Cowering — the small girl blends with nighttime bark and organic shadow. Whimpers rise like bird calls. She could be a tree stump, hidden behind black-curtain hair and a long-sleeved shirt pulled over her knees.
A heavy man walks past with one eye forward and circles back. He stares with hands-in-pockets curiosity at the lost little girl and says, “Where’s your mummy and daddy?”
The whimpers cease. She draws up her knees.
He stalks closer.
Her eyes appear, white, behind black strands. She becomes a bounding black streak.
He flails with lost girl clasping — her white teeth turn red.
Anthony J. Rapino’s most recently published story, Retired, will appear in the October issue of MagusZine. His short story, The Plumber, can be found in issue 1.11 of Devil’s Work. He is a recent graduate of East Stroudsburg University, where he received his master’s degree in secondary education and teaching certification in English.