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Only in New York

Libby is a writer based in New York. Her short stories have appeared in The Write Room, Mixer Publishing, Bookends Review, Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Twisted Sister Literary Magazine, The Dirty Pool, and Theaker's Quarterly. Her young adult series is published through Fire and Ice YA Publishing. When not reading, writing, or running, she likes to perform improv and is also quite fond of naps. You can find out more about her upcoming stories and novels at libbyheily.com.
"I will not calm down," I tell the MTA worker, pressing my finger against the glass partition. Her eyelids are still half-mast and she hasn't raised her chin from her hand. "How do you plan to get him back?"
She lets out a sigh and rolls her eyes. Her chair squeaks as she swivels around. She's turning her back on me. I'm about to raise my voice when I see her grab a pamphlet. When she turns to face me again, my jaw clinches.
"So Your Loved One's Been Eaten By A Wormhole." I've seen that pamphlet tons of times before. They're all over New York. I just never thought I'd need one.
"I don't want to read anything. I want my boyfriend back. We're late for our friend's birthday party."
"You knew the risks. Swiping your Metro card is tantamount to signing a waiver with the city."
I've seen their ads, the billboards in Times Square, and who could ignore the bright yellow signs plastered to the subway turnstiles? "The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is not responsible for any lost property or persons due to the spontaneous appearance or collapse of wormholes." She's not wrong, just infuriating.
"Sometimes they come back--" I start.
The woman cuts me off, answering me robotically, as if she's had to give this information countless times before. "Less than one percent of all wormhole abductees return to Earth. Of those who do, less than ten percent come back alive."
I flinch. I feel it in my face. She has the decency to look away as the truth sinks in. Chances are the wormhole collapsed with my boyfriend in it. If it didn't, then wherever he was deposited might not have breathable air, or water, or food.
"I can give you a ten dollar credit on your Metro card," the woman says. Her voice is a little softer, a little kinder.
I don't think as I slip my card through the little hole in the glass partition. I'm numb. Poor Bobby. Here one second, staring at me with an apologetic grin, hoping I'll forgive him for making me wait at the station. Bobby, who's always late. Then, poof, no more Bobby. He didn't know that I was going to forgive him; I just needed time to be angry first.
She hands me back my card. "Thank you for riding with us."
I shove the card into my pocket. I barely feel the rain as I climb the stairs into the city. If I hurry, I can get to the party before it ends. But I'm going to walk the rest of the way.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, February 7th, 2019


I love a passive commute. Reading on a train is one of the simple pleasures of my life. I am also fascinated by bureaucracy and the strange comfort it provides. Your boyfriend disappearing into a wormhole should be awe-inspiring and terrifying, but as soon as you have to file a complaint with the city, it becomes mundane.

- Libby Heily

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