This is the first part of a multi-piece story. At the end, vote for what you would like to see happen next!


“Mom, are you here?” I call, slamming the front door behind me and kicking off my sneakers.

“Olivia honey, is that you?” A voice calls from the other side of the house. In the kitchen, I grab a box of crackers and cross off today’s date on the calendar: September 22, 2017.

“Hi mom,” I say, with a mouth full of crackers.

“Oh, there you are,” she says, kissing my cheek.

She pulls her gray hair back into a messy bun. Her sweater looks worn, and she has dark circles under her eyes.   

She folds clean laundry into a basket to take upstairs. I follow her into my bedroom. I flop onto my bed with a book, a light blanket over my shoulders. The words on the pages spiral into my head.  A story develops then floats back into the library in my mind.

I get up and stumble down the soft, carpeted stairs.

“What’s for dinner?” I ask, opening the fridge. Mom looks at the clock, which reads 8:19 PM.

“Goodness Olivia, when did it get so late?”

She sets her crossword puzzle on the kitchen table already cluttered with newspapers and dirty dishes.

I pull out three containers of leftovers and set them in the microwave. Mom pours two glasses of apple cider.

“Oh, hon, could you take the compost out please? It’s overflowing.” She laughs gently.

“Yeah. Sure.”

I take a large metal flashlight in one hand and the overflowing compost pail in the other. The screen door slams behind me.

Outside the air is cool and the darkness envelopes me.  Lightning bugs zip through the air, lighting up momentarily, then fading back into the darkness.

I pass the apple trees and scattered leaf piles.

Something jabs into my the bottom of my bare foot. I shine the flashlight down.

A large piece of metal. I pick it up. It’s new and shiny, gleaming.

I scan the flashlight across the lawn. There are hundreds of shiny chunks of metal scattered across the yard.

Original artwork by Conor Cooley


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