A story without beginning or end:
One by one they trickle in, teachers, clerks, cashiers, waiters, lawyers, doctors, taxi drivers, writers, singers, ex-soldiers, programmers, house cleaners, postal workers, grocery store workers, dishwashers, street sweepers, you name it. Gamblers, dressmakers, dockworkers, bakers, Quakers, etc etc. Listmaker Colleen counts them, loses track, shrugs, starts again. The counting is compulsory, but caring isn’t, and she’s finally learned that trick, thank the devil.
She moves through the crowd, chanting along, reading signs, studying faces, counting candles. The plaza is ringed with makeshift fencing and cops in riot gear, faces blank and complacent behind mirrored shields. She memorizes badge numbers for later; a plague on all police, one of the few philosophical tenets that bridges the before and after of her life.
She snags the first thrown brick out of the air and snaps it in half with her hands, grinds it to powder with her teeth. No one see her fill her throat and stomach with brick dust and malice, nor when she breathes it out again, but the crowd twitches, newly angry, and snarls toward the suddenly sober jackass that threw it.
The dusty smell of pavement hit by rain.