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The red light loomed over the ocean forcing its color into the dark water. It pushed down on the sun until it almost disappeared behind the palm trees that lined the horizon. The waves slapped the brambles littering the beach, and salt slid through the air, permeating the coast with its odor.

The small hut stood in the missionary’s way as he desperately pulled his camera from his backpack. He bobbled the case trying to unzip it while he watched the sun fight for its last breath. The bloody clouds shot flaming tentacles across the sky that lengthened as each second passed.

The missionary unsheathed the camera and dropped the soft leather case carelessly. He turned the camera on as he hustled around the crumbling shack. Two dark figures followed him not understanding what spawned his sudden rushing motions.

The sky either burned crimson from horizon to horizon or spewed injured blood from a giant wound. Either looked possible as he raised the cheap thirty five millimeter to his face.

A thrilling sensation flitted through his body as he hoped to capture what he now beheld and freeze the view in time. He shivered despite the warm breeze that pushed past him.

Closing his left eye, he stared through the camera catching the last moment of the descending sun. Desperately he pushed the button praying for the film to grab enough light to entrap the bleeding sky.

A dark hand touched the missionary’s left shoulder and he caught a glimpse of a white shirt to his right. He ignored both as he took another picture . . . and another.

The sky sunk slowly to the earth as if being weighed down like a rag soaking up blood. He stood completely still for a long moment then shook his head. Crimson clouds darkened to maroon, then purple. Then the light died, fading away completely. The clouds, wearing only dark grey tones, mourned the passing of both the sun and its colorful rays.

The missionary turned, suddenly aware of his missing camera case. The darkness made it difficult to locate. He only spotted it because the case was blacker than the shadows.

As he turned to pick it up he noticed his companion holding his own camera case. It sat unopened and his companion slipped it back into his pack with failed hands. The missionary bent over and picked up the leather case. He shook off the sand before zipping it around his camera and sliding it back into his pack.

Sighing, he turned to say goodbye to his confused hosts.

* I wrote this either in 2001 or 2002 as a homework assignment in one of my writing courses. I just stumbled across it.