little lion | Latitude Brown

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Roach wasn’t around, and nobody else worth anything was around, so they walked home, too warm but not headachey, so, so, so. Some might call that escape, and others might call that *where’s your security* and *why don’t you do anything I ask* and *you need someone to watch you!* But they came back, right? It’s not like — it wasn’t treason. It was just. Stepping to the side of expectations, neat and unexpected. The job’s done, what else does it matter?

Matters a lot, apparently. Images, images; cut to the tune, parsed out to the meter of the violence. Meter, meted, well-met by moonlight? A bruise blossoms on their cheek, some more underneath their sweater. The maelstrom is here, is not here, is here; immaterial, inescapable, ready and waiting and they are both here to take, aren’t they? Lucchese and the Storm, it doesn’t matter what kind of work they do, doesn’t matter who they are, just — Lion squeezes blood out of a stone and neither of them are impressed, just more and more and more. Who is the blood an offering to? They fight for it. Lion scarcely cares who the winner is.

There’s ice in the freezer downstairs, and they go up to sit in the garage. It’s a warm night, but it’s gotten cooler from the heat of the day. Sunlight filters through the open garage door, hits them full in the face, the warmth and the freedom that’s beyond — that they can taste but can’t touch. Tastes like smoke, like burning. Maybe that’s some kind of future.

One of the hired mercenaries has parked his car in the garage. Not a car — a van. Nearly a little house, the way it’s all tricked out; a shell for a turtle. The owner is courting Roach, which, okay, that’s certainly a choice. He doesn’t speak, just sits on the hood of his car, waiting for Roach. Same business, except Lion is sulking about it.

When twilight sinks the sun below the horizon, Lion goes back inside. Curfew. A different kind of headache, Lion darling? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lion uses the little light there is left in their room to paint that evening, the way the sun streaks across the garage floor, the way the blossom in their chest gives way to the maelstrom, just like everything does, in the end. Is it the end? It doesn’t feel like the future anymore.

Latitude’s favorite things to write include: the concept of the body, girls with knives, and procedural murders. They live in Michigan, their favorite place. Find them everywhere @geographconcept.

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