Sticky red hands

It was only the child screaming that Frank saw as he turned into Beckett Close. Slamming on the brakes of his Ford Fiesta, he missed the child by inches.

Bolting the gear tick into neutral he swung open the door and ran towards the child. It was then he noticed the pool of blood on the ground, its shade matching with her sticky red hands.

She held them up to him as his own daughter had done many years previously only she’d done it to prove she’d washed them. The little girl in front of him now would likely never feel clean again.

Looking back down at the ground Frank had expected to see some evidence of where the blood had come from – the child’s clothing was too white, innocent, for it to have been hers.

Crouching down, his face drew level with hers. He recognised her eyes – the same shade as his daughter’s, behind eyelashes as long.

These eyes pleaded with him to help her, to find what was missing.

Frank knew how that felt.

***

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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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