Debora Dale Alt logo
where fear and passion collide
Debora Dale Alt logo
where fear and passion collide

One of the more compelling Twitter hashtags for me is #vss365, which invites followers to write a ‘very short story” and includes a daily prompt. Yesterday’s prompt was “nightfall”. Isn’t that a great word? For me, it conjures all sorts of delicious story ideas–they’re mysterious, romantic, dangerous…

It’s amazing how a single word can so easily stir the senses, thus rousing the muse.



While this prompt set off a flurry of ideas in my mind, one stood out. It was clear, whole, and yet succinct.

What happens at nightfall? We remove the day’s grime, shed the layers of clothing and makeup, and then it’s lights out. Us, alone with ourselves.

And so I posted this simple very short story:

#vss365 #prompt Debora Dale's Nightfall tweet from May 1st: The stranger leaves his house each morning, greeted by friends & coworkers who know him only by the facade he presents. Ah, how clever is his mask! And yet, by #nightfall, as all remnants of the mask are painstakingly removed, it is he who greets the stranger.
As I read other tweets from other authors, my mind kept going back to the word, nightfall. For some reason, the stranger I wrote about, with the mask, felt familiar.

And then I remembered.


It’s déjà vu all over again!

Ages ago, while I was still in middle school, I was in a band. It was an all-girl band in which I sang back-up, and played piano and guitar. There were five of us, best friends, and we’d meet one day each week to play some standards, some contemporary pieces like something (anything) by the Beatles or maybe even something one of us had written.

I actually kept a journal of our meetings, like a diary, and some of our original music and lyrics, Since I still have all of that, I pulled out the box I kept them in, carefully sifted through it all and found what I’d been looking for–a song I’d written way back in the 70’s. I’d called it: “And Night Falls Once Again”

Behold, the chorus:


In case you can’t read my middle-school script, the chorus was: “But when the night comes…They’ll take off their mask. They’re tired from the hard day’s task of pretending. The silly game they play to win… Really has no ending.”

It seems my muse has something she needs to say. It’s taken a lot of years, but I may finally be hearing her. This is the final verse:

Final verse

Final verse reads: “Their tricky ways deceive you. No, this will never end. They won’t remove their mask until… Night falls once again. And night falls once again.”

And night falls once again

What I find even more interesting than simply finding a theme my muse likes to revisit, is the possible reason for it. After flipping through the pages of the journal, I turned to the end to read the final entry, and while I was struck by the hopeful, forward looking tone of it…and the way it circled back to “nightfall”… I was also struck by its finality.

Final journal entry

Final entry reads: “Oh, another thing…I wrote a song Monday (11/12) called “And Night Falls Once Again”. I played it for the others and I think they liked it. Maybe next week we’ll work on that one also. I hope so.”

We never did meet again, not as a band. High school started and we went our own ways, found our own niches and grew up… and apart.

it’s unlikely I’ll ever revisit that song, but the theme, obviously, still intrigues me. Maybe one day I’ll work on those lyrics and turn them into a story.    I hope so.