I used to think reality was made up of choices. A hundred little choices made every day in a row, strung up like a necklace of pearls. You probably think reality is something like this too, each thing that you do could go a hundred different ways, and the only way it goes is the way that you choose for it to go…but that’s not how it works at all. That’s not how anything works. Reality is manipulative, just like people are and it’s manipulating all of us. It’s even manipulating you. You might not think so. Choices are only binary. Yes or no. True or false. There’s no great big gray areas like they tell you.
Category: Unexplained Occurrences (Page 1 of 6)
A little over a week ago is when Kariann Rose Nathan went missing. In the photo they used, she’s holding a stuffed giraffe and smiling wide. A towheaded girl who’s hair is a vibrant yellow, almost white, cascading messily down her shoulders. Adults with teeth missing tend to smile with their lips pursed together but Kariann is beaming, the dark gap of a lost baby tooth in the bottom row on proud display in that way only children with missing teeth can do.
“Hello!” I said as I approached the bench.
The man’s eyes shot up with a start looking up over the thing he held in his hand. “Are you talking to me?” He asked. He looked tired and agitated despite the placid mask of emotionless empty the rest of his face conveyed. I felt my insides lurch, instantly regretting the interaction. I had to keep going so I kept smiling until he smiled back. There was no way he could be like all the rest. If he was, there was no hope. Finally, he did smile and I felt my stomach fall. His smile was exactly like the ones I’d left behind. Fake. False. I felt my heart racing a bit in my chest.
everything in this world is for show.
the worst part is there’s no way to know…
“Let us pray.”
“Heavenly father, we are the family of Holy Cross. Bless us and guide us as we pray together in our church. Teach us wisdom and give strength to our community. Keep our family safe and our moral compasses true. We ask this in your name. Amen.” The congregants voices rise in unison to echo off the rafters of the old wooden building off north Main, just outside of town square.
“You may be seated.” Pastor Thomas, with his palms up, extended, directs them. His wife Gwen mounts the steps to the podium.
“Just a few matters of business to discuss with you all,” she begins.
“How’s she doing?” I asked, tossing Kyle a beer as he mounted the steps to my porch. Beers around sunset was one of our traditions on the weeknights I was lucky enough to be home. We never drank to excess, just a beer or two after work. Over the course of the past week, Kyle began to seem more and more downhearted each night.
I got into an argument with my friend Wil on Facebook last week while I was supposed to be working overnight security at the zoo. It’s an easy job: nobody ever breaks in and the animals never break out. I literally get paid to spend my entire shift writing horror stories sometimes, and if I’m not doing that, I’m watching Netflix or porn on my phone. I wish what I was about to tell you was just more of my fiction. I wish it weren’t true.
The last thing I can remember was lying in that bed. The light of the room was blinding and slowly shapes swirled my vision from either side. My husband was a blur of red and my mother was an orb of blue. They moved around me like spots of blurry bokeh. Then suddenly my world went dark.
I was in the break room munching my way through a kale and cranberry salad. Several of my coworkers sat at the lunch table. Mostly I keep to myself because I much prefer being left alone than being drawn into the droll of their banal conversation.
“Did anyone notice that Carl’s been missing?” Karen asked the room.