Step by Step by Rebecca Edelman

Mary-Sue hid the knife in her purse. She called upstairs to her father. “Hey dad! I’m going out for a while. I’ll be back soon!” Her father just grunted in response from his place in front of the TV, a beer can falling off his stomach. She stepped out of her house and grabbed her keys from her pocket to lock the door. With a final ‘click’ she knew she was now in open territory. She stepped down to her stoop and looked around as if expecting something. As if she was crossing the street, she looked both ways down the sidewalk before beginning her walk into the city. Her short hair bobbed as she glanced from side to side. She gripped her purse with one hand, the other sitting ready at her side in case anything happened. She stopped in front of a building. Glancing at the address, she breathed in heavily.
A sudden voice startled her. “Are you alright dear?” asked an elderly woman.

“Who wants to know?” Not waiting for an answer, she strode into the building. A small group of four people were waiting for the elevator. The elevator arrived and the people flooded in. “Are you comin’ ma’am?” One of the men asked, his arm shielding the door so it wouldn’t close.

“No.” She watched the doors close and pushed the button to call a different elevator. It arrived and she got on. She pressed the button for her floor just as a man began running towards the elevator.

“Hold the elevator!” he yelled.

Immediately she pushed the ‘close doors’ button. The doors began to close and she caught a glimpse of the man’s face. The fury in his eyes didn’t faze her. She reached her floor and got out. She walked into an office and a receptionist greeted her. “Hello. You’re just on time.” She held out a box and Mary-Sue took out the knife and dropped it in. Mary-Sue walked into a separate room and sat down in a leather chair. Also in the room was a woman, who was sitting on an identical chair. The woman was also holding a clipboard. On the top of the paper it said ‘Mary-Sue.’
The woman smiled warmly at Mary-sue. “How was your walk over here? Stressful? You made it here alive,” she said, attempting a small joke.

Mary-Sue didn’t smile. “It was difficult of course. Very dangerous. It could happen again any day. But I’m more prepared this time, unlike how my mom was.”

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