EXIT

The Pouting

Cherrise walked calmly. No need to waste a display. She walked calmly towards the woods and clenched her little fists. Open, close, open, close. Mitseena, her skinny black cat, followed her about twenty feet behind. Every so often Cherrise would stop and let Mitseena catch up, never betraying that she knew she was being followed. It was important for Mitseena to feel that she was getting away with something. Cherrise understood that perfectly.

Of all the hot sunny perfectly sticky slowed down days for this to happen. Thinking about that made her madder, and she was already mad. She wasn't mad at herself, she was never mad at herself. But she was fairly mad at everyone else involved and quite a few people who weren't involved and this perfectly sunny slowed down day just stretched like a hot piece of gum on the bottom of her shoe. Even so, she walked calmly.

On the way, as waves rose from the sidewalk ahead and distant bumpers glimmered signals across her vision, Cherrise felt as if she might begin to float on a heat wave and let the hot stale wind carry her away. But she was mad and that was impossible. Cherrise was mad.

How anyone could do what they had done was a mystery. How she was going to rearrange her life to deal with this mystery was also a mystery. She stopped in front of the hardware store in the shade of a stack of coleman coolers long enough for Mitseena to negotiate the criss-crossed cars between them. Mitseena almost caught her watching but she managed to divert her eyes just in time. "C'mon were almost there" she started to blurt out but she caught herself. They were almost there.

The woods were waiting, they always were. She passed the smooth round boulder at the