A little girl falls in Central Park; she doesn’t move or get up. She doesn’t even make a sound. Her mother and father are down on their knees, trying to rouse her. Her chest rises and falls with breath, but her eyes aren’t opening. The parents exchange frantic looks. The passers-by don’t notice at first.
That’s when a bird hits the snowbank next to me with a thud.
I look back up to see the father’s shoulders go limp as he lets out a yawn. He blinks repeatedly, trying to keep his eyes open, but weariness wins out. He slumps to his side, eyes closed. The mother looks around, crying for help. Some bystanders start to look her way just in time to see her slump to the snowy earth as well.
More people drop. Some panic, but those are the next to go. I stay calm because I need to be. Whatever is going on, I must stay on my feet long enough to find my husband, Edgar, and daughter, Michelle.
We planned to meet at the big fountain by all the paddleboats. It’s a 10 minute walk, but if I run, I can get there in 5.
I take a path into the woods. I’m most of the way through when I see a figure in a black longcoat. Their back is to me.
“Yeah,” the figure says in a woman’s voice. “Everyone’s dropping. We apparently got one immune in the area. I’ll deal with them.”
Is she talking about me? I have to get past her somehow. The Fountain is just beyond.
I look to my left. Sparse trees. Little refuge. To my right, the woods slope downward into a clearing right by the Fountain. I can get by her unseen if I move fast enough. As the woman starts to turn around, I vault to the right, tucking and rolling down the hillside.
At the bottom, I jump to my feet and make a beeline for the Fountain. Bodies are everywhere. But I see one figure still standing. Michelle. Laying next to her is the dozing body of Edgar. She sees me. We run to each other and embrace.
“Mom!” she cries.
“I’m so glad I found you, babe,” I say, clutching her tight.
That’s when I yawn.
-One- immune. Oh god.
I give her a sad look. My eyelids grow heavy. It’s all she needs to see.
“I’m so sorry,” I say. My cheeks are wet. “I failed you.”
“Mom, you’ve never failed me.” She’s crying too. “I just wish I didn’t have to be alone.”
I hug her close one last time. “Babe, you’re never alone.,” Another yawn. Need to hurry. “I need you to be strong. Some bad people are looking for you. You ha-”
“You have to run, now!”
She gives me one last kiss on the cheek, her face contorted with tears. “I love you.”
“I love you too, babe. Stay safe.”
I fall to my knees. Vision dimming. Push out hands as body falls to cobblestones. She looks terrified. She turns. Runs. As it goes black, I wish I could already wake u-
Hi everyone! This is Nicholas Taylor. Above is a micro story meant to flow into a larger work. I love stories, whether it’s sharing what I write with others or reading what people make. If you want to see more, or if you to share something you’re working on, send me a reply! Maybe we can get a workshop going or some other creative community!
New York, NY