Summer has slid into what you could barely call a winter after the vaguest blur of an autumn. It wasn’t so killing hot, at least, that was the biggest difference. The trees barely muster the energy to change color, scatter dry leaves still green on the dust of the sidewalk. Down to the 60s, and the nights come on earlier, but that’s about it; the weather is dry as it ever was, bright as it ever was, hazy as it ever was on the brown brittle hills; off to the west there are a few more clouds over the city, but not so many as there used to be. Most days you can see buildings all the way to the hill guarding the lip of the Ocean. Time passes, and it doesn’t; each day is as similar as the seasons.
The woman calling herself Elsa Carrow has found an apartment off a bus line in the part of town with bars over all the windows. It’s inexpensive, by the standards of the town, but she could have rented two for the same price in her old town. Couldn’t have afforded them there, though; if the rent’s higher she’s got more money coming in to make up for it, just barely. Listening to the highway traffic at night she tells herself that’s enough. Black dust accumulates on every flat surface every time she opens the windows, swells in the corners, clogs her pores and her lungs. She swelters at night, but it’s better than waking up caked in aerosolized road grit.