To kelkyag‘s prompt.
The park in the middle of the city had always been creepy.
It was only a city block wide, but it had been allowed – some said by design – to become overgrown and wild, so that there were only two clear paths through the whole thing, an X crossing the park, the center a circle where, once upon a time, a merry-go-round had stood. People hurried through the center now, even in the middle of the day. The ghosts of the children were too densely packed there, and too loud.
Whitney cut through there every day. It took five minutes off of her walk, if she did it right, and that meant she could catch the 6:30 bus instead of the 5:30 bus and still be to work on time (instead of fifty minutes early), which meant another hour of sleep or reading or drawing in the morning and being able to actually stay up in the evening; on the way home, it meant she could take the 5:15 instead of the 5:45 home. She walked the park from the Northwest corner to the Southeast corner, which to her was a matter of practicality, but to our story means everything.