The story begins here.
"What do you think causes the red streak?" the man asked. I declined to answer.
"You think it has something to do with refraction, or with particles in the air filtering the sun's light?" he persisted.
"Of course," I answered finally.
"The sun is gone now," he observed, "yet look behind you." I kept looking right at him.
"I'll step back," the man offered with a chuckle, and he took three long steps back, offering me a buffer of safety. "Look behind you where the red streak was."
Soon curiosity got the better of me and I looked back toward where I had seen the crimson fan glowing in the last rays of the sun, expecting now to see nothing more remarkable than a grey bank of fog. Yet there it was, a crimson fan still glowing faintly in the dusk as though lit by an invisible sun.
Startled, I looked to the west, and there was nothing left in the sky but the faintest residue of a withering sunset. The sun itself was long gone and there was not enough light to illuminate anything. I looked back toward the glowing fan which was noticeably brighter than the sky, and far too large to be the result of man-made lights. Then as I watched, the fan began to fade suddenly as though the sun were setting again, long after it had already set. In a moment it was nothing but a subtly darker smear in the sea of dark grey fog.