Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

The streetlights went out, and night became real — no more passersby to offer change or a dirty look. The temperature fell like a sleeping cat from a balcony — she’d seen that more than once. Mary wrapped herself in soiled charity and moved inside. Mary wasn’t her given name, but she found it invoked more kindness from strangers than her own — the few who cared to ask. A cold moon glowed through the cracks of her shelter, highlighting the lines and…