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Anna was not a beacon of natural good luck, but she didn’t carry around a bag of bad luck either. The fact that she happened to be walking past Nathan’s apartment as the door opened quickly and suddenly was sheer coincidence.

Reflexively, she stopped in her tracks to avoid a collision as Nathan clearly had other thoughts on his mind. He didn’t acknowledge her presence as he slipped out the sliver of the doorway and pulled the door shut quickly behind him. He took his time locking the deadbolt and when he finally turned in her direction, he seemed startled to find her standing there though she had made no attempt to conceal her presence.

“Hey,” she offered in greeting.

“Sorry,” he mumbled in reply, “didn’t see you there.”

His voice sounded scratchy and hoarse. The scratchy she could understand; her own throat felt dry and parched ninety percent of the time lately. But the tone of his voice seemed off, and it was just the sort of thing she typically picked up on. His eyes were abnormally red as well. Though he clearly did not seem to want to strike up a conversation, she attempted anyway, “Seem to be in an awfully big hurry there. Everything all right?”

“Just need to get some fresh air,” he responded. “Starting to feel a little claustrophobic.”

Well, that was a feeling with which they could all relate. Their apartment complex had once been a hotel before it had been renovated for renting, and everything about it seemed confined, though she figured that could just be part of city living as well. She longed for the days when she could walk aimlessly through the lesser navigated streets, or sit quietly in the park by herself. She had lost track recently of the last time she had actually stepped outside of the building. The thought troubled her.

Instinct told her that Nathan was really looking for something else, but she didn’t want to push it. After all, they were barely neighbors and they were hardly friends. Anna made a point of not making friends easily, and just the fact that she had attempted to start a conversation with him instead of hurrying on by when his door opened could have been perceived as progress if social interaction was a desired outcome.

“Well, take care then,” she said when she could find nothing else to say. With a quick nod of his head as a dismissal, he headed in the direction from which she came while she continued on down the hallway. The encounter sat suspicious in her mind, but she chalked it up to sheer boredom. She hardly doubted anything would come from it. If anything, she reckoned he was starting to go a bit stir crazy and if that was the case, he was rather late to the club. Several times now she had found herself sitting in the living room, staring off into space when she started to chuckle. The chuckle would then turn into full blown laughter if she didn’t catch it in time, and then she would find herself laughing at nothing at all.

Anna felt as if the walls were starting to close in on her. The building was, in fact, closing in on them in general. Perhaps society had driven humans into smaller confined areas, but they were never meant to live that way. If circumstances didn’t change, and rather quickly at that, Anna worried that the situation on the streets would become the least of their problems.

But she tried not to dwell on it too much for now.

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