We made up a game called Every child you see has been kidnapped.
It was amazing how easily parents became terrible, evil people. The grocery store was full of children trying to pull their legs free of shopping cart safety seats, of adults clinging desperately to toddlers’ sleeves. At the
park we watched a girl run towards a wide tree, a bearded man walking purposefully after her. We grew nervous when she insisted that she wasn’t Amanda, even more so when he slung her tiny body over his shoulder. If she hadn’t laughed as he ran to the waiting car we might have said something.
Matthew Mahaney is the author of Your Attraction to Sharp Machines (BatCat Press, 2013) and The Storm that Bears Your Name (The Cupboard, forthcoming), which was chosen by Alissa Nutting as the winner of The Cupboard’s 2014 Contest. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.