She sat unfazed and motionless. The still of the night around her was so ordinary it almost announced itself as it moved, unremarkable and sticky as always in summer in the Midwest.
A party had been going for hours a couple doors down...college kids who'd waited out the quarantine w the patience of a hornets nest.
The booming sound of their garbage music swelled when they barbecued on the patio,
and ebbed as they shuffled inside for rounds of what they no doubt assumed were clandestine indulgences but instead were quite obviously rounds of laxative-laden cocaine.
When the music burst forth every 20 minutes or so,
it had the effect of 20 shirtless men in jorts singing "sweet home Alabama" without a care in the world about the existence of the Mason Dixon line above which their were living.
To their credit, the music stopped by 10pm. The wind had whipped up into a fervor by this point, typical in this area and masking just enough of the sound that followed.
Neighbors on either side did not hear the low wailing that wafted through the block.
It was the sound of a man's deep guttural cry, unleashed slowly and barely audible at first, growing in anguish with each decibel, but remaining below the sound of the wind.
Her skin rose in goosebumps but she did not flinch. Her heart beat faster and her knuckles dug into the cushion, though she did not betray the stillness of the night.
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