This is a follow-up to “safe” and was written because Trent asked for more. I don’t know if this will be the end of it or if I will continue to come back to this character. We’ll just have to, as always, see where the words take us.
She woke to the scratch of the sun on her hand, absentmindedly trying to brush it away with no success. Her eyes cracked against the glare, to glare at the offending stray beam of light splashed across her flesh. Scowling she withdrew her hand and curled away from the day but sleep would not come back to her and a few minutes later she sat up and took stock of her surroundings.
It was later than she had expected, which is why the sun had found her in the alcove of the now defunct store. Not unlike the carts that used to be returned on a nightly basis, she found her way there most evenings to find her rest. The world, people and cars, bustled nearby, visiting the shops that were still open in this dying strip mall. Without the flagship, the others would close eventually unless a new grocer came in to fill the vacancies. She had seen it go both ways before.
Her pack was where she’d left it. She was grateful for that but had learned how to get by without her few possessions. Her current pack, a purple and ragged affair, was not her first and would not be her last. Things had a way of walking off in the middle of the night. That truth was part of living on the streets.
Fishing a cigarette from her dwindling pack, she struck a match and pulled in the smoke, filling her lungs with warmth, before releasing it to the wind. She watched the smoke disappear before taking another drag. It was a nicotine breakfast kind of day again. Her stomach hardly argued with her much anymore and this morning was no exception. She had some coins rattling around in a pocket. She’d see if she could find them a few more companions and maybe get some lunch in a bit, or maybe get a new pack. Depending on how the rest of the morning went that could be a tough call.
Stretching, she crushed the filter of her now spent cigarette between finger and thumb, and then deposited the butt in the small pile of trash she’d move to a can when she walked away. She liked to keep her space clean. She didn’t see any sense in allowing her small nightly alcove to become cluttered with trash, especially when there was a can only a few feet away and she’d pass it on her way to the park. Shouldering her pack, her muscles groaned her onto her feet, and she took a few timid steps until she found the strength and balance to stride onward. Lunch seemed like it might need to win out over smokes. Then again, the day was still young and almost anything could happen before she’d have the coins to get either.