Karen and the Baby

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Karen guided a creaking stroller down the middle of the mall’s longest corridor. Hoary February sunlight pixelated through the windows above. A whine emanated from the carriage. Shoppers passed by, smiling. Flocks of elderly mall walkers parted for the two. Karen turned a corner, tripped, and collided with a texting toddler. A wheel snapped off the stroller, heaving its contents into the air. The bundle crashed to the ground and slid across the boot-stained linoleum. Karen scrambled to gather the pile, cradling a plastic doll wrapped in blankets. A shopper handed Karen one of the scattered items. It was a voice recorder. Inside was a worn-out cassette tape.


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