Key Three omega wolf cubs wearing defiance, (baseball caps backwards, baggy pants, bulky chains securing empty wallets) in the edgy interval of peach-fuzz chins and croaking voices. I shoo them out of the hospital basement on my way to the change room.
As I exit, the staff entrance door clicks locked behind me. I see them illuminated by the streetlight, circling, a pack on the shore waiting for their prey to exhaust itself swimming.
Rummaging through my purse, instead of my staff badge which unlocks the door, I find my key ring.
Ignoring the flutter of hummingbird wings caged by my ribs, I stride through them, chin up, shoulders square, make it half way to my car before I hear feet slapping closer, loud as a beaver tail’s warning.
I spin around, keys protruding from my clenched fist like talons. They freeze mid-step, turn to retreat in unison. You’re fucking brave when I’m facing you hurled at their backs as insurance.
Once locked in my car, shivering like birch leaves in the evening breeze, I struggle to stem the news feed stream of alternate ugly endings, texture of blood, broken bone, bruises supplied by my nursing experience.
I imagine them laughing at the harmless only joking fun
still can’t leave a building without clutching keys in my hand right hand.