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Old Woman Road



by



Jared Applebee





She walked down the dirt road. Dirt was in her mouth. She couldn't even swallow. She could feel some small pebbles being grinded by her back teeth. They called her an old woman in the village. She didn't think she was very old. She wasn't more than thirty seven, maybe thirty eight. She knew what they said about her. She didn't care. She wasn't going to be afraid of them. They wanted to bully her, drive her into the ground, destroy her sense of worth. Many had tried to do that before. She had been through it all.

She heard one of them yell to her from the distance. The voice was distinctive, familiar and sounded like a frog. It was her father.

"Janelle. Janelle. Come back. Don't leave me."

She had no choice. He was weighing her down. She couldn't afford to be burdened by his struggles. He had killed many men, had many more after him, wanting to chop him down. She did not even turn around. She felt the stare of his eyes burn through her brown knatted hair. Her hair was also dirty, clumped in parts, some by blood, some by sweat.

She kept walking, and walking, and walking. In the morning, there would be time for rest. There would be time to forage for food, for finding others. Now, there was only one thing to do, walk forward. She drew up everything inside of her, everything that wanted to give up, that wanted to fall down and burst


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