a lost child - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Matt buttoned up his sheep-skin jacket and glanced at his wrist watch out of habit - still broken. With an audible grunt he looked up a the sky for the sun position. Three hours or so before dark, that was good. Half-blinded he took a step and almost fell over some kid. With a choice swear word he righted himself; six foot of fifty year old bones doesn't do well hitting the dirt. It was some girl, covered in mud and dressed in not much more than a rag. Her face was a perfect picture of misery. He was practically a giant to her and with a face like dried lava he had scared grown men, but she stood rooted to the spot. What could possibly be so bad that she'd take a risk on him for protection? With that flaxen black hair and brown skin she had to be local, she'd never understand a word he said anyway. He swore again. At nightfall the heat of the day would evaporate along with the last sunrays, that shiver of hers would soon be hypothermia, she'd die. The nearest town was miles away...
When she opened her mouth to speak the words came out fitfully, the sounds half swallowed by a sobbing noise. To her dismay she was crying almost too much to be coherent. The man's face turned from passive to serious. He listened intently and then held his hand to silence her. Pulling out his radio he called in; “We have a code red. Zoo lock-down for seven year old girl, Indian descent, red jacket, orange scarf and gloves. Repeat. Code red. Check in.” His radio buzzed as staff called in to affirm. Now Sophie was entirely undone and her tears flowed in a constant stream, not even masked by the rain. Lacy was lost. She would have to call her aunt, but what to say, what to say? She pulled out her phone to dial, not even protecting it from the rain. She hit directory and selected her own mother first. Perhaps mom could break it best.
“Mom?” she croaked, “mom?” From just her voice her mother went straight into panic mode. But the man with the wheelbarrow put his hand on Sophie's shoulder.
Between the hoods of the cold cars run children in costumes. On this dark halloween night there is only weak moonlight and the aging lampposts for illumination. The warmth of the summer left a fortnight ago but it is only tonight for the first time since last winter that I can feel the frigid concrete through the soles of my shoes. The air flows through the fabric of my clothes just like it did in the summer and early fall, but now I can't help but notice it. I turn to smile at Tommy but he isn't there. My heart skips, then pounds. He must have gone to one of these homes for candy. I tell myself to remain still, he'll find me. Before even a few seconds have passed I'm calling out, "Tommy! Tommy!" With every repetition my voice rises an octave, straining against the freezing fog that comes from nowhere...
Half covered in fall leaves was the form of a child, so still that Bryant thought him dead; yet one sharp jab of his stick spoke to the contrary. He startled like a newborn infant, his arms flying out wide and his face rigid, eyes as open as they could stretch. A few seconds later he blinked and jumped to his feet, moving backwards until his back hit a tree. A small gasp escaped his lips as they trembled. The nascent light of early morning illuminated his skin, softly brown but stretched over his frame from lack of food. He'd been lost for some time...
Clancy was about to sneak the chocolate under her duffle coat when a small boy caught her eye, wandering with wild open eyes and a quivering jaw. Her hand fell more heavily than she meant it to, returning the candy to the shelf. The boy shuffled forwards, eyes getting wetter by the moment. Clancy squatted low to the filthy tile and took her shades off, "Hey 'lil buddy, what's up?"
The child stopped, one foot sliding unconsciously backward and his eyes glancing behind for just a moment. Then his face buckled, tears falling thickly to his cherubic lips, "Where's my mommy?"
The child wandered through the market, held tilted upward to scan the faces of the adults that moved like shoals of fish from stall to stall. Every few steps he would stop and scream for his mother but his voice was just one in many, every stall holder calling out for customers and haggling in every direction. With every jostle from a careless shopper his eyes brimmed deeper with tears until finally they fell as if they'd never stop.
The girl stood quite alone on the sidewalk looking left and right, holding herself in a manner that suggested she'd like to disappear altogether. Gloria watched her. The girl wasn't focusing, eyes scanning without locking onto any one thing, almost daydream-like. She shifted her weight from her left to her right and back again every few seconds as if thinking of moving and yet choosing to remain still.
Three a.m. and there came a knocking at the door, soft at first but growing louder. Lyle pulled his duvet over his head but the knocking came right through. After a minute he surrendered, threw back his covers and stomped to the door. No sooner had he opened it a crack the wintry wind howled in. At first he thought no-one was there, but when his eyes traveled downward they met the face of a girl-child, blue with cold and paler than a spectre.
Lyle threw open the door and dragged her in by the arm, her legs moving as if she had no knees to bend. He wrapped her in his duvet and turned the gas fire right up...
As the child trudged on the dank marsh, the cool breeze became colder. The child heaved his loafers - one foot slowly after the other - from the gurgling mud, whilst the wisps of wind whipped against his raw calves. What had begun as a walk along the hazy, violet meadows had become a torment. The breeze had morphed into a beast, its merciless gusts thrashing against his damp Sunday best attire; the child was breathless with fatigue as he fell face first into the sodden grass. He lifted his head and groaned at the outstretched barren fields that lay ahead. "Was this the place his grandfather described?"
He pondered over the thought for quite some time, whilst the wetness of the grass clung to his limbs, coughing its distastes of the foreign organism that was suffocating it. The child staggered to his feet, looking back sorrowfully. All he had wanted was to reconnect with the rays of sunshine that had once brightened his days, to be closer to his grandfather that he so dearly loved. He kicked at a pebble in front of his feet and ran his hand through his hair, before hopping on one leg, grabbing his painful toe that rung like an alarm bell.
Night was falling, creeping towards him from all sides. A young boy scampered through the undergrowth, his little feet carrying him deeper and deeper into the trees. No matter how far he ran, nor how fast, he couldn't outrun this darkness, and he didn't know how to get home. He'd thought he was running in the right direction, had been almost certain of it when he'd begun moving, but surely he should have left the forest by now if that were true. He didn't want to risk changing direction and delving even deeper into the trees, so he maintained his path, running and running, and all the while his fear was growing in his chest.