Number 49

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“Did you see her?”
Who? The younger woman frowned at her mother.
“The one who walks in circles around the complex. She is walking again.”
“I am surprised, it is still a little cold.” Mel rinsed off the Granny Smith apple and bit into it with enthusiasm.
Mumbling, she chewed, “Those are good.”
“What did you say?”
“The apples, Mom. I like those.
“Great, those green ones used to be my favorite growing up. Tart and juicy.”
Looking away from her daughter and glancing through the kitchen blinds, the older woman frowned at what she saw. The long parking lot, holding two rows of cars, not just from their building of condos, but three more, arranged so it formed an oval driveway through which the owners moved their vehicles. And walked their dogs.
Or strolled round, and round and round. A woman, heck a girl about the same age then her daughter in way to thin clothing for this time of year.
“She must be freezing.I wonder how long she is going to keep this up tonight. Probably another hour or two, judging by the last few days.”
A dog barked, its high pitched sound echoing through the otherwise quiet neighborhood.
The girl walking jumped at the sound, flinching. Then continued to walk. Around again.
“Poor thing is scared of dogs.”
Glancing at their own two rescues sleeping on the living room couch, Mel sighed.
“Then this is the wrong neighborhood for her.”
Louise nodded.
“Something is just not right there.Strange young girl.”

*

She turned up the volume of her IPod, hoping it would drain out the barking of the dogs. Loud music, drowning out the voices of others, the sounds of the cars, the fierce and threatening growl of the four legged minions, others called pets.
Drowning out the sounds of her parents yelling at each other, the drunken speech, slurred and wet, both inebriated before they day was dark.
Just walk. Keep on walking.
Pretending she did not see the glares of the people walking by, the curious frowns drawn in her direction, while nodding their Hello’s. She pulled her thin jacket closer, trying to keep both the colder evening air away from reaching her, and the sight of the bruises upon her shoulders away of the nosy glares she felt upon her through the windows.
If they only knew. If anyone would just ask about her personal little hell, she lived every day. The one she escaped through those moments of walking by the cars, listening to any sound, other then what the real world had to offer.
Just walk.
Jennifer turned her head, just in time to see the curious peak of what seemed to be a woman, eyes lazed with something different then the usual disapproval.
Concern.
Lifting the blinds, the woman nodded and smiled, and Jen smiled back, while continuing to walk through the neighborhood, a flicker of hope grasping for her heart.
Maybe someone did care. Maybe she was not all alone. Maybe one day she could talk to whomever was behind the thick white blinds in Number 49.

Copyright Claudia H. Blanton 2014

This flash fiction was inspired by today’s daily prompt, “vice”.