Short Story: Skirting the Edge

Related to From the Shadows.

~Skirting the Edge~

Adults can’t be trusted, especially men who take interest in young girls like her.

But this is a boy.

“My parents can help you,” he says with an open trust only the sheltered can afford.

“I’m fine.” Usually, she’ll be gone by now, but he’s just a kid. Not a threat.

Letting her guard down proves to be a mistake when warm fingers clamp around her wrist.

“They’re just around the corner,” the boy says enthusiastically.

‘Around the corner’ turns out to be a church two streets away that the boy’s parents lead as pastors. She’s heard enough stories to be alarmed and digs her heels into the ground, but her scrawny body is no match for a well-nourished one.

The pastors don’t try to convert or touch her, just hand her a practical survival kit packed into a sturdy backpack. They offer a space for her to stay the night, but doesn’t force her to stay when she decides to leave.

She rations what she received for as long as she can, but everything had a limit, and after she has stretched the kit as far as it can go, she braves another trip to the church.

The same faces greet her. They even remember her name even though she has forgotten theirs. That’s not important. The important part is that she gets to refill her bag. She even risks a quick shower before slipping back to the streets.

She still doesn’t trust the too easy smile and the suspicious generosity, but if they’re happy to give, then she’s happy to take what she can.

~End~

Genre: general

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