The outbreak

On a hot, damp day in August, someone forgot to turn the key. It sat unassumingly in its usual spot on the dashboard, surrounded by buttons and dials and other keys and flashing lights: all the accessories of modernity. Nobody noticed it go unturned. Afterwards, nobody could recall whose job it was to turn it.

A small chink, but enough. It took four days to round up most of the animals; others slunk back, sheepishly, for weeks thereafter. Some were never found. And a few households across the city – you may know one yourself – began to keep decidedly exotic pets.

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