Neon

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She sprawled out on the basement floor and looked up at the stars. Well, where she believed the stars to be. She traced a pattern in the grime on the ground, then quickly erased it with the sleeve of her stained shirt.
The walls closed in on her, a little more each day. They inched feebly as she willed them away, all the while gaining speed as her strength wavered. She knew she could not hide any longer, she knew she had to see the sun. It would be quite easy. Of that she was sure. She walked up the staircase, stepping over the bodies. Out the door she went, into the light, or the lack thereof because it was dark, much too dark for a day to be called such.
She had trouble believing this was what she had been wanting. She was consumed by a sudden urge to go back down, to the basement where she belonged, with the rats, with the dust, and the forgotten. She had come this far already, and turning back now would be the only failure of her life. So, she walked. She walked past the homeless and their glazed eyes, past the believers in the church, past the children inside their manicured homes. She kept walking.
Night fell before she reached her destination. She halted in an old city parking lot where no one was around except the heat of the night. Nearby, a pay phone rings. The caller is determined for some kind of answer. The shrilling continues, though no one is around to here it. No one except for the girl. Maybe this was meant for her. She starts to hope, for the first time in a long time, because hope is a dangerous thing. Was she stupid to answer the phone? Was she stupid to believe? Was she stupid to think she was not alone? A shaking hand grasps the receiver. A voice crackles on the other side. The girl smiles, and drifts off to sleep with the neon as her nightlight.





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