Bytown e1c8: There Are Quicker Ways to Die
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The door jerked open before Maggie could even knock and she was nearly pushed off the step by a middle-aged man in a spotless tailored suit, as he struggled to get his arm through the sleeve of his outercoat. When he noticed her there, he froze, eyes wide in shock and misery.
"Oh dearie," he said, forgetting his troubles all at once. "Oh Maggie, you poor thing."
She tried not to dwell on it; she helped him with his coat, adjusting the collar at the end. "Hello, Mr Crowley. Is Colleen in?"
Mixed emotions flashed across his face: pride at her grit and perseverance in such miserable times...but crushing heartbreak, that she thought it necessary. He squeezed her arm in solidarity, widower to widow. "You’ve a room here whenever you need it."
Maggie was about to protest when Colleen came skidding down the hall, nearly tumbling straight out the door. "Maggie!" she gasped. "What happened at the--" She noticed her father standing there. "--place. With the...things. And--"
"You and your sisters clear a room for poor Maggie," Mr Crowley said, pulling on his gloves. "Clear and clean, Colleen."