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Stray

Stray


Description : Stray
One

The moment the door opened I knew an ass-kicking was inevitable. Whether I’d be giving it or receiving it was stil a bit of a mystery.

The smel hit me as I left the air-conditionedfort of the language building for the heat of another north-central Texas summer, tugging my backpack higher on my shoulder as I squinted into the sunset. A step behind me, my roommate, Sammi, was ranting about the guest lecturer’s discriminatory view of women’s contributions to nineteenth-century literature. I’d been about to play devil’s advocate, just for the hel of it, when a shift in the evening breeze stopped me where I stood, on the top step of the narrow front porch.

My argument forgotten, I froze, scanning the shadowy quad for the source of the unmistakable scent. Visual y, nothing was out of the ordinary: just smal groups of summer students talking on their way to and from the dorms. Human students.

But what I smelled wasn’t human. It wasn’t even close.

Absorbed in her rant, Sammi didn’t realize I’d stopped. She walked right into me, cursing loud enough to draw stares when her binder fel out of her hand and popped open on the ground, littering the steps with loose-leaf paper.

“I could use a little notice next time you plan on zoning out, Faythe,” she snapped, bending to gather up her notes. Grunts and more colorful words issued from behind her, where our fel ow grad students were stal ed by our pedestrian traffic jam. Lit majors are not known for watching where they’re going; most of us walk with our eyes in a book instead of on the path ahead.

“Sorry.” I knelt to help her, snatching a sheet of paper from the concrete before the student behind me could stomp on it. Standing, I took the steps two at a time, following Sammi to a brick half wal...
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