Sally

by

The man closed the door behind him, face haggard, and lowered the bar over the door.

“What’s happening, Da? What’s wrong?”

“Missus Janeway’s been taken – is your sister upstairs?

The boy stared at him with wide eyes.

“Paul, I said ‘is your sister upstairs?'”

“Uh, no Da. I don’t think so.”

“Well, go check – I’ll check the cellar.”

When he swung the door open, there was his little girl, running toward him through the dusken light. He swept her up in his arms.

Closing the door behind them, he said, “Hey Sally, I need you to stay inside for a bit, okay?”

The pale girl nodded.

“Where were you?” He barred the door.

“I watched Missus Janeway go.”

“What?”

“I watched Missus Janeway go. I don’t think she wanted to leave, though.”

The man set her down and crouched in front of her. “Sally – baby, look at me. Did anybody see you?”

The little girl looked at him, eyes wide.

“Sally, this is very important. You have to tell me if anyone saw you there when Misus Janeway was taken.”

She nodded and her eyes teared up. “He yelled and called me ‘freak’. Then I ran.”

“You did good, baby. Who was it?”

But she just shook her head and burst into tears, resting her head between his neck and shoulder. He held her, careful of the cyst on her cheek.

“Paul!” the man called. “Look out the window and see if anyone’s headed this way!”

“Yeah, Da, lots of them!”

“Shit shit shit.” He pushed his daughter toward the stairs. “Run upstairs and stay with Paul, okay?”

She nodded.

“Paul, how far away are they?”

“Close. They’re coming down Main, headed right for us.”

“Watch Sally, I’m going to go stop them.”

Two minutes later, the mob was pulling a terrified Sally from Paul’s arms. Once they had her, the man holding back a screaming sobbing Paul said “I’m sorry, Paul, but the changeling child has to go.” And they carried her out the door, into the night.

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