100 Themes 005 - Seeking Solace

Another piece of writing. Not enough work being done on the editing at the moment, but I'm up to Chapter 15, over two-thirds of the way through. I've also just been offered a full time job from the place I'm currently contracted to and I hope to start with them soon :D

Here's another piece of flash-fiction to tide everyone over.

005 – Seeking Solace

“Damn it, where are ya?”

I run desperately through the shopping centre; what was it with people, couldn’t they see that I was in a rush? Fat Americans and old-timers suddenly deciding that now, NOW was the moment to stop, to stand and stare and check their phone and chat with other sheep. I bring myself up short in front of a thick knot of people, all the while looking around.

The first three toy shops I passed had been nearly empty; most children were in school at this time of day. It wasn’t as if I’d taken my eyes off of her for long, just that my attention had been distracted by the shop assistant. That was it.

Ahead, a Toys ‘n’ Games outlet looms like a colourful entrance to hell. I admit it; I hate these places. The toys are overpriced, and the children are all covered in snot, and if I’m honest I don’t even like to take my own child there, never mind dealing with the others. I plunge headlong into it.

Three aisles; she’s not down the first; not down the second; not down the third, but wait, what if she was on the end of one as I went past? I trot down the third aisle, past towering walls of Pro Wrestling figures and then the omnipresent Barbie section. She’s not on the end of the row.

Back outside, it’s still busy. I duck down; she’s short, maybe I’ll see her crying somewhere in the sea of legs. When I go down on my hands and knees, there’s a piece of gum near my hand; it glistens wetly. She’s not down there.

I ride the escalator up, hoping a bird’s-eye view will give me a clue; she’s not there either. Back down again, and then through to the next bit of the centre…

There! A security guard. Not like we get many of those anymore around here. I dash over to him. He looks at my red-face and sweat-stained top and raises an eyebrow.

“My daughter,” I gasp out, and I’m forced to bend over, hands on my knees. “She’s missing, she ran off out of a store.”

“What does she look like, sir?

Oh god, what does my own child look like? “She’s short, blonde hair in pigtails. She’s dressed in…” Damn, what’s she dressed in? The security guard looks seriously unimpressed. “A little pair of blue dungarees and a pink t-shirt. She’s not very old, only three.”

“What’s her name, sir?”

“Solace. Her name is Solace.”