Fiction Friday: Direction

The needle in her compass spun around and around in her hand, the same way it had all night. She was trying to follow it somewhere, anywhere, but the more she asked for guidance, the more useless it seemed to become.

It was the coldest day on record in years, almost a decade, in a place that had no problem getting cold anyway. She had wandered into a bar to thaw out her tingling limbs and found that the thaw was far more painful than the freeze, so she resolved to stay outside. As a result, her gait was little more than a shuffle.

“Tell me where to go,” she urged the compass yet again. The pain in her brow intensified as the wind started to pick up in earnest. The avenue was lined with small apartment buildings, sleeping trees, and orange streetlights. She ran across it to take shelter behind a bar that she knew all too well.

“Show me the way.” She begged, and the needle spun aimlessly. Finally, it spun between north- toward the city- and south- toward the lake. She shook the device, although it made no difference. Even the compass that was her name was useless. “SHOW ME!” She yelled, throwing the compass to the ground. She resisted the urge to stomp on it.

She slid down until she was on all fours and wept. This night had become so impossible, and she had never been more uncertain in her life. Gritting her teeth, she reached into her coat and pulled on the chain around her neck until it exposed her switchblade. Rifling in her pockets, she came up with a lighter.

“If you won’t tell me,” she threatened, flicking the flame over the knife, “that’s fine. But we’ll see who really suffers.” The wind moaned in her ear. “Yeah, well this is my destiny”.

She saw a beacon across the busy street and fell silent in body and spirit. It had never occurred to her that she could go any further.

She stood up, shook the snow off of herself, and put her weapons away.

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