“Hand over the girl.”
I looked at the suit holding the gun and knew he was used to getting what he wanted. I sighed. “Its not going to happen.”
“Are you crazy? We have you outnumbered.”
“And your point is?..”
He looked me dead in the eye. “We can take her by force if we have to.”
“That’s not a good idea.”
He threw his head back. “Ha! And why not?”
“For every action there is a reaction. You are a ripple in the pond. Don’t turn it into a wave.”
“I hated school teachers as a kid. I hate them even worse now, so just give us the girl.”
“You can learn nothing from her. Leave her alone.”
“We just want to talk to her about what she saw.”
I looked at the thugs before me. There were three of them. Either they weren’t that worried over what she saw or they didn’t think they’d have any trouble out of a little girl and her runaway school teacher. “She didn’t see anything. Nobody called the cops. Live and let live.”
The leader of the three shook his head. “I’m sorry, the boss wants to see her just the same. Just to make sure.”
“I can’t let you take her.”
“Come on, teach. Be smart. Don’t make me shoot you.”
The gun in his hand, pointing directly at me, was starting to make me nervous. “You don’t understand.”
“So make me understand and maybe I’ll let you live.”
I noticed the other two suits laughed under their breath. Yeah, I didn’t believe it either.
“She can’t go outside,” I said. “Not yet anyway.”
“What? Is she grounded or something? Teacher, giving her after school lessons in the dark? Ha-ha!”
“No, she just likes it here in the dark.”
“Freaking perv. How many little girls you bring down here in this dark, damp basement?”
“I’m not a perv. I’m her teacher.”
“Not for long, you ain’t. Now, one last time, hand..over…the …girl.”
I sighed. We were never going to get through this unless I did as they asked. I glanced over my shoulder towards the darkness in the corner. Not even shadows invaded that space, but I knew that’s where she was.
“I’m sorry Elena. These men want to talk to you. I tried my best. I guess I’m not much good at being a protector.”
The lead suit grinned. “That’s better, teach. Now get her out of that corner.”
“Elena, it’s alright. You can come out and go with them. But just this one time, okay?”
“That’s right girly, come out and go with us.”
I tried to peer into the dark, wondering if she was coming or not. Nothing moved there, but I knew she waiting for further instruction.
“Remember what I taught you. Never for pleasure, always for survival, okay?”
The thug leader rolled his eyes. “Whatever, teach. Come on girl, we ain’t got all day. Earl, go over there and get her.”
One of the other gangsters, Earl I assume, took a quick, purposeful stride towards the corner. “Right, boss. I’m on it….Hey, what’s up with her eyes? Why is she freaking smiling like that…..Aaaaaaaa!”
His screams pierced the silence of the basement. There was a crunching sound as he vanished into the pitch black corner. A guttural growl issued from the dark and Earl’s screams seemed to rise a moment before being replaced by something that sounded like he was drowning. We could hear the gurgling in his throat.
“What the hell? Get her off of him!”
The leader shoved his other gun toting cronie towards the corner. The guy hesitat d, seriously afraid, but knew he had no choice. He bounded into the dark, his gun blazing.
“I told you she wants to stay in the dark,” I said.
The gunfire suddenly stopped. “Oh my god, boss! She has…. Aaaaaa!”
In anger the leader cracked me against the head with the butt of the gun. I knew it would draw blood, but I didn’t go down. I stood my ground as he charged to the rescue of his guys.
“I’m coming , hold on! I’m going to pump you full of lead, you little bitch!”
He came up short, raised his gun at the target he could barely see. He pulled the trigger firing off several rounds until there was nothing but clicks.
“What the shit? What..what the hell are you? I just emptied all my bullets into you!”
He tried to take a step back, all the while his finger still pulling the trigger of the now empty gun. A small hand reached out of the darkness. Long, thin fingers bent at odd angles, as if the bones had all grown out in different directions. They grasped his gun arm, wrapping around his biceps and pulled him back into the horrible dark, where even I could not witness his fate.
“No, get away from me! Why are you looking at me like that? Oh Mary, holy mother of Jesus, is that blood on your teeth? No, no, no!…… AaaaaAAA!”
I took a short step forward. Pulling out my handkerchief, I wiped the blood off my forehead where the gun handle had whacked me.
“Elena, don’t turn them. Survival only, remember?”
I approached the dark corner and held my hand out. There were unsettling noises coming from within. Cracking bones. Hungry slurping. Animalistic growls overshadowing the moans of the dying. There was a final crunch like someone setting a broken leg on the field of battle and then her hand reached out to grasp mine gently. It was a normal child hand. No long, thin fingers bent outwards in opposite ways. And as she emerged from the darkness, her dusty brown hair covering half her face, I smiled.
“That’s a good girl,” I said.
She squinted her dark eyes against the light from the basement bulbs. Small slices of sunlight filtered through boarded up casement windows, and I maneuvered her small frame around them.
“Come on, let’s get you away from the light.”
She held her arms up to me and I picked her up.
“Whoa, you sure are heavy after you’ve had breakfast….”
She lay her head over on my shoulder. I could smell the blood in her hair and on her clothes. Her little arms tightened around me and I thought to myself, one day I was going to miss this. Caring about someone. Protecting the innocent. Perhaps you wouldn’t understand, but she’s my blood pupil, not yours. I dare you to come between us…
2017 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.
Read the original dialogue only version here: Hand Over The Girl: Dialogue Prompt for Sunday 12 Feb