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Different storm

June 28, 2014

She had, of course, seen storms approach before. She had never feared rainclouds. But this time, she stood on rocks at the edge of the lake, watching the storm drench the horizon, feeling the damp wind on her face and in her hair, and a small shiver forecast fear up her spine.

I refuse to stand down, she whispered, unable to raise her voice. The rocks beneath her grew slippery as the waves around them chopped and swirled. She could not tell why or how, but this storm was different from all the rest.

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It only takes one car

June 26, 2014

She had taken to standing on the center line of empty roads, her eyes closed and her face turned toward the sky. It’s like Russian Roulette, she told him. It only takes one car.

But won’t you hear it coming? he asked. Won’t there be time to get out of the way? He hoped she just pretended not to hear his questions.

He thought about the way her hair blew across her face on windy days. He thought about how car wheels hissed against pavement. He wondered if, at the last second, she would run.

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Without notice

June 22, 2014

They left without notice, taking only what they could carry. The crucifix still hung on the wall in the bedroom, the record player waited patiently for the drop of a wax record, a perfume bottle left open released its scent.

He found the house when dust had settled on the dressers, the side tables, the sofas. He marveled at the beds left made, the brittle wallpaper, the dishes in the sink made clean by industrious bugs. He wondered how the family had been able to make such a clean getaway. He wondered how they knew the time was right.

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Stop sign

June 8, 2014

He knew there was a stop sign somewhere nearby—he could see its shadow on the wall, but when he turned to find it, blinding light obscured the sign. But the eight-sided shadow made the situation clear enough: he should consider this before proceeding.

It was not in his nature to be a cautious man. He preferred action over thought, decisiveness over examination, movement over contemplation. But a small pinprick in the vicinity of his soul warned him to take heed. This time, he should pause before deciding the next best course.

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The untethered man

May 22, 2014

He never asked for the ability to float in mid-air. It just happened one day, his feet leaving the ground, his stomach turning once, twice, then settling into its new relation to gravity.

In meetings, he bobbed at one end of the table like a balloon from a long-ago office party. He knew how they all felt about this development. He had seen more than one eye roll in the seated bunch.

They’re just jealous, he told his wife as he hovered in the kitchen one night. They are all so tethered, they can’t see my point of view.

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Open without warning

May 20, 2014

They lived in a house where the upstairs windows flew open without warning, the wind slipping wispy fingers between frame and sill and flinging open the casements.

She worried they’d come home one evening after work and realize the cat had slipped out on her own, long-desired adventure. Can’t you bolt them shut? she asked. She was not a woman who knew how to do things with her hands.

He held back from answering, though he could have easily solved the problem. But he feared locking the windows would mean settling for a life without surprises.

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When the little one fell

May 8, 2014

The small, falling bird brushed me with flailing wings, then slapped the concrete balcony floor behind me. It was dead on impact, but looked like it was waiting to revive itself and fly home.

I had watched the bird’s mother from my bedroom window as she built a nest on the balcony above mine, warmed her eggs, fed her hatchlings. On warm nights when I sat outside, I had heard chirping after they were born.

I did not know where the mother was that night, nor if she ever learned how her little one disappeared.

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