N is for Nihilism

Lilith stood before her front door, the key in the lock but yet unturned, and sniffed. There was a faint floral note of some high-end cigarette in the air, and she looked around confused. The lights in the house were off, none of her neighbors smoked (at least, none were outside and smoking, nor were there any noises to indicate a party in somebody’s backyard.) The scent was fresh, though, still tobacco-y and not yet just mere smoke. So where the Hell was it coming from?

A cough, from somewhere above and away from her. Lilith looked up at the ceiling of her porch, as if she could somehow see through it, and frowned. “Meagan?”

Another cough. A voice, distant and casual and slightly too loud. A perfectly reasonable outdoors voice. It was just strange to hear it coming from the roof. “Hey, roomie.”

“What are you doing?”

“I quit,” Meagan said.

Lilith frowned again. “Quit? You quit what? Oh, Jesus, did you quit your job? Did you quit school?”

Another cough. “I just quit. I got home from work today, looked in the mirror, and thought, ‘You know what? Fuck it. I quit.’ Then I took a shower, put on my pajamas, went to the store to get a pack of smokes, and used the ladder to climb onto the roof.” There was an exaggerated sucking sound followed by exhaling and more coughing, Meagan filling her lungs with another puff of tobacco and letting it float away in the air.

“You don’t smoke,” Lilith said. The key was forgotten in the lock, and she was now circling the house in search of the ladder.

“But I always wanted to try it.”

“Get down from there. You’re going to fall off and hurt yourself.”

“I don’t think so. It’s a pretty shallow angle. I think I’ll be fine so long as I don’t, you know. Roll around or something.” Another inhale and an exhale. Meagan didn’t cough this time. “Besides, it’s pretty. I can see the stars.”


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