by Mary E. Trimble

As the late afternoon slowly turned to evening, she ate from her meager food supply. Her spirits plunged again. She would be all alone tonight. All alone forever. An empty, lonely future yawned before her.

She sat up with a little fire as long as she could. Her laundry of shirt and panties hung on sticks near the flames. She didn’t want to go to bed too

early, afraid she would wake in the middle of the night. Night noises surrounded her, clicking and chattering sounds. She heard a coyote yelp in the distance, then an answering howl. But she didn’t fear the dark; she feared her thoughts.

She couldn’t concentrate so tried recalling pleasant events from her childhood. There had been plenty of wonderful incidents, she knew, but her mind was such a tangled jungle she couldn’t recall even one with clarity.

Finally, climbing into her sleeping bag, loneliness overwhelmed her. Oh God, I’m sorry. Please just let me die tonight. I’ve messed up so bad, there’s no way anything can be right again. I could never go home and face Dad. Anyway, home won’t be the same with them there. Please, please just let me die tonight.

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