::: Winner of the 2015 Best of the Net Award in Fiction :::

That was the year people floated to the sky. We watched them rise with panicked faces. Their eyes gaped wide; their lips bent in voiceless screams. We didn’t know how to stop the rising, didn’t know who would go, or when. We once watched a man lasso his wife, hang there with her, swaying from the rope. His knuckles turned red, then white, and then he lost his grip and fell back to the earth.

We saw children fly up, grown men in suits, old ladies wearing curlers. We saw a tearful mother toss her baby to a bystander as she ascended. We saw a yoga instructor posed in downward facing dog as she rose. We saw a construction worker go. He placed his hat over his heart, and we swear we’d never seen a man so resigned to his fate.

Meteorologists were called in. Scientists. NASA. Spiritual experts, diviners, and doomsday leaders. News trucks lined the streets. People talked conspiracy, talked religion, talked survival, talked politics, talked rapture.

We were told to go about our lives, but we couldn’t pretend. We were afraid. On sunny days, we could see clusters of feet hanging like malformed clouds. Toes wiggled and ankles flexed. We tried to pick out the feet of those we loved. We tried not to think about what they must be doing up there, what they must be thinking, how afraid they must be.

Then one day the sky gazing stopped. Those remaining in the sky lifted into the atmosphere, out of sight. The trucks left. The scientists packed their gauges. It’s been a while since someone floated to the sky. We tell ourselves we are okay. We’ll always be okay. We are anchored to Earth by laws of gravity. We believe in gravity. We are here. We are stuck. We’ve forgotten why we were ever afraid.

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Photo credit: harvest breeding / Foter / CC BY-NC