Connor fell to his knees on the forest floor. His heart beat as if attempting to escape the confines of his chest.
Anticipating the worst, he slowly turned around. When he saw that nothing was chasing him, Connor resumed breathing. But he knew this reprieve wouldn’t be for long.
The scent of pine filled the air, but it offered no comfort. Green leaves had begun their autumn journey to red, gold, yellow, orange, red, and purple. Conner thought he’d be long dead before the leaves fluttered to the ground.
He fished through his pockets and extracted a Snickers bar and…
“How does it spread?” Alicia asked. She willed her trembling hands to stillness.
“We don’t know,” Toby replied.
“Where did it come from?”
Toby shook his head. “We can’t even begin to guess.”
Alicia slid open her desk drawer, rummaged around for a few moments, located two miniature liquor bottles, gin and vodka, unscrewed the vodka’s cap, and downed the entire bottle in one gulp. She opened the gin bottle and queued it up. Alicia glanced numbly at her 2017 Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics, which hung alongside a photograph of her and Freeman Dyson. “It’s a virus?” …
“Hun, look at these eggs.”
“At eggs?” Stuart asked.
“Watch,” Chenoa said. “This is a raw egg.” She placed it in the bubbling water. Thirty seconds later, she spooned the egg out of the pot, peeled the shell, and handed it to Stuart. “The first egg that I cooked for the usual nine minutes exploded. It took a few tries for me to figure out that I only need thirty seconds to hard boil an egg.”
“What does that mean? Did the eggs come from a special chicken?”
“No, they’re from a regular chicken.” Chenoa retrieved her phone from her…
He wears his Fitbit while running to calculate when he’s burned enough calories, while sleeping to know when it’s healthy to get out of bed, while making love so he hits his peak heart rate at the ideal moment, at the office so the stress alert warns him when to take a break, during movies to assess if he needs to avert his eyes from scary scenes because his breathing deviates from its normal range, while driving so the skin temperature sensor advises him how much to adjust the car’s air conditioning, at restaurants so he can monitor his…
Isabel’s eyes opened wide when she heard the front door lock click.
“Daddy’s back!” Isabel bent at the knees, coiling energy in anticipation of a dash to the door, but Angeline pinched the back of her blue and white striped dress from her perch on the sofa, holding her in place.
“Don’t run, sweetie. You’ll get hotter. That’s not good for you.”
“Okay, Mommy.” Isabel walked across the living room in exaggerated slow motion, lifting her feet high and swaying her arms like a windmill. Angeline could see rivulets of sweat running down Isabel’s neck, depositing lines of salt in…
On the edge of the village of Llangwnadl, Ansgar dragged a sled carrying a large, flat stone across an open field, the tall grass crunching under the sled’s weight. He walked slowly, because he was weary from hauling stones, which he had done for endless hours every day. Blisters dotted his feet, and where the rope chafed his hands, his skin ached with raw redness.
But sorrow weighed him down, too.
On each trip he passed by Evelina’s hut, where she sat on the porch sewing clothes for her neighbors. …
An American writer in Japan, editor of The Binge-Watching Cure books, author of the bestselling book, Outwitting Squirrels. Occasional pilot, 24/7 cat owner.