Contributor: Gary Clifton

- -
Neighbors called it in. They hadn't seen the old woman in the faded house at the end of the street for several days. Dispatch said her granddaughter, Ida, ten, lived with her.
When nobody answered the doors, Jackson, a graying old-timer, slipped the front lock with a Visa and stepped in. Forelli, a rookie, followed, pistol in hand. He motioned her to holster it. The house smelled of mildewed clothing and rotten potatoes. Jackson had a rep - elephant hide tough and never flustered by someone else's suffering. He could handle anything.
Ida, pale and perhaps forty pounds, with sunken, morose eyes which appeared incapable of smiling, sat beside Grandma's bed, reading aloud haltingly from a Bible. "She's tuck sick," the child looked up. "Cain't eat." Forelli coaxed Ida out of the room. She clutched a filthy, rag doll in her grimy little hands.
"Deader 'n hell...several days," the E.M.T. said, matter of factly. "Mummified sorta...stinks, but not as bad as usual."
Jackson scribbled in his notebook.
"Morgue's next to the County Home," the E.M.T. looked up earnestly. "Want we should dump the kid off? Save y'all a trip. She could take her last ride with granny in the back of our bus," he pointed his chin at the shriveled corpse.
Jackson glanced toward the hallway where Forelli was talking with the kid. "Man, some days..." He lowered his notebook. "No, leave her be. I'll buy her an ice cream cone on the way to the Home." His tears caught him totally off guard.
The E.M.T. turned away. Maybe Jackson wasn't so tough after all. But he sure as hell wasn't about to say so.

- - -
Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has an M.S. from Abilene Christian University and has short fiction pieces published or pending on numerous online sites
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -