I made it as far as Topeka before my cash ran out. Jumping off the bus in the darkness of this place wasn’t my idea of a life lived free but for now it would do. I glanced at the map beneath a street light, tattered and greasy from use, suddenly feeling like Columbus on a flat world, the crease and drop off a bit farther from where I currently stood.
I found a bench in front of a window with one of those cheap closed signs hanging off kilter, no hours posted but the place was dark. The smell of grease seemed to ooze from somewhere within the dingy windows and assaulted my nostrils in the night cooled air. A breeze picked up, the sound of metal coming towards me as a crunched can tumbled down the street. I sat my bag down and stood up to retrieve the can, my good girl sense of not littering never far. Lifting it with two fingers, stale beer dripped onto the still warm pavement, I lifted the lid to a nearby trash can to throw the offending article away. In the light I could see the white rice on the lid moving slowly, realizing they were maggots and were everywhere, unhinging my gag reflex as I slipped the can into the darkness of the plastic tub, the smell of death and decay slammed me full value in the nose and I felt my granola bar I had eaten on the bus, rise to the surface of my throat. “Good God, what the hell is in there?” I retched next to the can and as I stood up, saw a hand laying next to the beer can I had tossed in. I leaned over and threw up anything else that had been left in my stomach, wiping my face with my arm, reached for my cell phone. I dialed as my hand shook and finally took a breath when a pleasant voice greeted my ears. “Topeka emergency services, what can I help you with today” and as I looked back to the trash can, frantically trying to compose my thoughts, a shadow moved from the side of the diner and it was then I found my lost voice and screamed.
To be continued…….