I’m Right Here

I keep screaming but nobody hears me.

It’s really dark. I keep running into crates—at least I think they’re crates. They seem to be scattered across the creaking floorboards.  I stumble and fall over. Over. And over. No one hears the ruckus. No one hears my small voice crying for solace.

I’m miserable.

I cup my hands to my tear-stained face and wail with a force greater than I thought could possibly be produced from my petite frame.

Scratch. Scratch.

What is that?

Scratch. Scratch.

I hear the sound of sediment falling around me, the cracking of wood, and a sliver of… Light. Daring not to avert my gaze, I blink my eyes rapidly at the foreign stimulus as they leak and burn with unfamiliarity.

“What is this place?” a muffled voice seeps into my penitentiary along with the light.

“Looks like an old cellar,” another voice responds.

“I’m here!” I scream.

My cries are ignored as the two voices continue chatting with one another.

“I’m here! Please… I don’t want to be alone anymore.”

Nothing. Then the incessant pounding continues and the light grows ever brighter.

My eyes are finally adjusting. I can see billions of dust particles dancing in the warm rays. Inch by inch the opening widens until the silhouettes of people are clear before me.

I sob, “Help me!” Tears blur my vision.

“Can you believe this?” a woman speaks to a man. She covers her nose in disgust.

He covers his nose as well. “No. It smells awful.”

“I’m right here…” I repeat, sinking to the floor.

“Help me get these loose boards out of here.” The man starts lifting pieces of wood, causing dust to explode into the air.

The intruders cough and wave their hands in front of their faces.

“Someone find me. Please.”

As soon as the dust settles and the coughing ceases, the couple’s eyes shift downward. The woman vomits. The man’s jaw hangs open.

“I’m right here.”

“It’s a child,” the man states dumbly.

The woman wills herself to stop gagging. “We need to call somebody,” she whispers,
The man nods, and the couple exit my domain.

There, on the floor, lays the body of a little girl. A girl long forgotten. Her body home to maggots. Her blood long since dried. Her soul still waiting.

In what felt like a short time—short compared to my time in this wretched cellar—the police arrived, and my cries were finally heard.

-Kestra Pingree

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