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You look out the window, and up, and into the night. The stars seem particularly luminous, perhaps, you think, due to the humidity. Light refraction, optics, things you know nothing about.

Your mother is talking. ‘…give you time,’ she is saying.

‘What?’ you say. You are thinking about the sky made of water. About beams of light bending to earth.

‘Fire,’ says your mother.

There is a park across the street from your apartment building. You look through the leaves of the trees and see a child in a teeshirt with no sleeves. He’s looking at you. His mouth makes a series of shapes, and he points in your direction.

The child is yelling something. He is alone in the park, as far as you can tell. It is dark. Blades of grass push up into humid air as the child is yelling something. At you? You wonder if you recognize the child. It is difficult to tell from four stories up. When you were a child you would go to the community swimming pool with your schoolmates, and the sting of chlorine stayed in your hair and in your black bathing suit that made you feel grown up. You would watch teenagers inelegantly diving from the high dive, worried that you might see them die, somehow. The smell of chlorine is like that, you think.

You tell your mother to wait. ‘Wait,’ you say to your mother. She says nothing, and hangs up the phone.

You place the phone on its cradle on the end table by the tweed couch. You think you notice a smell, but it is faint and difficult to describe. It is perhaps the smell of new plastic.

There is a muffled creaking sound from above you, which is the roof. The plastic smell becomes stronger and is coming from the kitchen, you think, maybe. It is ten o’clock. There is another sound from the roof. Your apartment is on the top floor.


A. Call your mother back, possibly just to say goodbye.
B. Wonder whether this building has an attic, or a crawlspace, or perhaps mice.
C. Walk into the kitchen, although you are not hungry.
D. Open the window and call to the child in the park.
Leslie Allen's profile photoDeAnne D.'s profile photoAltay Akgun's profile photoJesse Morris's profile photo
Again C. I even open the fridge and stare gape-mouthed into it for a full minute before shudder wracks my whole body and I say out loud, I'm not hungry.
D. This kid seems to know something I don't know.
Tam S
D - Is this kid really trying to get my attention and shouldn't he be at home in bed?
D. Also I wave to him graciously, all parade float style.

(Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist)
+Leslie Allen Ahahaha! I use that phrase all the time...except prefaced with "touch the pearls, wave at the peasants." I call it my Queen Elizabeth maneuver. ;)

+Tam S Well, to be fair; your apartment is on fire. Perhaps the boy is from behind the locked door...dun..dun..DUUUUUNNNN! ;)
B - think of the possibilities for eldritch horror.
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