There is a girl up on Fulton Street with a black bird in her high window, and her street is lined with a thousand boarded windows and one blown out and burnt from the meth lab three families ago.

There are no families anymore on Fulton Street. Not in Vanessa's world.

Every day she goes outdoors, to retrieve a paper with the single picture of a mushroom cloud over her city on the front page. The towers of her city glitter at her in the morning light.

Each and every time Vanessa turns to go back inside of the house, somebody bumps into her, yells an apology, and runs down the white cement sidewalk and across the winter-killed grass of her lawn. Vanessa doesn't know who it is.

There are one hundred children playing on Fulton Street, and none of them see Vanessa. And Vanessa never sees them.

The only thing broken inside of Vanessa's house is a single crack in the mirror over the sink, and it shows her half of the face of a girl with a melted cheek and no eyes. The other half is a perfect cupid bow, a long fall of slick black hair and blank emerald eyes.

Vanessa's parents leave for work very early in the morning and return very late at night, after the sun has set. Every evening Vanessa takes a perfect, bright-coloured meal from the freezer and sets it in the microwave and eats it on the white couch, staring out the window into the blood red setting sun, and somewhere in the house a siren begins to howl.

Every morning, Vanessa goes outdoors to retrieve a paper with a single picture of a mushroom cloud.

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