The feeling came upon me as I was unloading the dishwasher. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I was lifting a water-stained glass from the plastic rack with a scowl when my gut suddenly clenched in a very unpleasant way. I knew something was wrong, something had…changed.
I wandered around the house for quite a while, trying to work out what my gut was trying to tell me. At first everything looked totally normal, but then I pulled aside the kitchen curtains. My backyard seemed so still, so quiet, which I guess shouldn’t have been too alarming, except that it’s usually quite windy in my town and not a single leaf was rustling on the trees. Then I released the curtains and they neglected to fall back into place. At first I almost didn’t take notice at the lack of movement, but as my brain rushed to catch up I found myself standing there, mouth agape, staring at the long strip of fabric that was coiled off to the side as though held there by an invisible hand. When the initial shock wore off I reached out a trembling finger and poked the curtain. It indented where my finger touched it and remained in the new position when I withdrew.
The next thing I knew I was out in the front yard, gaping in horror at the neighbor kid, suspended in midair with a skipping rope winding from hand to hand behind her back. There was a pleasant smile frozen on her face, but to me, at that moment, it was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen.
The man up the road sat on an immobile ride-on mower, a beer half-raised to his mouth. A car backing out of a driveway up the road was perpetually paused at a forty-five degree angle. A robin that had taken a leap from its nest was hovering with its beak open only a few feet above my head.
And my gut twisted and writhed because I knew – I just knew – that somehow, this was all my fault.