Excerpt from a short story I am working on….

The thick air engulfed us as we stepped into the night. I let out a sigh of relief. I twirled around and jumped up onto a crumbling sidewalk. I followed Ben as we made our way down a dimly lit street. Remnants of an extinct gas station stood, lonely and faded. Small brick buildings dotted the street and morphed into what appeared to be a small, mid century downtown. I could make out the outline of trees to the west. There was an old bank across the street from an auto body shop. The town was eerily quiet. We walked down a sparsely lit street in search of our shelter. The school bus was not hard to find. It was left to rot in an old concrete parking lot that was overgrown with weeds. Empty beer cans and an old milk carton lay skewed about. There was a used condom as well as an abandoned fanny pack. I stepped carefully over slivers of broke glass and made my way to the front of the bus. We walked around to the side door and Ben gave the handle a hard pull. The door let out a screech and to our surprise it opened easily and we made our way up the steps and into the bus. It was unbearably humid and dark. Many of the windows were broken. I made my way down the aisle and began to open the ones that were shut. I pushed with all my might on the last window in the back and gave up. It was stubborn like myself. Ben sat down on a faded brown seat and let out a groan. I walked over to where his lanky legs dangled off the end of the seat and brushed my hand lightly over his kneecap. He looked up and smiled. He stretched his thin arms and placed them behind his head.The lone t-shirt he had been wearing for weeks was soaked with sweat. I swiped the cracked vinyl before sitting down. My back ached as I tried to make myself comfortable. I looked out the window and down the street. There was a strange comfort in being lost. I felt oddly at peace as I lay down on my side. The night would protect us. It was the morning and its judgment that I feared. The brutal sun would see me for who I was. It would shine its unkind rays down upon my fair face and follow me wherever I went. My safety came only in the elusive night where everything bad fell away and I would be bathed in its glorious darkness. I closed my eyes and fell asleep to the sound of cicadas.

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