Lucy Shuddered...

December 8, 2007
By LaTischa Franzmeier, Osceola, WI

Lucy shuddered spasmodically as she watched the healthy pink glow of her hands extinguish to lines of mottled purple, red, and white under the harsh fluorescence of the street light. She couldn't tell when exhalation of smoke from her cigarette turned into frigid condensation. It grew harder to bring the ember to her mouth, to aim the filter between her trembling blue lips. Hours had passed, and still a car did not stop. Not that she was entirely visible from her huddled crouch, the black of her threadbare coat blending her with the shadows of the stained brick wall behind her. She began to despise the color violet, even though the shade of her skin now matched the vividness of her hacked hair. Pink, a hue she used to scoff at as girly, dyed the utopia in her mind's eye with more vibrant and livelier tones as the cold seemed to seep into her bones. Starting to turn a sickening shade of gray, her fingertips offered no more sensation. Imagining she could feel the synapses in her brain starting to fire slower and slower, she flicked her butt away, or tried to; it fell out of her clumsy, numb fingers and burnt a searing hole through the knee of her jeans. Expecting a bite of pain, she gasped and gritted her teeth, but as she watched a blackened circle of flesh expand and bubble on her skin, she didn't feel a thing. Lucy's mild concern at her predicament began to turn into genuine fear. Attempting to stretch out her legs from their Indian-folded position, she found that she couldn't. Feeling her heart starting to flutter against her ribcage like a dying bird, Lucy pressed her palms over her chest, willing it to slow down, to not pump the precious liquid keeping her warm through her frozen limbs. But she already felt the chill beginning to creep into her chest. Drawing a rattling breath, she delusionally berated herself for smoking.. so much.. The tears trailing down her face froze where they slid, the tiny icy particles pinching at her skin. It hurt. Her whole body hurt. Lucy couldn't even raise her arms to madly hail the passing cars. They flew by, zip, zip, zip, in an ever-blurring line of red and yellow streaks, blind to the freezing teenage hitchhiker on the side of the road. To them, she looked like a discarded bag of trash, or a piece of roadkill, waiting for the Adopt-a-Highway Boy Scouts to pick it up. Eyelids drooping sleepily, Lucy mutely followed the speeding vehicles, barely noticing as her head fell forward and her body tipped sideways. Frozen to the sidewalk by her tears, she drifted away.

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