Welcome Back To Another Wiley Writer Wednesday
Today's post was created from another prompt. It turned into a slight horror snippet. Enjoy!
Ms. Martin stared up at the little girl standing at the top of the stairs, clinging to the wrought iron spindles as if her life depended on it. "Can I please speak to Evie privately?" she asked.
Evie's parents, Johanna and Michael, glanced over their shoulders at their daughter. They stared at her for a moment, then Johanna turned back. "I'm afraid that's not possible, Ms. Martin," she said.
"I only need a moment. As the court-appointed counselor, it's my duty to ensure the welfare of the child," she said, reminding the Smiths that this was an official visit.
"My wife said no," Michael added.
Ms. Martin's alarm for the child's welfare rose. "I'm sorry you feel that way. I will have to report this to the courts. The next step may be removing Evie from the home."
The couple looked at their daughter once more, then slowly acquiesced. "You have five minutes," Michael said. "You can use the parlor."
Johanna pointed to a room off to the left.
"Thank you," Ms. Martin said. "I'll be quick."
Evie came down the stairs slowly, her painfully shy expression meant her eyes rarely met the counselors. Ms. Martin waited for the girl to take a seat before closing the parlor door. She took a seat across from her, but close enough to Evie's perch to be able to reach out if necessary. She had to work fast to find out what was happening in this open before Evie's parents lost their patience and demanded that she leave.
"How are you feeling?" Ms. Martin asked.
Evie ducked her dark head and said, "Fine." Her small voice barely audible above a whisper.
"Are you happy here? Have your parents been treating you well?"
Evie's head shot up, her brown eyes burning with intensity. It was an intensity that Ms. Martin instantly recognized. She'd seen that look in a lot of abused kids' faces. "Your parents don't have to know what you tell me," she said.
"It's okay," Evie said hesitantly.
Ms. Martin's gaze shot toward the door and she dropped her voice in case the parents were listening at the keyhole. "Is anyone in this house hurting you?"
Evie flushed. "They would never do that."
"You can tell me the truth."
"I am," her voice trailed off and she was quiet for a moment, then her dark gaze met Ms. Martin's. "No one is hurting me. I wouldn't allow it."
It took Ms. Martin a minute for Evie's words to sink in. She had to have misunderstood. Her brow furrowed. "I'm sorry. What did you mean when you said you wouldn't allow it?" At four and a half feet tall and barely seventy pounds, there wasn't much Evie could stop if someone decided to physically abuse her.
Evie held her gaze and said, "Come in, Mom and Dad. This nice lady was just leaving."
Her parents scrambled into the room. "You heard her," they said, the fear they'd hidden so well shining clearly in their eyes.
Johanna and Michael walked the counselor to the door. Shaken, Ms. Martin stepped onto the front porch, needing to get out of the house. She turned back in time to see Johanna mouth 'Help Us', then Evie stepped forward and slammed the door.