There’s been another shooting, and now the birds call for revolution, refusing to fly and walking everywhere, causing traffic jams. Their shit fills the streets instead of decorating rooftops, cars, and people’s heads. Squirrels shut down Brooklyn Bridge in protest. Rats congregate on the White House lawn to plot the best points of entry. We’re tired of being your fucking metaphors, they shriek. My neighbor stockpiles weapons as a colony of bats circle overhead. I bury my Glock G19 in the bottom of the garbage can when everyone is asleep. The next morning, I dig through rotting food and paper plates to find it gone. My wife thinks it was the roaches. We can’t be sure because they’ve taken out the wifi. News is sporadic, but there are reports of missing children. Some say they saw the squirrels carrying off a six year old. There’s been talk of bears coming down from the mountains to capture high schoolers. We tell our daughter not to believe such ludicrous tales but to stay inside. She’s not been in school since the spiders took over, their giant webs spelling out some gun in passive aggressive irony. The standoff can’t last much longer. Protests always fade. Even animals forget. As evening approaches we hear three loud bangs followed by lighter, rapid pops. Smoke ascends into the dusky sky. Just fireworks, I tell my wife and daughter, waving them away from the windows as trashcans roll down the street. The raccoons are about to throw a party.
Nancy Hightower‘s work has been published in Word Riot, Joyland, Entropy, Gargoyle, Sundog Lit, Flapperhouse, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. She is the author of Elementari Rising (2013) and The Acolyte (2015), and currently teaches at Hunter College.
Emily is a 21 year old aspiring illustrator from Massachusetts and a full time student. Their focus in art is primarily using pencil, ink, acrylic, and digital means to create. Themes often found in their art are all things creepy, nature, and human body related.