Division by Mark Renney

It smells in the lobby. I grimace and step from the main entrance and out, onto the scuffed tarmac. I gaze across at the tower block opposite.

‘Jordan, get back here NOW,’ a woman’s voice. I hear but can’t find her, but I spot Jordan striding swiftly and full of purpose. She keeps close to the building and her head below the windows. She reaches a column jutting out from the main block and she stops but doesn’t turn.

Her mum is standing in the doorway of their flat. They have copper coloured hair, both deathly pale behind the freckles.

‘DON’T make me come out there,’ mum shrieks into the falling dark. ‘Don’t you fucking DARE.’

Jordan moves around the column and stands for all she is worth with her back to the wall.

Mum, in her bare feet, is unprepared and determined not to move. Nevertheless she leans forward and, craning, peers first one way and then the other. But to find her daughter she needs to move onto the expanse of patchy grass which separates her block from where I am standing. And this she now does, treading carefully in her bare feet on the hard dirt.

I step forward and onto the pavement so that she will see me and not be startled.

‘Come back Jordan, please,’ she pleads but softly, unaware her daughter and I are there and that we both hear her.

Mark Renney lives in the UK. He has had published in the journals The Interpreter’s House, Spelk, The Pygmy Giant and Unbroken Journal.