The Unfathomable Mystery of River Street
written by Jamal Joseph
At first, Jarrod Pyle thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. Or that he hadn't quite woken up yet and was still in that half-sleep, half-awake state where you're not quite ready to leave your dreams behind. But after rubbing his eyes and looking out the window, then rubbing them again and focusing – REALLY focusing – he knew something was seriously wrong.
And so Jarrod stepped out his front door in his tee-shirt and underwear, which he ordinarily would not have done, since Betsy Littleton lived right next door and she was always taking pictures on her phone. But Jarrod wasn't even thinking about Betsy and her camera, and in fact he didn't even notice her standing at her own front door wearing her pajamas and staring out at the street, slack-jawed.
There were lots of neighbors standing in front of lots of front doors doing the same thing Jarrod and Betsy were doing, all facing the street, or at least what used to be the street.
At first glance, it looked like the street was very wet, or maybe covered in a sheet of ice. Which would have been weird, because it was June, and the last time there was any ice to be seen in Jarrod's neighborhood was in February, when the last icicles melted from people's gutters. So it wasn’t ice where the asphalt should have been, but water. Lots of water. Too much water.
While most of the neighbors stood frozen on their front porches, Jarrod took a few steps towards the street. He was barefoot and was surprised that when he stepped onto the grass, it wasn't wet. Not even a little. Up to that point Jarrod thought that there had been a freak rainstorm that had flooded the street, so it didn't make any sense that the grass was dry.
Jarrod took a few more tentative steps toward the curb and ran the rest of the way, stopping in his tracks just at the edge of his lawn. Jarrod's momentum almost carried him forward over the curb, and he did a kind of crazy dance as he tried to regain his balance. He could feel Betsy's eyes watching him make a fool of himself and he was certain she was getting this all on video.
But Betsy Littleton was the least of his concerns at the moment. Because stretched before Jarrod was a sight beyond believing. Where Jarrod's street had been just the day before was water… crystal blue, and deep. So deep, in fact, that Jarrod couldn't see the bottom.
Jarrod peered into the depths and marveled at the sight below. In the water were schools of large silvery fish moving in unison. Deeper still was what looked like a sea turtle gliding effortlessly through the water. Still further down was the unmistakable shape of a shark prowling the depths. The sight of the shark made Jarrod's blood run cold, and he almost lost his balance all over again.
Jarrod took a few hasty steps and looked up the street, where several of his neighbors were taking trancelike steps towards the body of water that had replaced their street. And as they did, a thought popped into Jarrod's mind: "I guess I'm not going to school today."