The following is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo project. Opinions welcome!
Lucy stopped talking when she was five.
She’d been sitting in a hard plastic chair at the police station the morning after the fire. Her feet couldn’t reach the floor, so she began swinging her legs with abandon, higher and higher. She felt like she was kicking the air, striking it, hurting it with the toe of her pink sneaker. She didn’t know why she felt so angry. She just did.
But when the nice policeman, the one who said he had a daughter her age, came into the room and knelt down in front of her, she let her legs quiet down, let them turn off so they hung limply above the dirty linoleum floor.
“Hi, honey. Do you remember me? I’m Detective Bascom.”
“You see this lady over there?” he asked, jerking his head toward a woman standing in the corner. The woman smiled gently at Lucy, shifting the heavy notebook in her arms to wave.
Lucy turned back to Detective Bascom, to his lined face and tired eyes.
“She’s going to take you to a new home today.”
Lucy’s eyes narrowed. She stuck her right thumb in her mouth, began sucking loudly. She’d quit sucking her fingers a year ago – that was for babies – but she needed her thumb today. Why did have to go with this woman? Where were her Mommy and Daddy and Baby Louis?
The detective reached out a hand to help Lucy out of the chair, to help lead her to the woman. Lucy unplugged her thumb and put her wet hand in the detective’s. He didn’t seem to mind.
She scooted off the chair, landing on the floor with a soft thud. Gazing downward, she planted her foot in the center of a linoleum square. One pink sneaker after the other. One square after the other.
“Hi, Lucy,” the woman said. “I’m Darla. I’m going to take you to get some food and some clothes. Then we’re going to meet your new family. How does that sound?”
Lucy stared at the woman, round blue eyes filled with uncertainty and suspicion.
“Where are my Mommy and Daddy and Baby Louis?”
Those were the last words Lucy spoke. And when she heard the answer, the wail melted out of her, and she cried and cried and cried.