The Street Children’s Mother

kinshasa

© Google 2014 – Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mamadou, Karla, and Bonte were trapped in the alley by the policeman.

“I’ll give you little street rats what you deserve,” he said, unzipping his trousers.

Mamadou was nine, the oldest, and Bonte was eight. The boys got in front of five-year-old Karla, for though man would abuse them all, he would start with her.

“We’re just trying to get some food.”

“I’ve got what you need right here.” He exposed his genitals, which was a common and hated sight to them.

Then a huge shadow blocked the light from the street.

“What is…?” He stopped talking and gazed up at the dragon in terror. A swat of her tail, and he lay broken on the ground.

“I will not hurt you, children.” Her voice was a mother’s kindness. “I will take you home with me.”

Three pairs of eyes were wide with wonder as they entered a different world.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. I found my hook when I read about the estimated 20,000 children living on the street, almost a quarter of them beggars, and how they are frequently abused by the police. I leveraged my “Davidson Children” story (I finally finished the first draft of my novel), since the dragons’ city in exile is a haven for abandoned and dying children from all around the world and across human history.

I figured these children could use a mother.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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The Wishing Tree

wishing tree

© Sue Vincent

Little Mari, a year younger than five-year-old Zooey Davidson, took her by the hand as they ran toward the wishing tree. In their free hands, they each held a colorful cloth provided by Tala, who looked like she could be Mari’s teenage sister but wasn’t.

“Danilo helped me put my first one up. Now I’ll help you.”

“Did your brother tell you what it is?”

“Of course. It’s a wishing tree.”

“What do you wish for?”

“Anything you want.”

“Can I wish to go home?”

“I don’t know. A lot of the kids don’t want to go home.”

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Lost on Forlorn Seas

dragon

Japanese dragon

Kiyohira Arita was the only one in the lifeboat when he regained consciousness. What had happened? The eleven-year-old student had been on a ferry, the Shiun Maru. Yes, that was it. He was with his class on a school field trip crossing the Seto Inland Sea. The fog was so terrible. He and some of the other boys were on desk. He was trying to be brave, but he’d been freezing. Then he heard something, a horn of some kind. Then the world tore itself apart.

Now it was sunny and warm. Kiyohira had to take off his jacket because it was hot, like a summer day in the tropics though he knew it was only the beginning of May. Where was everybody? There must have been a crash, a collision. He looked in the water. No debris or wreckage. He looked further. Kiyohira knew she should be able to see land. They’d been in the middle of their transit so he shouldn’t be more than fifteen or twenty kilometers at most from the shore and even closer to one of the islands. They’d be impossible to miss on a day like this. Not a cloud in the sky.

But it was like he was in the middle of the ocean. He’d never been on the ocean before but he’d read books. Somehow he was put on a lifeboat after the collision and floated out to sea.

No, that was insane but how else could he have gotten here?

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Flowers and Scars

wreath

Photo credit: Goroyboy

“Aren’t they pretty, Eva?”

She kept the name the nuns gave her. She had little in common with them, but they made occasional allies in her fight to take the children away from the depravity of the streets.

“Of course they are, Malika. Where did you get them?”

“The old man said he was closing his cart for the day and they wouldn’t sell.” The six-year-old waif nodded vigorously.

Eva trusted few men, but she had been watching the vendor for months with an eye that sought evil. So far, she had seen nothing from him to threaten her children.

“I wanted to give you something as pretty as you.”

Eva smiled weakly and was brought closer to tears than she wanted to be. A child of the streets herself, although now an adult, she bore a multitude of invisible scars and some physical. Suffering from rape at age three, she could never bear babies of her own. Yet her shelter was full of the laughter of all the children she would ever need.

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge 163 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

This is part three in a small series that starts with The Downfall of Eva and continues with Whatever Happened to Eva. I’m trying to give her a happy ending, but as you can see, even healing leaves behind some scars.

For more stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

She Treats Us Like Her Children

street children

Street children in the Philippines – image found at NewManila.org

A moment ago, seven-year-old Danilo was holding his little three-and-a-half-year-old sister Marikit in his arms. He was sitting on concrete steps in a filthy alley in Tondo where everyone was poor and there was no one to help.

“I promise little Mari, I will take care of you.” He stroked her hair knowing it wasn’t true, but who else was there? He hoped she was just sleeping but he was afraid she was going to die. He tried to get her to drink out of the water bottle but she wouldn’t take any.

Before Mama died she said Jesus would watch over them from Heaven, but what good would that do if he were way up there and they were sick and starving down here in Manila?

Danilo’s stomach started hurting. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten. He gave the last food they had to his sister three days ago, an apple he had stolen.

Then it wasn’t just his stomach, but his eyes. He couldn’t see. How could he take care his baby sister if he couldn’t see?

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