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  • Writer's pictureChrista Pagliei

She'd felt lucky when she left the house.

Sitting at the counter Julie looked down at her phone as it chimed. Her husband had replied to her last message, a picture of an oatmilk latte and a harissa and butternut squash danish. One that she was having because, in a wave of kindness, Jeremy had rushed her out of the house. He had the morning off, she had been working from home while looking after the baby. Even if she had to work, he reasoned, why not treat herself a little?

She’d felt lucky when she left the house.

Opening the laptop she looked at her email inbox, it was fairly clean, but she knew the afternoon would bring a deluge that would divide her mind and keep her glued to her computer and phone when she’d rather be with her boys. Things never quite lined up.

As she started to clean up the paperwork from the night before she got into a rhythm. Pretty soon the Danish was gone. When she looked up she suddenly realized she was alone in the cafe. The music that had been playing had stopped and the cafe was silent. The light above her began to flicker intensely. Then it stopped. Then the flickering began again. She felt a little light-headed.

It had been quiet in here when she got there, only two other people and the barista. But the others had left and she realized the barista wasnt behind the counter anymore. Her laptop shut off, and her nose began to bleed gently. Woozily she got to her feet and walked out onto the Boston streets.

There wasn't a soul around. The streets were deserted. A sound, both booming and whining echoed across the sky. She watched blood drip onto the pavement. The boys. She had to get back to them. She rushed into the empty cafe and grabbed her things. She somehow knew the laptop was useless now, but she instinctively put it in her bag.

“Maybe I can use it as a weapon, if I need to.” She thought, then almost laughed at herself, but the blood running down her face kept her focused.

She grabbed a handful of napkins on her way out the door and throwing the backpack onto her shoulders, Julie began to run. The sky blared and the wind whistled up the empty streets.

She’d felt lucky, when she left the house.


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