- Tennessee Heat Chapter 1
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 2
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 3
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 4
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 5
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 6
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 7
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 8
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 9
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 10
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 11
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 12
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 13
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 14
- Tennessee Heat Chapter 15
The girls were more orderly than their counterparts. Some of them were enjoying a game of hopscotch while others were skipping. They only cussed out one another heatedly when someone got hit with the rope or the skipper didn’t jump high enough and they had to start all over again.
She couldn’t imagine what they were doing playing in this heat, but she well remembered days like this when she was young and didn’t have a care in the world. She didn’t feel the heat then either.
She averted her eyes from the group of babies somebody had left sitting in the dry dirt to play. There were flies and other insects buzzing around and she imagined that it was the smell of their dirty diapers that was attracting them.
Poor kids, she felt bad for them because unless something changed, their lives were gonna begin and end here. She’d lost count of how many neighbors had been shot down in the streets, some right outside her door.
There was a crap load of babies; they were everywhere. On the sidewalk, around the doors, and at their mothers’ feet. It seemed like there was one born every week here.
Girls her age were working on baby number two and seemed perfectly content with their lot in life, while all she could think about was getting out.
The grown-ups were sitting around outside and some of them hung out in their open doors. There were two women lounging on the doorstep, and a few more scattered around on lawn chairs.
Almost all of them had a kid in their arms, and most of them were already pregnant again. This is what she had to look forward to. She hated it with every vein in her body.
She avoided looking at the women as hard as she’d done with the men. There was no love lost between her and some of her neighbors, especially the ones in her age bracket.
It seemed the general consensus was that because she refused to get knocked up by the block’s latest drug lord and drop out of school to have his brat while he ran around with the next baby mama, she thought she was better than them.
She’d heard more than enough rumors about plots to jump her to keep her guard up. It was a shame but she never felt safe here. She felt trapped and alone in a sea of people.
Everywhere she looked it seemed she had enemies. Even among those she’d made at school, which was a million miles away from here, both literally and figuratively.
Kim was her only real friend. She knew the situation from second hand knowledge of course, and so she was always inviting her wherever the gang was going, just to get her away from here for a while.
Annabelle knew that more than a few of the others resented that, but they dared not say anything because Kim had the shortest temper known to man and that girl hates to be told what to do.
But pretty soon Kim will be away at Vassar and there will be no more escape for her, except for her job, which was clear across town.
She was already beginning to feel sick to her stomach at the thought of what the future held. Between the stoop of women she’d just passed and home is where her fists started to clench and her guts tied themselves in knots.