- You slap a mosquito on your arm. When you lift your hand, the tiny bite seeps a long trickle of blood. You wipe it away with your hand but the blood keeps coming. You begin to feel lightheaded as you search for a paper towel.
- You sit with your family in the living room, watching the evening news. The weatherman pretends to wipe sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. “It’s a real scorcher out there folks!”
“IT’S A REAL SCORCHER OUT THERE FOLKS,” your whole family echoes in the living room.
“Have a great night and don’t forget to stay cool!” the weatherman says and then stands motionless for several seconds, smiling into the camera as your family repeats, “STAY COOL!”
His eyes dart to something off camera a split-second before the broadcast cuts to a car dealership commercial. Though the smile never leaves his face, you’re certain his eyes flashed with panic.
- As a child, you spend a bright day at the beach with your little sister. You set out to impress her by leading her several hundred feet from the shore to a sandbar, “a magic island,” you tell her, where the water is only ankle-deep. You sit and play as she slowly sinks beneath the gentle current while you remain in just a few inches of water. You turn your head to scan the shore for your parents and when you look back, she has vanished. You swim back to alert them but seem to forget what you were going to say before you reach them. They never mention her.
- You take the same road home every night on your way home from work. One night, you swerve just in time to avoid an enormous iguana thrashing on the pavement. You stop at the next light, wondering if it was injured and if you could have done anything to help. The next night, the same thing happens. And the night after that. You never stop. After the fourth night, wracked with guilt, you promise yourself you will, but as you slow down near the spot where you always find the lizard, the urge to flee floods your veins like hot, black oil. You blow through five red lights before you reach home. When your work week starts anew, you take a different road home.
- Every year, falling mangoes seem to get harder and heavier. The first year, it’s a tragic rash of family pets being killed. Each year after, the human death toll increases until crews are dispatched to cut all the mango trees down. The trees respond by raining mangoes down on the workers, stopping only when they are all dead. From then on, people are required to wear helmets outdoors during mango season and local news channels run stories about the spike in home and auto insurance claims and ER visits for broken bones in between commercials for impact-resistant carports and personal injury attorneys.
- A loud boom followed by darkness jars you awake from an afternoon nap. A transformer must have exploded, you guess, trying to steady your heart. You recall just minutes ago, watching the skies darken through the kitchen window as you washed the dishes. You peer through the gap in the curtains, blinking and trying to adjust your eyes but there’s only pitch blackness and the cacophony of car alarms.
- You reluctantly stop to pump gas in a rough neighborhood that’s been in the news recently for a bizarre, cannibalistic attack attributed to some new street drug you’ve never heard of. You notice a homeless man watching you from the sidewalk as you go inside to pay. He smiles, revealing a row of sharp, yellow teeth. The woman behind you in line drops her bag, spilling its contents. You help her gather her things and without a word, she fixes a gold safety pin threaded with two beads, one black, one red, to your left shirt pocket before she hurries out the door. As the glass door closes. you hear a woman’s voice shouting in Creole followed by what sounds like dogs fighting but there isn’t a soul in sight when you rush outside. You decide to get gas somewhere else but when you start the car, the needle on your gas gauge swings up, just a hair past the “F.”