Malory swiped the sweat from her forehead as she looked out at the parking lot. Despite her youth, her back ached, her legs burned. It had been a grueling job, but they’d finally finished. She and a few neighbors had worked practically nonstop the entire Saturday. Together, they’d removed months’ worth of trash and junk, old furniture and broken toys, fast food wrappers and drug paraphernalia. Malory was tired of looking of the window of her tiny apartment and seeing a wasteland. She was tired of asking for help and getting only silence in response. As far as the government was concerned, this was the middle of nowhere, they were nobodies, forgotten. Change had to come through them.
Maybe tomorrow the lot would be trashed again. Maybe the government would never hear them. Maybe no one cared. But today, their neighborhood was beautiful, if only for a little while, and people were smiling at one another again. Even the cynical neighbors, who told her that nothing mattered, that there was no point, poked their heads out of their smudged windows and marveled at the change. Today, even if it was only temporary, they had won.
Malory is a character in my manuscript, The Wildflower Project, a dystopian story set over 200 years in the future. Read it for free here.