Welcome to the second BlogFlash event! The first (#BlogFlash2012) was so well received that we decided to run it twice yearly. It’s a great opportunity to get creative, meet other bloggers and get a new audience. Whether you join us for the full month or just a few days, the main aim is to have fun and be inspired. Anything else is a bonus. Good luck!

#BlogFlash2013: Day Three – Innocence

#BlogFlash2013 (March): Day 3 - InnocenceNow that the initial shock had worn off, Justine realized that her sister and Todd probably had robbed the deli in Camden. Why else would they have left in such a hurry? Still, it didn’t make her sister a bad person-did it? What if Leah had been motivated by hunger? Or she was sick? Needed money to get medical attention? Circumstances could turn anyone into a thief. Justine had always believed right and wrong to be absolute. She saw now she’d been wrong. The possibilities rolled round and round in her head.

Since Christmas, Justine had lost eight pounds. She could slide three fingers between her belly and the waistband of her old jeans. This morning, she’d snagged a pair of jeans Leah left behind. Justine found them rolled in a ball at the back of her sister’s closet. Leah’s jeans fit her perfectly through the waist and hips. She rolled up the hems. She wasn’t stealing her sister’s jeans. She was borrowing them until her sister returned.

She’d brought Leah’s school picture into her room and set it on her desk, along with the ceramic ashtray she’d made for her sister. Justine pressed her hand into the palm of the ceramic ashtray, her long fingers curling over the edges. Hard to believe she’d made the ashtray herself. Hard to believe her hands had ever been that small.

Squatting, she lifted her comforter and, slipping her hand under the mattress, extracted the foil package. She withdrew a flattened cigarette and tapped it on her palm to reshape it.

That she’d conjured the nerve to buy cigarettes shocked her. She’d overheard kids at school talking about a guy at the Citgo station down the street who’d sell cigarettes to anybody, no ID necessary. During lunch period, she trekked to the station. Until she reached the counter and handed the attendant her money, she wasn’t sure if she would go through with it. She’d thought she’d chicken out.

Opening her window to let in some air, Justine spotted a fox. When Dog was young, she loved to chase foxes. With animals her own size, she was a wimp. Whenever she saw a coyote, she cried. If they were walking, Dog would stop cold. Justine would kneel, her arms wrapped protectively around Dog’s chest, until the coyote retreated.

Usually, Justine brushed away thoughts about Dog. It was easier to avoid thinking about the things you had no power to change. Thinking about Dog made her sad and what good did that do? Maybe that was why Leah had played soccer for all those years. So she didn’t have to think. With sports, you have no time to reflect. You just do.

She lit the cigarette, took a long drag, inhaling deeply, and tapped the ashes into the palm of the ashtray. A breeze blew across her room, carrying a feint odor of burning logs. When she’d smoked the cigarette to the filter, she crushed the butt in the palm of her ceramic hand, and spritzed the air with Leah’s cloying floral perfume.

From In Leah’s Wake

Next prompt: Books (6th March)

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