by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Day was light and Ned was fine with all of that, but night should be dark and Ned meant really dark. He didn’t want the street lights or house lights or anything else. He wanted dark. A spasmodic episode with a pen one day at the office gave him an idea. Wite-Out makes everything it touches white against a white background. What he needed was Blak-Out.
Thirty years later, he had it. The black goo itself really only took a few minutes to make, black paint with some flour for thickener. The time consuming part was the spongy applicator. as soon as that was done, Ned took to dabbing his goo on everything (that sounds worse than it actually was). He blacked out all of the man-made lights he could see at night. Unfortunately he lived next to the Interstate and there were multiple accidents and pile-ups when the vehicles lost the use of their headlights. More chaos as Ned blacked out the flashing red lights that soon followed. People wanted to know what the hell was going on, but they couldn’t see to find out. Their cellphone lights - blacked out. Lighters and flashlights - blacked out. Soon even the stars seemed to go out as Ned neatly dabbed at each one. Astronomers across he country went nuts over that.
The pile-ups made for minor news in the Eastern hemisphere the next day. The media there was instead preoccupied with the black-speckled sky and why the Great Hunter had decided to come out during the day for the first time in all the thousands of years that people had known him.