As usual, Joe was prepared: food and water, map and compass, rain gear and tent, flashlight, matches. He left a note with his name, date, time, and route.
He set out, hiking the yard’s unvarying relief. Around, around.
His wife, pouring herself more wine, hoped he’d get lost this time.
Iain Young thinks the best part of a hike is the end, when he sees his car in the parking lot.
They hadn’t meant to wake Nigel up, but the runners were unaware that their route would go through his bedroom.
“That wasn’t on the map,” they said. “Fun change, though.”
Nigel thought he’d been dreaming, but the scent of sweat and the wet footprints down the hallway convinced him otherwise.
Iain Young has a water stop set up in his bedroom in case any runners pass through. So far, none have.
She felt guilty for doing this, but Time waited for Zoe. Time tried to maintain her standards—a second had always been a second for everyone, no exceptions—but, captivated by Zoe, she found herself unwound. Time couldn’t stop herself.
Zoe wondered why her life seemed to move so slowly.
Iain Young once, mistakenly, thought Time waited for him, but it was just something he ate.
Death’s hand, which I shook reluctantly, was a plumped pillow.
“You’re safe,” he said. “For now.”
“I pictured you as a, you know—”
“Skeleton? You should’ve seen me before the Western diet.” Laughter rippled his corpulence. “Doctor’s telling me to eat better, but she thinks I’m lying about my work.”
Iain Young hasn’t forgotten the childhood nightmare in which he was chased by angry vegetables. That might explain a lot.
I ate a slice of airport pizza while I waited for my flight. My dad whistled up to me.
He’d died years ago.
“You’ve got time to finish. I’ll see you at the gate.”
He whistled off.
The pizza tasted like dust. The light felt thin.
“Okay, Dad,” I said.
Iain Young prefers a window seat.