“Hey — can I ask you for some advice?” The girl stepped out into the streetlight toward me and took a made-for-TV drag off her cigarette.
She’d been nearly camouflaged against the Mermaid’s worn brick, but you learn to make a habit of noticing people if you come down to the waterfront at night. Nuisance? Lurking threat? From the wide eyes, Goodwill jacket and torn denim, I figured her for one of those strays who’d come west following a dream, then woke up cold, hungry and broke one September morning with no way back home. The soup kitchen does a good job of making sure they don’t starve, but there aren’t a lot of good options for a kid on the street in this town once winter comes around… — Smoke
Yes, yes, I missed November. I’ll plead that I was on a boat. And promise that I’ll have some sort of bonus story in the coming month. But it’s been a while since I’ve killed anyone off in my stories, and it feels somehow unseasonable to do that during the holidays.
This is the story I mentioned I’d been struggling with. It’s short (and, spoiler: nobody dies), but I’d like to think I’ve managed to pack a few different levels into it.
As always, if you like it, I’ll encourage you to tap that little “clappy hands” icon that shows up to the left of the story – it encourages the good folks at Medium.com to share it with their regular subscribers. And of course, if you really like it, please consider subscribing to my Patreon feed if you don’t already.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Smoke.