"Thank you very much." Persephone Hampton nodded politely to the cashier as she did every week, pocketed her change, and lifted her bags off the counter as she exited the convenience store. As she stepped out onto the sidewalk, a look at the total on the receipt was the catalyst for concern to crease her usually delicate features. With all the kids at the house now, we can't afford to keep feeding ourselves this way. It was true that the boarding house had gained a few more tenants than was comfortable within the past few months, but she still couldn't bring herself to turn anyone away. Sighing, she began to walk, noting that the sky was already growing dark. What time is it? Can't be later than seven. Time seemed to go by in a blur these days, what with school, work, and caring for the younger kids. Persephone sometimes wondered if she was even going a little crazy. Heavy thoughts weighed down on her to the point they were almost tangible, slowing her pace with their unpleasant associations. Quickly she shook herself back to what she was doing, pushed her dark hair behind her ears, and continued to walk, speeding up a little more than before.