#110 Shattered

by Elizabeth West

Tanith rested her chin on the windowsill and pushed her small finger into the bullet hole. Sunlight streamed onto her hair, setting it alight with orange fire. The bottom piece of the window, where the glass had avulsed in a fan shape, threw prisms of rainbow brilliance on her pinched face.

“You’ll have to go to your aunt and uncle,” Miss Hadley said. The social worker had repacked her suitcase, where Tanith had crammed all her stuffed animals. They now sat forlorn, replaced by clothing, Flopsy’s limp ears still spattered with blood. Only Doggie was coming with her. She clutched him tight, remembering.

Strange bundles, midnight visitors who talked and smoked, yelling men in black helmets who burst into the single bedroom she and Daddy had to share. Her ears still rang from gunshots. In her head, her father fell, did not move, again and again.

No one could find her mother. Tanith couldn’t tell them where she was. The term “crack whore” meant nothing to her, nor did she understand the yelling men’s sneering faces when they said it.

“Time to go,” Miss Hadley said. Her hand rested on Tanith’s shoulder. “Time you left this awful place.”

She followed Miss Hadley out, turning back once. Sad furry faces, staring blankly, did not say goodbye. Years later, her mind would flash on them when, clad in riot gear, she burst in on another little girl, another father. Her team did not understand her tears afterward. The past lay buried forever.


Flutterby said...

You tell a lot in very few words. I like the passage of time.

Sarah Laurenson said...

A full circle tale of a tragic situation. Well done.

Elizabeth West said...

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. :)