fog. It just hung there in the sky, never moving.
I watched it for what seemed like an hour, but was probably more like five minutes. Then I got bored and tried to go back to sleep.
Soon, the light went out. I knew this because I was still awake when I sensed darkness seize the space in front of my eyelids.
I opened my eyes. I couldn’t see anything.
The next morning, as I carried my newly-washed suitcase out to the car, I looked for a very tall post with a powerful light on it. There was nothing there.
I didn’t ask about the light. I didn’t want to bring up a potentially embarrassing feature of living there. Besides, my cousin was already embarrassed enough about the dog peeing on my suitcase.