Tatterdemalion, by Amy Friedman

The little girl huddled in the narrow alley, eyes shut to the biting cold. A purring kitten in her jacket imparted a bit of warmth. Snow swirled around her feet.
“Got a match, gel?” She blinked. A top-hatted man with a kind face crouched before her, an unlit cigarette between his gloved fingers.
She looked down. “It’s the next alley you’ll be wantin’,” she croaked. A tear froze as it slid down her cheek.
The man stood up, walked a few steps, then turned and held out his hand.
“Can’t leave you here,” he said. “Come.”
“Kitty too?”
“Kitty too.”


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