Sunday, April 22, 2007

Entry #14

The Call
by Jill Maser

Carol got the Priority One assignment. Alleged neglectful supervision of two small children and sexual abuse of the girl. Although the anonymous reporter had painted a vivid picture of squalor inside the home, Carol had still been overwhelmed.

Carol shuddered. She hated the cockroaches more than anything. They crawled all over the filthy kitchen. The tower of rancid dishes provided them an unending food source.

A blond boy wearing only a sodden diaper pounded across the floor to Carol’s side and smiled up at her. The ammonia smell of urine washed over them in a wave.

Carol swallowed hard and studied the child. His face hadn’t been washed after breakfast. At least he’d had breakfast to eat. “Hi,” she said with false brightness.

The child turned and ran. “Mommy!”

Carol followed the child, stepping over trash and clothing piled together. The television teetered on a rickety stand. She started itemizing the safety hazards and wished once again that she could pound common sense into her clients’ dull brains.

Carol’s thoughts were interrupted when a young girl shuffled into the hallway.

Carol peeked into the bedroom behind her. Soiled diapers had been tossed beside the bare mattress. Parts to broken toys littered the floor.

The girl’s hair hadn’t been brushed. Her threadbare nightie was stained with what Carol hoped was grape juice. She stared, unblinking, at Carol.

She recognized the girl’s expression.

She’d recognize it anywhere.

She’d seen it in the mirror.

The allegations were true.


Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Interesting, thought-provoking & true-to-life. :-)

heather said...

very well done. hard to read because i could see it so clearly. makes me wish once again for a more perfect world.

Anonymous said...

Very sad story. Tight, strong writing.

Joni said...

I'm finding a few themes breaking out like rashes in these entries.

Guess that means were all intuitive!

What a gut wrencher. Very effectively written.

Sam said...

Good imagery and description. Scary story - goes well with the picture!!

Bernita said...

Very neat ending.

Scott said...

I just hope the picture isn't from Jason's home, because the picture isn't getting good press!

Nice reveal.

Beth said...

I see a theme running through this as well. The neglect of a home equals death, abuse, and neglect of people. It's interesting how common themes are changed in story from person to person. Each has their own sadness, surprise, or thrill.

Anonymous said...

saw the painted picture in my mind through your vivid descriptions...feel sad for the boy.


Esther Avila said...

so sad. i liked the ending - Carol knowing, just by looking at the girl, that she had been sexually abused.
Good writing.

Anonymous said...

Poignant end. Carol was a victim herself. Tightly woven story. Well done!

A high scorer overall!