Don’t walk under ladders, don’t put your shoes on the table, don’t bring may blossom into the house, don’t cross on the stairs. Don’t step on the cracks in the pavement! Don’t bring bad luck down on us! So many “don’ts”! She was sick of them. Her childhood was littered with admonitions against the darkness, the badness, the luckless. Her family was so grim, barely a smile to be seen on her grandparents’ faces. Why couldn’t they just smile and live their lives?
“Lena! Lena! Come play with us!”
The street children had no such worries; they ran and jumped and sang, their lives full of laughter and simple pleasure. No evil eye cast darkness over them. Lena crossed the street. “What are you playing?” “The bear hunting game. We need someone to step on the cracks to lure them out!”
A shadow passed over Lena’s heart.
Submitted to Ad Hoc Fiction January 2016.