“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.
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“Hello, my class is taking a field-trip and I’m selling magazine subs—” I slammed the door in his tiny, stupid face.
He might have been eight-years-old, and my reaction might have been cruel, but the kid’s gotta learn the world is a harsh place sometime in his life. Why not now?
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.
This all began when I was a kid — back when I used to think that the Moon followed me. I’d watch it pass through the clouds as my mother drove her aging sedan down the dark highways, always keeping pace with her erratic turns and speed changes … never falling behind. I’d watch it through the rear window, bouncing from treetop to treetop in time with my bounces in the backseat. Tagging along as the car leapt potholes and divots on the midnight country roads where we sent gravel and dust billowing out behind us.
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.
My grandfather remembered the last Shadow Spring, he told me it happened when he was just a boy. 108 years old and he shared his recollection with me as though it had happened in recent memory. He told it as spry and coherent as he’d ever told me anything.