Neglect

Reads: 118  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 4

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Two officers follow up on a report of a neglected child.

Submitted: April 25, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 25, 2018

A A A

A A A


 

 

 

Neglect

“Are you sure this is the right address?”Janice Purcell turned to he partner Hugh Leonard.

“Twenty-six Dixon Road, that’s what HQ said.”

They both sat there and eyed the building; neither thought that it looked a likely place for a lone child to be playing. The door was boarded up, although hung open from one remaining hinge. The windows were covered with rotting planks of wood. Maybe a hang-out for addicts but for kids?

“We’d best go and check it out,” Hugh unclipped his seat belt and Janice followed.

While they walked towards the building, Hugh repeated the words of the report. “A young girl, perhaps 5 or 6 years old, silent, seeming to have suffered from some neglect of care. She was sitting near the bottom of the staircase, playing with some broken dolls.”

“No one else was seen?” Janice took her torch from her pocket, flashed it around the windows, looking for cracks, then aimed it in to the doorway.

“The woman that saw the girl called out, apparently, and a door at the top of the stairs opened. She said that she had no clear picture of the person at the top of the staircase, insufficient light, she claimed. The figure hissed aggressively and the girl laughed, hugging a broken, eyeless doll. Feeling intimidated, the woman left the building and called it in.”

Janice shuddered. “Well, the place is spooky enough to give anyone the creeps. Makes you wonder what a woman was doing looking in here in the first place.”

Hugh pushed against the door. It jammed against the floor so he had to lift it slightly, to ease it over some kind of blockage. Both he and Janice called inside, using gentle voices at first, so as not to startle any child that really might be inside. There was no response so they entered the building, flashing the light around as they went.

There was a staircase almost opposite the door. It was dirty, decrepit; impossible to tell if someone had been sitting there or not. Assorted rubbish had gathered by the bottom stair, just trash that had blown in off the street from the look of it.

“Hello!” called Janice. “Is there anyone here?”

Both she and Hugh stood side by side and listened, but there was no answer, no sound of movement.

“What do you reckon, J? A hoax?” Hugh was ready to pack up and leave. There was something about the place, some kind of atmosphere, that he didn’t like at all.

“Now we’re here I think we should at least check out that door at the top of the stairs.” Janice looked from the closed door to her partner.

“If you say so. You’re the boss.” Hugh took up position, right behind Janice as she slowly made her way up the stairs.

The door was almost entirely plain wood where the paint had worn away, but it seemed to be firmly shut. Janice banged on the door. “Hello! Anyone there? This is the police, please open up.”

The two officers listened but there was no sign of movement and the door remained closed. Janice banged on it again, but this time did not shout.

“Shall we?” she asked Hugh.

“Sure. You’ll be worrying that there’s a kid trapped inside or something if we don’t at least take a look.” To the surprise of them both, the door was not locked and opened easily. There was one room, with two other doors leading from it. The main room was filthy, squalid. No sign that anyone, not even junkies had been in it. Rats, though, seemed to be enjoying its shelter; Janice had a clear view of one running across the room.

The first door that they opened led to a bathroom. Thick with grime and mould, the smell was disgusting. Water dripped slowly and steadily from the tap in the sink, a rusty red-brown color. Hugh covered his nose and mouth and went in for a quick scan around. Nobody was inside.

One remaining door that led to what was probably a bedroom. The furniture had all moulded away, collapsed, but there was a box in the far corner of the room. It looked kind of out of place, mainly because it was the only thing there that was intact. Janice walked over to it, lifted the top....dolls. It was full to the top with broken dolls. Heads, arms legs, torso’s. Not new ones either, going by the materials that they were made from.

She shut it quickly. There was something curiously disturbing about the empty eye-sockets that all seemed to be sightlessly staring in her direction. “Should we take it, do you think,” she asked Hugh.

“Nah. There’s nothing here, no kid, no mystery. This is just a box of rubbish. Leave it and let’s get going; we’re just wasting time here.”

Janice was only too pleased to follow up Hugh’s suggestion. There was nothing there. Someone’s over-active imagination, a drunk, perhaps. They’d report it as nothing to report, they’d done their part.

She followed her partner down the stairs. They must have left the door open because just as they were heading out on to the street she heard it bang shut, almost sure that that had been preceded by a hiss. And as she walked back to the squad car she trod on something, twisted her ankle. A little plastic leg laying there on the side-walk. Janice shuddered again, got into the car and drove away.

If she’d have looked in her mirror she might have seen a small girl, 5 or 6 years old, waving sadly at the disappearing car.


© Copyright 2018 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Flash Fiction Short Stories