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South for the Winter.

Her breath was cold, though it wasn’t from sweet ice cream.

Pallid fingers held firmly on either arm in a snug self-embrace but mostly it was in vain. White clouds appeared with every exhale and her ears were so cold she kept getting on-and-off brain freezes.

It was January and there was fresh powder on the ground, even on her worn jeans and heavy jacket. She briefly wondered if her hair was wet – she couldn’t feel much.

The bench she sat on never heated up from her body and she had started to shiver. Just a few blocks from the familiar warmth, but it wasn’t welcoming. She chose the cold over that.

Yelling echoed between her ears and she could feel her chest contract from the fear; not of being beaten, just of being hurt. Words were enough to sink into her flesh and cut deeply. She figured they would know that by now, but maybe they just didn’t care. She doubted they cared about much.

She closed her eyes briefly and forgot about the cold. A warm breeze fitted in her mind and she could hear birds chirping somewhere she wasn’t. She thinks she’ll have to go somewhere warmer, the cold hurts too much. Sun rays would shine down on her and the smell of grass would be powerful enough to rid the stench of tobacco she’s ever so used to.

Finally allowing herself to slowly stand, knees popping in the process, she starts the too-short trek back home.

Maybe she’ll go somewhere south.

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