The Tension Pt.2 [Short Story]

The tension was palpable at street level. Luis stood behind the counter of his mid-town delicatessen half listening to the customer whose latte he was preparing and half staring out the large plate glass window of his store front. He kept looking for something, anything that might explain the anxious feeling that had the hairs on the back of his neck bristling with anticipation.

Noelle and her daughter Lucy sat across the street under a parasol that shaded them from the bright midday sun. A pleasant heat permeated the air but it was the tension that stalled their conversation and had them fidgeting idly with their cutlery and the straws in their lunchtime cocktails. The planned conversation, one that had been brewing between them for many days in the wake of other events in their personal lives, was abandoned as their combined anxiety weighed heavily upon them.

John stood at the crosswalk and stared somewhat open-mouthed and dumbfounded as he watched the traffic lights follow their normal pattern of green to amber to red and back to green while the assembled driver on both junctions merely sat idling in their vehicles. He spotted movement on the other side of the street and his gaze followed the movement as it resolved into a shaggy looking mutt who calmly trotted along the street, weaving through the few people who were likewise staring about in confusion. The dog continued up to the corner and promptly disappeared from John’s view as he continued on his way.

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