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

Rays of sunlight spilled through the windows of Grand Central Station, creating long ghostly shadows across the concrete floors.  The soft rays belied the chilling temperatures of winter in the heart of New York.

It was December and the sun had broken through the snow in a festive time for citizens.  Mavis, one of those citizens, felt chilled to the bone on that December day in 1962.

Her nylon stockings did nothing to prevent the cold from creeping up her legs.  Yet, cold sweat was running from her armpits down her sides.  Her heart was hammering against her rib cage as she stood in front of the tall man at the station.

It was not the first time they met had met there.  The previous time had been three months prior.  She wore the same jacket that day.  She needed him to find her fast.  She needed to get out of there. 

Mavis was an ordinary woman of her time.  She was a loyal employee.  She knew her place as a woman.  She had been content with her life and her position in society.  However, it was all about to change.  “Do I have a choice?”  She kept asking herself.  Could the image she held the key to, be unseen?  Could she ever forget what she knew then?  No.  The answer was no.  As a God-fearing woman, there was no turning back for Mavis. 

She looked up at the imposing figure who she had come to know as Jack.  She was not sure if it was his real name.  Jack was an agent with the FBI. 

Three months before when she had met Jack there, she had felt calmer.  She was unsure of what an agent of the FBI would want from her, but she felt confident it had nothing to do with her. 

She could not have been more wrong.

She looked at Jack then.  There was no indication that he was grateful for her sacrifice.  No indication that he had any regrets for going to end her life as she had known it to be at the time.

She handed him the key.  There was a safety box.  Inside the safety box was a file.  A file that Mavis wished she had never found, had never laid eyes on, and did not have to live with the horrific images that would be imprinted in her mind for a lifetime to follow.

The scene on those images had made her breath catch in her throat before electric charges from shock made her mouth taste like saltpetre.  She had blinked several times to avoid the flood of tears that had formed in her eyes.  “What is this?  Is this it?  How is this possible?”  She had whispered into empty space.  But she knew then that she found what Jack had asked from her at the station.  The evidence to an unthinkable deed.

She had gone back to the office and handed in her resignation. 

The next week on opening the New York Daily News, Mavis Thompson’s shock was less than the rest of the world’s. 

Her employer, Victor McKenzie, was implicated with the mass murder at a factory in Chelsea Piers.  The death of thirty women and twelve children.  Forever printed in her mind’s eye, was the barefoot body of a boy staring lifeless back at Mavis.  That cold day at central station, she gave her life as she knew it, in exchange for the truth about the loss of another.  Apparently, his name was Jack.

Submitted: April 23, 2020

© Copyright 2021 NikkiV. All rights reserved.

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