Illuminating the Dark Sky

Here is a short mystery story that I wrote in Ms. Duncan’s class Freshman year. 

    Aahie fidgets as Momma watches her.  She Wrings her sleeves, watching as they crease as the lines on Momma’s face do.  Momma’s eyes swell slowly, the whites becoming pink around the edges.  Daddy tries soothing her by stroking his thumb across her palm and softening his voice to a whisper.  The table shakes beneath Momma’s grip at the edge, her nails digging into the wood.  Momma’s perspective of the room narrowed, the pastel walls began closing in around her, the light from the chandelier dimmed.  Daddy was on his knees next to Momma now.  His usually business demeanor was gone at the sight of her in distress.  He took the arms of her chair in his hands.  Daddy’s words were coming out rough, and urgent now.

    The Chair beneath Aahie creaks as she leaves the table.  Momma stirs and Daddy is facing Aahie now.  He extends his hand as if to catch her arm, but Momma begins to cry out.  Her voice is shrill at the end of her words.  She reaches for her daughter.  Daddy holds her back as Momma pounds her fists against him to fight back.  She reaches out again, frantically, shouting on about how all she is trying to do is protect Aahie.

    The door knob is in Aahie’s hand now as she tries to work the latch.  She hears someone fall in the other room, and glances back to see her mother curling on the wood in a massive heap.  Her heart tightens and she feels the need to go back, to help calm Momma, but she can’t.  She twists the knob and throws the door open.  Her little bare feet carry her across the lawn fast enough to evade Daddy.

    The long gravel path begins to disappear and is replaced by the dry field that extends to the edge of town.  Once at the middle of the field, Aahie halts.  Her breath came out ragged as she inhaled deeply the scents of the moist air and the dry grass that clung to her.  She looked down and frowned at the stains on her pale yellow dress.  Aahie tugged at the skirt and lightly fingered the dirt.  The marks smudged.  She threw the skirt down in frustration.  She continued, walking on her toes, and jumped every now and then to see over the grass.  The crickets were surrounding her now with their chirpings in their loud attempts to distract her.  Aahie’s thoughts briefly go back to her Momma’s behavior.  Softly, she shakes her head to erase the image.  The sun’s light was fading in the distance.  She had to hurry, before the only light she had to walk by was the stars.

    Aahie silently apologized to Momma.  She had never meant to upset her.  She knew how afraid Momma had become since this day last year, but she had to go.  She had made a promise.  A smile pulled at the edge of Aahie’s lips.  She began to hum to the cricket’s chirps as she thought about it.  She was going to see her brother again.

    A small gasp escaped when she caught sight of the familiar lights.  The darkening sky was now illuminated by the cheerful atmosphere.  Aahie ran desperately for the edge of the field, not caring about her appearance anymore.  The white ring of curls that usually tickled her round cheeks bounced clumsily around her face.  She stumbled through the grass, and shoved the long reaching fingers aside.  Aahie wasn’t going to let them lead her from the path, not when she was so close.  If she squinted she could almost see the red and white tents.  The sound of laughter fused with the chirping.  Aahie pushed harder, willing herself further away from the safety of home and to the long awaited embrace of her brother.

    The crowds stand before her now.  The odd sites around her took the attention away from her panting and disheveled appearance.  The travelers from far away places were spread out amongst the booths and stages.  Scents of funnel cakes and fried foods came to her through the hoard of bodies.  Incessant children laughed with delight as they directed their amused parents to a game stand.  The pop of balloons and the buzzers were becoming distracting.  These people had come to play and have fun.

    Aahie was almost caught up in her own delight at being here when a hand clasped her shoulder.  She whirled around and was prepared to shout until she saw the round red nose and unmistakable painted face.  Her smile widened.  If anyone would help her find her brother, it would be him.

    “I saw yah here and you were looking kinda lost,” the clown stared at her for a minute.  His eyes flashed, but he hid his intentions from the girl well.  He took a bow and bared his bald head to the little girl before continuing, “Ask any service of me, Vienarado Van Abelle, and I will be happy to help.”

    She looked at his tilted, open face, and smiled.

    “Brother is here,” she replies, “I promised him.  I promised that I would come be like you, just like brother did.”

    “Really?” inquired Vienarado Van Abelle.  He stands on his heels, leaning back and peering at her through slits in his eyes, when he states, “Yah do have the looks for it, and yah innocence and naivety will work out well.”

    “Ni…evity?  What do you mean?”

    The clown takes her wrist and leads her to the train on the tracks.  She caught sight of the rusty train cars, and squinted to see what was in them.  A single noise of plea, moans, and sobs cascaded from the open car, forcing Aahie to pause.  Vienarado tugged at the girl and dragged her behind him, turning to give her a cruel, menacing smile.  The fright enveloping the little girl makes him want to torment her.  She goes to scream, to get someone to help, but he pulls her face in front of his and cuts her words off with his filthy hand.

    His breath rolled over her when he spoke, a horrid and acrid smell, “Little girl, little girl.  Yah should know better.  Didn’cha momma ever tell yah ’bout us?” His fingers tightened.  “Yah look just like him, too.  With the hair and those wide brown, terrified eyes.”

    He chuckled to himself.  His fingers weaving through the little girl’s curls.  Aahie’s body convulsed with sobs.  The clown tossed her into the awaiting car with the other miserable children. 

    He had remembered her brother.  The mother’s psychotic break-down was in the papers the next day.  The brother had sold for quite a price, and now, he had the sister.

    “Fortune must be in my favor,” he chuckled silently as he spoke to himself, “Fortune must be in my favor.”

I did it on human trafficking and set it in Sweden.


One thought on “Illuminating the Dark Sky

  1. This story reminds me of the thrilling excerpt from a popular book…It compels me to purchase the entire thing…when will that be ready ;-)? Your compassion and understanding of human trafficking is remarkable. It is over a $30 billion industry that ruins individual lives and families for evil intentions. I particularly like how you display a trusted clown as the villain which shadows real life situations of children trusting those adults in which they inherently should be able to trust; yet are manipulated and coerced into a shockingly painful new life. Through all of your writings, events, and all the conversations we have had you have not only opened my eyes but have made me very proud of you with your unrelenting intent to make a difference in this world.

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