April 25, 2017
By , Overland Park, KS

Richmond c***ed his arm back and threw the tennis ball as far as he could, then watched Bear run after it. He smiled as the Bullmastiff brought the ball back to him and sat expectantly, as if asking, “Can you throw it again?” He obliged Bear by throwing the ball for him to fetch again. After a few more repetitions of this, Rich sat on a bench and watched Bear go chase squirrels that were being “intruders” on the dog park.
Half an hour later while, while Rich sat under a tree with the sleeping Bear, an old gray haired walked up to him. He appeared to be in his late 80’s or early 90’s. He was leaning heavily on a cane. His voice was raspy and hoarse when he said,
“I have come to warn you. Tonight, there will be an unexpected solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse in which everything will begin to become strange and dangerous. You will have to survive for the hour between eclipses. You will become trapped alone in your house and you will be cut off from all your neighbors. All the other men, yes. Yes this is the men’s year to be chosen. All other men this town will experience this. I have no more time to speak with you; I must go to warn other people or else they will surely perish,” Bear then awoke and Rich looked into the distance and said, “What was that all about? Anyway, let's head home.” 
They began to run but slowed after a few blocks when Rich saw large holes in the middle of the road and on the sidewalk. The carefully avoided the holes for, when Richard looked into them, they appeared to have no bottom. As they continued he said in a worried tone, “Well, Bear, that is definitely irregular. Perhaps that old man was right. On the other hand I am still with you, so I am not alone.” He chuckled nervously. Suddenly an idea occurred to him. He glanced around and it appeared as if no one noticed the holes. “Well come on Bear. Bear? Where did he…” He stopped as he began to hear barking coming from the holes. But it appeared to be coming from all the holes so he could not pinpoint which hole Bear could be in.
He sat down and also noticed that suddenly all the pedestrians on the street had disappeared. Large flocks of birds blotted out parts of the skies. Too Squirrels and rabbits to count raced and leaped through the streets. He stood and began to sprint home. Behind him large block of the streets dropped into a blue void. All of reality seemed to be shrinking away. Soon the holes gave way to the void as well. He dared not look back for he feared what he may see. The inner turmoil grew within him grew. The birds began to shape into a funnel that directed his attention to the sun. The solar eclipse was beginning.
Rich sprinted through the door slammed it behind him. He walked into the small living room and collapsed in exhaustion. He cried. He cried out of fear or losing Bear. He cried or the helplessness that came from not knowing what would next. He sat and buried his face in the couch cushions. It was simply too much for him. He cried for the better part of 15 minutes.
When he finally dried his eyes, he looked around to find a fog seeping out of the walls. Suddenly there was a sharp cracking noise and parts of the ceiling were torn open. Out of the holes came several raccoons and an overwhelming amount of birds.
“Okay. Okay. Calm down Richmond. This isn’t normal, but it is definitely possible. I suppose that my house is infested with raccoons and birds; I just never noticed,” He said shakily. His confidence in what was real and what wasn’t was beginning to disappear. Rich walked over to the door and opened it. He gasped and leaped away from the door. His house was in the middle of the blue void, simply floating there. He quickly closed and locked the doors. Several of the raccoons began to charge at him from down the hallway. They, along with several birds, dragged him from next to the door to the window. More birds soon joined in and began to drag the helplessly kicking and flailing Richmond. They then threw him out the window.  

The glass crashed and he sailed through the air. He reached for the window ledge. It was slick, hard to grip, and covered in painful glass. He soon released and reached wildly for something else to hold on to. By some miracle he grabbed onto the hose on the side of the house, which must have uncoiled when the house began to float in the void. Richmond began to scale it slowly, for it was very old and could easily break. He looked at the moon around. The only things in sight were the sun, the moon, and the house above him. The moon was slowly beginning to disappear. Rich new it wa the lunar eclipse, but why was it happening when there was no earth?
Richmond was beginning to near where the hose ended. He would have to lunge for the porch. But he didn’t know if he had the strength to make the leap. Suddenly he had an idea. Hanging on with one hand, he reached down and grabbed as much hose as possible and threw it towards the ledge. It hit the porch, but slid off. He tried twice more, and twice more it slid off. He threw it again but this time he began to sway back and forth moving the hose with him. When the the hose slid off the porch, the weight of the nozzle allowed him to swing close enough for him to grab the porch and pull himself up. Rich rang the doorbell and instantly birds began to fly out of the broken window and raccoons began to come out of the chimney. He unlocked the door. And ran inside he grabbed chairs and stacked them in the chimney. He ran to get a table and put against the broken window. He heard the frantic screeching of the birds and the clawing of the raccoons. Holes began to open up in the middle of the floor until he was on a tiny square of wooden floor suspended over what he suspected to be certain death.
“I hope that the Lunar eclipse happens soon...I don’t know how long the chairs will last; or how long I will last. This is a heavy table,” there was an explosion in another part of the house. Part of the wood gave and there wa a hole just big enough to see the moon. The lunar eclipse was nearly complete. It was barely visible. Only a sliver was left. Richmond heard the running of a raccoon and around the corner came one of the feral beasts. It leaped from   of wood to floating piece of wood with a beautiful grace. Every leap was precise and measured. It made the final leap and bit Richmond's arm. The force of it knocked Rich and the raccoon over the edge. Birds came flooding through the hole and began dive bombing hi as he fell. The last thing he saw was a flash of light as the moon disappeared.

Richmond awoke to Bear licking his face. There was a pain in his arm where the raccoon had bitten him. All around him lay neighbors and family and friends. He had managed to survive just like everyone else. Richmond hugged Bear. Everything had turned out alright for everyone but the old man who had warned everyone. Rich rushed over to him.
“Will you be alright,” asked Richmond, who was still worried and confused.
“No. It is time for me to move on. Goodbye,” then the old man went limp in Richmond's arms.


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