She was maybe ten feet from the top of the hill before her scooter gave out a sickening whir and died, finally, after five more feet. Silence closed in around her then, and the first of the many emotions that were sure to come felt, surprisingly, like relief. The death of a sound and that’s all, that’s how it struck her. For a few seconds sitting there, staring at the crest of the last hill before the two blocks’ downward slope to her place, strobed in shadow by branches swaying beneath the streetlights, she felt calm. Alone in the center of a two-lane road and attended to by row houses on either side, she was swaddled in silence. She sighed.
What came next was a gentle tug backward.