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Linger

Glynis Rankin

Linger

And Other Short Stories


This book is dedicated to those of us who have persevered when hardships had tried to weigh us down and continued to strive forward, until we saw our way through to the other side. Finding that we were made stronger by those experiences. To the volunteers who selfishly give of themselves daily to help others, thank you. And last, to my family and friends who listen to my perplexing ramblings of grief and sorrow and didn’t have an intervention.


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Urban Waters

 

  The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.

                                                                    Helen Garner

 

 

 

Boisterous winds and rain clamored outside. Their force banged against the boarded up windows, and slicied through the quiet apartment on the second floor. The harsh conditions made the small room shake where Mrs. Sharon Clark huddled in one corner with her cat, Whiskers, and a picture frame, evoking images of a train roaring down the tracks. She stared at the rising waters flooding the tiny apartment stuck inside the vacated building frighten, trapped and unable to swim.

Sharon decided to give any first responders time to rescue her by taking to higher ground. She climbed on top of the thick dresser inside their bedroom. They'll coming, she told herself, someone will come.

 Sharon has lived on the second floor of the Eastern Heightens Apartment complex for over forty years with her husband, Franklin. He purchased the apartment in the once middle-class neighborhood, as a wedding gift for his new bride.

However with the downturn of the economy, the neighborhood had transformed itself into an urban wasteland. It now boasted the highest crime rate in the city. They've witnessed violence and drug sales from the other side of their windows daily. When they  reported the crimes, they were often told that someone would come around, but no one ever did.

For the most part the Clarks kept to themselves. However, every day on his way to and from work, Franklin would stop to talk with a group of young men hanging out at the foot of the building. She knew they were trouble and so did all her neighbors.

Sharon often wondered why he wasted his time. Those men just stood on the stoop all day doing nothing but talking crudely, while harassing every young woman that walked down the street. Although Franklin told her they were just young men acting out, she still didn't trust them as far as she could throw them.

                                                  *    

 

 A few days ago, she and Franklin had the same old argument over that gang of young men. Upset, she had stormed into the apartment with her arms full of groceries.

 “Mrs. Washington saw those boys again,” she said. “They were harassing a young girl as she crossed the street.” Sharon placed the bags on the table. “I think she called the police.”

  Frank sat at the table reading the daily paper. He bent the pages at one corner to stare at his wife over the rim of his reading glasses. “I hope she didn’t,” he said.

“Why not?” she asked, staring at him confused.

“Because they mean no harm, they’re just dealing with the world,” he said, folding the paper “the only way given them.”

“The only way given them!” She was  stunned by her husband's naivety.

Those boys are just lowly criminals waiting to be caught by the police, she thought, removing items from the bag.

 “They don’t have an outlet, Sharon,” Frank said, standing to go to her.

 “They’re hoodlums, Frank,” she replied.

 “They have to make their own way. They’re good boys.”

“Have you heard how they talk to the girls with those filthy mouths? And what about showing off their underwear for the entire world to see?” She sucked her teeth and shook her head. “It’s disgraceful. And what about that music they’re always blaring all times of the day and night. You can’t even tell what the heck they are even singing about, or if it is singing.”

“They’re just boys, being boys,” Franklin said, placing his arms around her, smiling.

“I don’t trust them Frank,” she told him, sighing into his embrace.

“Well, I remember howling at you a time or two in our day, and you seemed to like it.”

“That’s different." She blushed, shyly.

“It's not; I recall my whistling got your attention and once I had that, well.”

He turned her around and kissed her soft lips. “It was all over.”

“Oh Frank, you devil,” she wasn't at all shy when she kissed him back.

 

                                            *           

 

Sharon didn’t think they were harmless though. Those young men scared her almost as much as the torrent now sinking her home in filthy water.

 Whiskers whimpered in her lap. “Yes I know, I’m scared too,” Sharon petted the furry animal more so to calm herself than her pet.

 She looked out the window at the empty streets where small rivers of brown sludge moved automobiles around with ease down its littered pathways of destruction.

Optimistic, Sharon hoped someone might find her here trapped inside her apartment. But, she knew statically the odds were against anyone looking inside an already evacuated building. Especially, when there were others out there in known danger that would need emergency help.

S

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