The Flight of the Manatee

In space, you are an oxymoron.

You are both a complete anonymity and a bright beacon, able to be seen from anywhere in the darkness around you. You are one in a million, one in a billion, one in a trillion, a quadrillion, an infinite army of space explorers exploring this infinite space, completely alone but shining like the Sun. You stand out from everything around you, and yet the vast magic that lives amongst the stars swallows you up and turns you into a single blip in this giant, never-ending thing called the universe.

You are no one. You are the only one. You don’t belong. You fit in perfectly. You are the only you around in this endless sea, but in this ocean, being you doesn’t seem to matter. You are nothing and you are everything.

You think of all this as you follow the manatee through the asteroids, wondering if it will ever make its way back to the preserve.

Continue reading “The Flight of the Manatee”

Growing in the Basement

There was something strange about the Tenant in the basement.  Ms. Burrows had thought so ever since he’d answered her Craigslist ad and signed the lease.

When Ms. Burrows first met him to show off the basement, she couldn’t quite place his scent.  It was like a sick mix of fresh soil, sulfur, and skunk was burnt into his too-big wool sweaters and ratty brown hair, pulled tight into a bun.  She’d lived in her quaint little house in her quaint little neighborhood for a not-so-quaint fifty-something years, and bringing this young rag-tag ruffian into her home (or at least a part of it) made her a bit uneasy.  But, with no other offers and her costs of living going up and up after her husband’s passing, the space was his.

“Thanks, dude,” the Tenant had said to her.  They’d shaken hands, his clear-cut fingernails somehow managing to hide dirt beneath them, and the Tenant rushed around the house to the exterior basement door, hidden from street view by a few hedges.  Ms. Burrows had looked down at her hand and headed toward her own front door, resolving to wash the hand thoroughly.

Now, however, after three months of the Tenant living beneath her humble home, her suspicions had reached a peak.  There was always some type of sound coming through her floorboards (banging, whirring, and sometimes even opera), a faint purple glow that never faded escaped along the edges of the Tenant’s stark white door, he could never quite remember exactly how much the rent was each month, and the putrid smell persisted whenever she ran into the man.

This piece has been published in its entirety in the “Home” (Spring 2017) issue of The Lab Review. To read more, be sure to check it out!