There was movement outside. It was almost midnight but something or someone had cast a momentary shadow from the streetlamp just in front of the house.
Maddie slid out of bed. She peeked through the gap between her window curtains. Moths flit around the streetlamp. All was still otherwise. She stood there for a few seconds, straining her eyes and ears.
Nothing. If not her then surely the cameras would detect anyone sneaking around. Still, Maddie waited, unable to fall asleep anyway. The suburbs were too quiet. They said it was safer here.
Finally, Maddie climbed back into bed. The squeaking mattress and ruffling of her blanket seemed much too loud. As she pulled the sheets over herself she thought she heard barking in the distance. She stopped to listen and kept her eyes on the window.
Then she heard the bedroom door creak behind her.
“Run faster!” she rasped and collapsed.
The bumblebee trailed through the flowerbed in lazy zigzags. She dipped into blue and yellow blossoms.
Then something swooshed from overhead. In a second, white netting dragged the bee down and folded around her. A pathetic buzz nearly crumpled her wings. A human child crouched over his captured specimen and marveled at the frightened insect. He pinched his net to dump the critter into a glass jar.
The child, being rather young, was not careful enough. The bee squeezed her fuzzy self through a gap between the net and jar. Before anything could be done she escaped in full speed toward her nest.
The bee flew ragged wings and lived for a few more weeks.
Cat got sick. Rat got fat.
He used to be restless at night. Pain made it hard for him to sleep for several hours straight. Finally, after weeks of treatment and surgery, he was able to get rest. At first he would be able sleep a couple hours at a time. Then he could spend the whole night in bed without stirring. Now he could be out for the whole night and not wake up until noon, understandably. You could tell he was dreaming because he’d have a slight smile and would wake up clear-eyed despite the rest of his body. Last night he smiled. It must have been a really good dream. So good he wouldn’t wake up at all.
It wasn’t every day that Lisa encountered a dazzling man while looking for spinach. But today she did.
She was on her way to the fresh produce and just like that, a man, a beautiful man holding a grocery basket, turned out of an aisle and was walking towards her. Just as they were close enough for Lisa to greet him with a shy smile, his hand reached into his pocket, pulled out a phone, and he smiled a perfect smile. His eyes were staring into his smartphone.
Lisa got a good glance at his angular facial features, tall stature donning a clean and classy sweater-and-jeans outfit. Around his neck hung a medical student I.D. tag. The man only looked up after Lisa had passed. Who was making him smile like that on his phone? A girlfriend perhaps?
Lisa kept resenting that moment afterwards. Not that she would have done anything beyond a smile. She wasn’t brave enough. But maybe she would have if she’d had the chance, she reasoned. At the leafy greens section she couldn’t decide between getting a bag of spring mix salad or sticking to the regular spinach she had intended and usually got. In reality, her mind wasn’t too focused on what she needed to buy. The image of the tall man stayed at the forefront of her mind. She stood in front of the lettuce and greens, right in the middle of the aisle for several long seconds.
Someone was trying to get passed behind her. Lisa mumbled a sorry and stepped toward the spinach. She glanced back at the person now walking away from her. It was him!
She’d missed him again! Should she go talk to him? Another glance and she could see that he had no ring on. Was this fate?
Yet he was already turning into another aisle. For a split second Lisa despaired. To run towards him would be too much of an embarrassing effort. No. If anything, his turning the corner, perhaps never to be seen by her again, was a confirmation that fate was not planning such a union.
Lisa sighed. She grabbed her spinach and headed for the cash registers. On the way, she was stopped by the store’s selection of ice creams. A tub of toffee ice cream in one hand and the spinach in the other, Lisa left the grocery store and the beautiful man.
Katrina had a fear of ants. In fact, because of her fear, she hated them. When she saw one, she would stomp on them, squish them, smush them to death. Oddly enough, this made her even more afraid of them as the idea came to her one day, what if ants suddenly became intelligent enough to mobilize and take revenge against her? This fear made her want to kill every ant she saw so as not to have any ant witnesses.
One night, an incredible thing happened to Katrina. She found herself turned into an ant and was carrying a heavy seed, twice here size, in her jaws. As she was scurrying along a shadow came over her and she looked up to see the bottom of a giant shoe –her shoe closing down on her! Katrina the ant scurried as fast as she could but the shoe was too big and fast. The shoe came down closer and closer until all went black.
Fortunately this was only a nightmare and Katrina woke up in a cold sweat. But one might say she woke up as a new person because she never did kill another ant afterward.