Ashes, by Lysette Cohen

Branches scraped against sooted marble as the woman emerged from a deserted close. Darkened windows stared in empty judgement as she made her way down the sidewalk. Two men huddled together in a vacant doorway, passing a bottle between them. One took a swig, the other followed suit, their voices lost in the rumple of orange beards. Under the glow of a streetlight a busker sang in melodic tones. The woman’s feet propelled her forward until she was enveloped in memories of peat and salt she hadn’t dreamt in years. As the notes faded, she slipped back into the void.

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