Copyright © 2014 by Leah Cutter
This version published by Knotted Road Press
Originally published in "Black Hearts, Ivory Bones"
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After driving 2295 all day, Karen decided that the larger the Texas highway number, the smaller and meaner the road. When she saw the signs for 624, she turned off gratefully.
Annaville, population 5087, was the first town she came to. Scrub oak with dirty leaves edged the town square. Mother's Cafe, one of the restaurants facing the square, had a sign in the window, promising fresh pies.
Karen and her mama couldn't have afforded even a run-down small-town cafe; the Old Lady who'd taken her in after Mama'd died would have walked by without bothering to look. Karen tried to drive by slowly, but her foot kept tapping the accelerator instead of the brake. She circled back around the square for a second look.