7:03 a.m. Unit 202
“There’s a shark in the pool.” Gracie’s clear blue eyes held fear, her mouth set in determination.
“There can’t be a shark in the pool, sweetheart,” her mother said, a stray piece of auburn hair stuck against the sweat of her neck, an electronic tablet in one hand.
“Honest, ma. There is! I saw it!” The girl bit her lip.
Her mom looked up. “Honey, if this is your behavior, I won’t let you swim this early anymore. You may be alone in that pool, but that doesn’t mean you get to invent fantastical stories to get out of going to school. I thought you were old enough, now that you’re in sixth grade. We live in an apartment complex, for Pete’s sake. You just caught a glimpse of one of the neighbors.”
“But ma –“
“Shadows. That’s all you saw. Now go get dressed or you’ll miss your bus.”
Gracie’s shoulders sank and her feet moved in obedience.
10:49 a.m. Unit 111
“Hey Frieda, have you seen Thor?” The hunched old man shuffled into the bedroom of their 900-square-foot abode. “I let him out an hour ago but haven’t seen him since.”
Frieda snored on the extra firm mattress covered in forty-year-old sheets.
The man harrumphed and got back to scrolling Facebook. The dog would turn up sooner or later.
4:19 p.m. Unit 161
“Mom! Mom!” A mass of black curls covered the boy’s head, his chest rose and fell in quick succession. “Come quick! I saw something in the pool! I think it might be a shark!”
“In a minute. I’m watching ‘Ellen’. Go swim, Billy.” His mom picked up her glass of unsweetened iced tea and took a sip. Her gaze never left the T.V.
©Laura L. Zimmerman