Darkness washes along the latitudes, 760 feet per second. It approaches from the west, rolling over the Bering Sea and the Kamchatka peninsula before crossing the sea of Okhotsk and tumbling over eastern Siberia. Darkness falls over tigers in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range and musk deer on the Russian tundra. It unfurls over the vast river plains along the Ob River, over the taiga and Great Steppe, and continues into the Komi Republic west of the Urals. It sweeps through sidewalk cafés in St. Petersburg before pouring out across the Gulf of Finland where viviparous eelpouts, lump suckers and spined loaches are hiding underneath rocks. Myriad mollusks and arthropods rise from deep ravines to feed in the waters the sun has nourished during the day. It darkens in Tallinn and, in the Baltic Sea, a Viking Line ship turns on its navigation lights. Darkness falls on Stockholm half an hour later. It darkens over Lake Malar, Lake Hjälmeren and Lake Vänern, and soon, a forest bordering Norway, where a couple of moose hunters in a small cabin are talking about those goddamned wolves.
Anders and I sit along a river in eastern Norway. The darkness is no more than a suggestion. The sun has disappeared behind the Norway spruces on the western bank and the only sounds we can hear are the river’s mutterings. The skies are slate gray, but a thin strip of clouds catches the sun’s rays and is dyed orange and pink. The world is closing down around us. The river’s turbulence draws lazy figures in the surface.
“It’s gonna happen any minute now.” It’s Anders’ fourth time saying it.
“Mmhm,” I reply.