The light dripping out of the few remaining lit windows coagulated in the humidity. From the playground, Rachael watched as the houses went dark. The small bag at her feet didn’t move at all and shadows turned to wax against everything they touched. Unlit porches and the bricks buckled in the sidewalks like crowded teeth and the weatherworn all shined with night . . .
Branches scratched at my face as I pushed through the brush, and a warm trail of blood crept down my cheek. Curses sounded from not too far behind me, as did the thuds of heavy boots running through the woods. The bay of a hunting dog echoed, twisting around the trunks. Bad news. Can’t hide from a good hunting dog. I ran, trying to navigate the roots and uneven ground of the damp forest, the satchel over my shoulder slamming into my back with every step. The warm smells of earth and blood clogged my nose. I considered dropping the bag, but only until I felt the weight of the pistol in my pocket . . .