Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Stopping to Listen By sue gerrard

STOPPING TO LISTEN



Dark shadows darted around Kim as she tottered over the pavement in her stilt- heeled designer shoes. Her feet struck the pavement in anger making her balance even more precarious; she was raging because her taxi hadn’t come.

She would be late for drinks at her friend Ginny’s house. Despite herself she had to laugh at her friend’s well-earned nickname ‘Ginny by name, Ginny by nature.’

However, the anger soon returned. Now she would arrive last and look a mess after this long walk while all the other girls would be perfection. The day, up to now, had been wonderful. Her checklist had worked: hair extensions - tick, false nails - tick, designer outfit - tick. She’d really looked perfect when the taxi hadn’t turned up and still looked perfect when she’d rung twenty minutes later to complain. Didn’t these people know how much social pressure she was under to be punctual? As it turned out they neither knew nor cared and after a heated argument she realised she wasn’t going to get very far other than by walking.

* * * *

Sharma couldn’t believe it. She’d lost her ‘Little Princess’ purse with her bus fare home inside it. She must have dropped it in the park when she’d been mucking about after school.

She didn’t feel like the super heroine she’d been playing. Instead she was a little girl of eight, mud covered with a flat mobile phone and no way of getting home other than walking the three miles there.

The darkness seemed to be pinching her, reminding her of the falling blackness and how unsafe it could be, especially for little girls. Tears were threatening as she stood alone hoping the bus driver would let her on for nothing; although she had seen him refuse other children before her.

Her fear was abated when she heard the clicking of a woman’s high heels. Could it be her angel? As Kim emerged from the dark shadows near the bus stop Sharma couldn’t believe her luck. It was her beautiful angel even if she looked in a bad mood. She instinctively ran towards her but Kim was late and had no intention of stopping.

‘Please miss,’ Sharma said trying to stop this heavenly world wind, ‘I’ve lost my purse, can you lend me my bus fare home please?’

These people asking for money are getting younger. Kim thought impatiently. There would be a gang of them in the bushes taking it in turns to molest innocent passers-by.

Kim ignored her.

‘Please miss I’m so frightened.’

There was something in the child’s voice that made her stop and look at her. This was genuine fear from a desperate child, suddenly she forgot about the party.

‘Of course, I can. How much do you need?’

Kim gave her the money and waited until the bus came.

Neither of them saw the black car lurking in the side street. As he drove off the child killer thought, never mind there’s always tomorrow.

Sue Gerrard


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