Kora can neither stand nor fall. The Earth is shifting up, down, across. It is far more befuddling than frightening until the ground opens under her. Terror consumes her as she plunges into the chasm.
Kora wakes with a terrified scream. Her heart is beating at an impossible, near to rupture rate. Each hand grasps the end of the headboard in a death grip.
“Not again! No. No. No more. For God’s sake, no more. Please.”
They were not dreams or visions. For the last seven days, Kora lived through personal disasters. The episodes were as real as anything she had ever felt in her life. Night or day, work or play, the events came lasting for seconds, but their devastating impact on her would last for her lifetime.
Marcus composes the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for his clients in his head on his way to work. He immediately opens his word processor at his office and dictates the MOU. It takes less than five minutes. But when he reads it back, it is a “fucking” poem.
Fear venom injected
into news cycles
into social media
inhaled in every breath
advanced in every step
sensed in every glance
paranoia rule us
ride us to a dead-end
“What the fuck! No way. Somebody is playing games somewhere. Where the hell is my MOU? Where did this shit come from? I should delete this crap. No, I need to leave it so tech support can see what is going on. I’ll just type the goddam memo. Fucking buggy Microsoft shit.”
As Marcus types in his document, he realizes he will not report this incident to tech support or anyone else. They would all think he is crazy. The most logical conclusion is that his mind is playing tricks on him. That kind of suspicion is the last thing he needs in his life right now.
Fifteen minutes later, Marcus saves the completed document. However, when he reads the screen, it’s the same “fucking shit poetry.” Marcus sits there sweating and shaking, overwhelmed by fear for his sanity.
Fawn wakes before the alarm rings. She is eager for her first day in middle school. She has the perfect outfit, hair, and makeup to show Vivienne Gayle what an awesome blossom she is. Vivienne will realize at first glance they were meant to be together.
Fawn jumps out of bed, crosses to her bathroom, and steps into his room. She is too terrified to move or scream.
He sees her.
She does the impossible and commands her fear-frozen body to stumble back into her bathroom.
She collapses on her bathroom floor. She has urinated on herself. Huddled on the floor, she is shaking with fear.
Minutes later, she yells, “Mom! as she opens her bedroom door to the hallway and steps out into his room—again.
Beck is 90 years old, but he tells his fellow residents in the assisted living facility that he only feels like 89.
The pain is only in his elbows and knees this morning. To his great relief, there is very little hip or hand pain.
He slowly dons his slacks, dress shirt, and bow tie. He admires his spit-shined shoes as he slips them on.
He uses his walker to move to the full-length mirror.
He sees himself in the mirror, but he is 16, and he and two of his brothers are beating a faggot to death down by the docks. His 16-year-old self smiles at him and invites him in.
He wants to join them in the worst way, and he wants to, needs to flee with every ounce of his will.
Minn dies at 87 in her sleep in her bed in her daughter’s house at 2:02 am.
Minn knows she is dead, but she is ravenous, but not for long. Her great-grandchildren are in the bedroom next to her.
Ja Gee’s flight home to Seattle on New Year’s Eve 2021was delayed and then canceled, as were the next three flights from BWI to Seattle.
However, Ja was fortunate to book a flight from Reagan National Airport to Spokane, Washington, and get ground transportation from BWI to Reagan National in time to make his flight.
An exhausted Ja slept through the flight and arrived in Spokane 20 minutes early on New Year’s Day 2031.
He was promptly arrested for unauthorized time travel and subjected to enhanced interrogation.
Glenn Hays, the fiction writer, wakes at 2:02 am on January 30, 2022, in his home in Oakland, California, and texts his sister, Yolo, “The next virus will infect reality.”
Yolo Hays, the physicist, wakes at 2:02 am on January 30, 2022, in her home in Brentwood, California, and texts her brother, Glenn, “The next virus will infect reality.”