Scavengers

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Its dim orange halo interrupting the unblemished raven night, a street-lamp stood rigidly as mute watchman. The teenager crept into a puddle of light underneath it and withdrew from his jean pocket a cigarette. He yanked from his left shoulder a ratty navy school-bag and allowed it to plummet to the sidewalk. Breathing deeply, Greg sunk onto it and reclined against the wet lamppost, it's sweat licking the fabric against his back. He pinched the bridge of his nose between two trembling index fingers. The adolescent badly needed a moment…to breath, to calm his heart rate and avoid--forget?-- life for a minute.  Just one second. One second, please. Please.  He took a very, very long drag.

Abruptly, a faint noise stung at his ears. A dead girl sat, her plump grey legs clutched tightly against her chest, in a dark patch of grass beyond him, sheathed underneath the black umbrella of a tree. As if violently dragged forth from her throat, an assembly of wounded, animalistic whimpers tumbled through her quivering violet lips, to which a dotting of frost clung. Greg stared, blinking.
“Um, what-what’s the matter?” He hurriedly whispered at the child’s silhouette, compelled to make as little noise as possible. “What do you see? Maybe I can help you.” Her glazed eyes were fixed upon a specific target. Before he could investigate, the orange halo above Greg flickered and writhed until quietly extinguished, as if smothered by the gentle brush of a kiss. There then remained only the vast blackness of night.
“Huh.” He laughed incredulously and stood upon the base of his toes to touch the bulb, tongue jut against his upper-lip. The phantom of a flame remained, it’s cooled heat tricking Greg’s fingertips. He exhaled slowly, almost accidentally, and a stream of smoke slithered into the dark, wherein it coiled and whipped and struck at nothingness.
“It’s here.” The girl had stopped crying. Her empty eyes were fixed expectantly upon the lamppost as she swept a hand underneath her nostrils. Her words tumbled into the night and were lost to the whistle of a chilled gust of wind and a distant, clicking noise. Across the patch of grass opposite Greg, a cluster of leaves began to rustle, disturbed by the force of a nearby movement. A figure, eclipsed by night’s shroud, drifted slowly across. Dark blades of grass contorted backwards as It moved above them. The clicking noise loudened, an orchestration of shrill, insect-like sounds.
Slowly, so slowly, It drifted across the grass and unto the street.






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