Summer was a crappy season for bad moods. It had nothing to do with the camaraderie of the beach, or the calming warm breezes. The bright blue skies and even brighter swimsuits simply made a poor backdrop for misery.
A gang of under twelves ran past, shrieking and waving their arms about. One of them hit Sarah in the arm. She considered tripping that one–or any of them–but the consideration took longer than the action would have.
Her sour face would have been incongruous with any season in Phoenix. Not that it had more than two. Under a seemingly permanent sunburn, she was sallow and sorely in need of freckles. Her black hair was long and thick, a long-time contributor to the scowl on her face and the sticky sweat on the back of her narrow neck.
Sarah was not a girl to be liked. She wouldn’t have stood for it.
More passersby appeared as if conjured. One of them, a boy on a skateboard, barrelled into her. In Sarah’s mind, this sort of action could only ever be on purpose. She was cursing before she hit the pavement.
And she hit it hard. Her shoulder straddled the curb, allowing her elbow to strike the tarmac. The blow almost hurt more less than the subsequent burning sensation. Bare skin and sun-ripened asphalt did not make good friends.
The skateboard rolled away, the sound of its retreat rumbling like a deep thought in the throat of a career cigar-smoker.
Her chest felt squashed. The boy had landed on her, and not in a way removed from film. His knee dug into her stomach, and his arm hit her in the face twice as they tried to get up.
His face was darker than hers, hardly an accomplishment, but it carried such a similar scowl to her own that for a moment, she forgot to wear it.