Bella felt like she was falling, and then found her feet in the convenience store around the corner from the apartment where she grew up. The feeling of free-fall somewhere in her gut didn’t go away, even though she seemed to have landed.
There was a bespectacled old man in the back corner of the store, holding the cooler door open, staring hard into a gallon of milk. She vaguely remembered the day - she was thirteen, the man had unnerved her. She’d complained to her mother, who looked distressed and hurried them out without buying anything. The next day they had seen the news - not two minutes after they left, the bespectacled man had shot the cashier, the other customer in the store, and himself.
Her mother was gone, of course she was gone. And without her prodding to leave, Bella took a bullet to the back of the head.
Then she was 15 and there was no microwave on the curb on the way home from school to slow her down - so she was crossing the street when a car blew through the intersection.
Then she was 18, the first time the fog rolled in, bleeding out on the kitchen floor from the lines she cut in her hips. She hadn’t been trying to kill herself but she’d nicked something major. The phone was nowhere in sight and 911 wasn’t coming this time.