Her efforts were manic, her limbs sweeping around the room rigidly shaking, her lips breathing “sorry” every time she started a new task. When her ritual was done, Cooper and I took turns lying in each other’s embrace, intermittently swapping cradles as the clock turned from twelve to three to five. The light woke us before the screaming did.

Cooper saw the smoke first. I smelled it. Peeking through our northern blinds, she called my name to come over – her voice caught between a whisper and a gasp. We watched as massive puffs of angry, dark mist climbed up towards the clouds, neither of us knowing whether to weep or to wilt.

My short story “When We’re Lost” was published in the 2015 issue of Short Vine Literary Journal.

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