Pistons pumping, a lawn-mower pulse and wheeze. She looks over her shoulder to see the VW coming up fast: dull black in the flat November light. Thumbs hooked under leather backpack straps, hands numb, Rose walks backward keeping her gaze straight and sober toward the driver. Gravel rasps under her boots. He passes her and pulls over a few paces ahead. The driver pushes the passenger door open in front of her like a gate, so that even if she wants to keep going, she can’t. She doesn’t want to keep going.

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