By Ross McMeekin

IMG_0025I saw the young boy first, there at the intersection as we waited for the stoplight. He bobbed on the balls of his feet, eyes nearly closed by his grin, oblivious to the dull power of the cars hurtling past only feet from our knees. From his backpack stretched a leash held by who I took to be his mother—they shared a nose and dark, buoyant curls. I greeted her with a smile, but she noticed my pause over the leash. She turned towards the street, chin defiant, shoulders squared, gripping that braided rope tight, as if bracing for the harsh words of yet another who couldn’t grasp how quickly a mind could dash into danger.

Ross McMeekin’s stories have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Post Road, Redivider, and Tin House Flash Fiction Fridays. His debut novel, The Hummingbirds, was published by Skyhorse in 2018. He edits the literary journal Spartan.

Art by Lesley C. Weston (Digital)

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