CHALK • by Katherine Wingerter

Blood discolored patches of the manicured lawn. The grass was marred from the wheels of the gurney. The woman was loaded into the back of an ambulance.

A police officer stepped around the spilled groceries and scattered flowers along the walkway. Martin Roberts stood in the door. A young girl peeked around his leg.

“Will Karen be alright?” Martin asked. He raked a hand through his disheveled hair.

“She’s being taken to St. Joseph’s hospital. They’ll take good care of her there,” the officer said. “Will you be following the ambulance to the hospital?”

“I’m waiting for my mother to come. She’s going to stay with Angela.” Martin jerked his head up at the sound of a siren. The ambulance raced away with his wife inside.

“You told the other officers that you were not outside when the accident happened, but your daughter was.”

“Yes, she was drawing.” Martin gestured to the chalk drawings covering the driveway.

“May I ask her a couple questions?”

“What kind of questions?”

“The driver claims he swerved to avoid hitting a dog,” the officer said. “He said he lost control and went up on the sidewalk. I would like to ask what she saw.”

“Alright.” Martin turned and picked up his daughter. The girl’s cheeks were traced with lines of tears through smears of colored chalk. She clutched a green stick of chalk in one hand.

“Hello, Angela,” the officer said. “Can I ask you some questions?”

The girl nodded.

“Did you see the car coming down the street?”

“Yes,” Angela said.

“Can you tell me what happened?”

“Mommy went to the store to get food for dinner.” Tears formed in the girl’s eyes. “I told her not to go. I wanted her to look at my pictures. She wouldn’t have gone if she had looked at my pictures.”

“It’s okay sweetheart,” the officer said. “You couldn’t have known this would happen.”

The girl sobbed, turning her face into her father’s shoulder.

“That’s enough,” Martin said. “She’s too upset for this.”

“Please, Mr. Roberts, just one more. I need to know if she saw a dog in the street.”

“Angela,” Martin said. He rubbed his daughter’s back. “Did you see a dog?”

“No,” the girl said. She lifted her head and wiped her eyes. “The green car was dizzy. It hit my mommy. She dropped her flowers.”

“The car was dizzy?” the officer asked.

“What do you mean, baby?” Martin asked.

“You know dizzy,” The girl waggled her head back and forth. “Like when I spin around and around in the yard and then I walk all funny until I fall down.”

“You mean the car was weaving all over the road, not going straight?” the officer asked.

“Yeah, and it hit another car down there.” She pointed to the left.

“Do you know what car?”

“The red one,” she said. “I climbed up on the steps. Mommy didn’t hear the car, she was listening to music. I yelled and yelled but she didn’t hear me.” Tears fell from her eyes again.

“It’s okay, baby,” Martin said. “We’re all done. No more questions.”

“Thank you for letting me talk to her.” The officer held out a card. “We have closed down the road for a full investigation. When your mother gets here we’ll walk her through the lines.”

The officer walked back down to the street. He called out orders, pointing toward the red car down the street. A blue tow truck pulled up to the scene.


“Yes, baby?”

“Can we pick up the flowers?” Angela asked. “Mommy would like to have them.”

“I’ll ask the officers. They may need to take pictures first.”

“I wish she had looked at my pictures.”

“You can draw her some new pictures when Grandma gets here,” Martin said. “Then you can bring them to her once she starts to feel better.”

“But these pictures were special.”

“How about if I look at your pictures for her?” he asked. “I can tell her about them when I see her at the hospital.”

“It’s not the same.” She pulled back from him. “Put me down, please?”

Martin set his daughter down. She ran into the house and slammed the door. He walked across the lawn to the officer in charge.

“My daughter is very upset,” he said. “She wants to know if we can pick up the flowers to take to her mother.”

“Yes,” the officer said. “We’ve already taken pictures of the scene. Go ahead and pick up the flowers and the groceries.”

“Thank you.” Martin turned back to the house. His daughter stood at the front window. Martin smiled at her then reached down for the first flower, a white daisy. Underneath the flower was a drawing. A chalk picture of a white daisy, lined up where the flower had fallen. He picked up the next flower and found another drawing.

Martin scuffed his foot across the chalk, blurring the image. He gathered each of the flowers, scuffing out each of the drawings underneath. He set the gathered bouquet on the step. He raked his fingers through his hair, then checked over his shoulder. The police officers had not noticed his activity.

Martin walked to the spilled groceries. Picking up the bag, he gathered the items off the lawn first. He checked for observers again. No one was nearby. Holding his breath, he picked up a thawing bag of green beans. Underneath was a matching drawing, slightly marred by frost from the bag. He twisted his sneaker over the picture. He gathered the remaining groceries, blurring every drawing.

I wish she had looked at my pictures.

Martin walked over to the driveway. On one side were rainbows, unicorns and other typical pictures. On the other side he found drawings of police cars, ambulances, and a blue tow truck with a green car attached to the back.

Katherine Wingerter writes in the Pacific Northwest. She is a student, a wife and a mother.

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Every Day Fiction