Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Prompt: I can’t go back / I’m really gonna miss that __________

I can’t go back.

I would have walked right into their trap if Old George’s dog hadn’t pulled away from him and run off down the street. They live in the apartment under me, and I often joined George for a cup of rich Russian tea in the evenings. He chided Gracie every time for curling up in my lap rather than his, but I know he enjoyed the company.

I had just turned the corner and saw little Gracie racing toward me. I dropped to my knees and opened my arms, and she ran right up and started licking my face. I slipped my fingers around her collar and petted her till Old George reached us, ambling as fast as his bent back and wonky hips would allow. He was wheezing his thanks when I glanced up and saw the curtain fall back in place in my window. My empty apartment window.

I stood up and gave Old George a kiss on the cheek. He blushed and stammered like a schoolgirl. “George, I have to go.” I bent down to give Gracie one last pet. “Take care of him, Gracie,” I charged her. She knew. She sat on her haunches and whined.

I turned and walked back around the corner, then ducked through the alley that connected up to the main thoroughfare and the closest subway station. I walked fast and concentrated on every sound, every movement, to see if I was being followed. When I reached the subway, I handed my monthly pass to a high school kid and used a token to go through. I jumped on the first train coming into the station and took it four stops. I left my cell phone and credit card under the seat, then leapfrogged trains for about an hour until I felt reasonably certain no one around me was interested in me.

Finally I headed for the rail plaza to hop an overnighter. I needed to put as much distance as possible between me and…whoever they were. Once on the train, I pulled a French magazine out of my backpack and found a car with a family of rowdy young kids. I pretended not to speak English and settled in a corner behind my magazine while the parents looked apologetic and fruitlessly tried to constrain their children’s excitement.

The train started, and I couldn’t resist looking out the window. I’d lived here almost two years—the longest I’d stayed anywhere since that day I’d come home to find my whole life destroyed in an instant. I felt a pang for George and Gracie. They were closest to friends I had allowed myself in all that time. I hoped they wouldn’t come to any harm. I sure would miss that little dog, and George’s delicious chai.

Dogs in house
Ana, Izzy, Gracie
Time writing
25 minutes
December word count

Meh. Cliched? Worth pursuing—pardon the pun…?

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