by Pari (and everyone else!)
(Hi all. I've had a rough few days; the rescue dog we adopted bit one of our children and we had to take him back. It was heartbreaking, like losing a friend all over again. So, I decided to do something different for the post today. I trolled through the beginnings of my short stories and found this one. It's a good start. How about we write the rest of it?
Here's how I see this working:
Everyone who comments adds a sentence, a paragraph or two to the already existing prose from other writers. Toward the end of the day, anyone who wants to take a stab at the ending can do it — just let us readers know that's what you're up to. Anyone can contribute more text at any time; heck, I might do that, too.
I'm not sure this is going to fly, but thought it'd be an interesting experiment.
Let's see what happens.
One . . . two . . . three . . . HERE GOES:)
The janitor found the kid back by the dumpters before morning announcements. The child's face had already grayed, his body arched in a weird rigor mortis. No need to feel for a pulse. Eyes that glassy no longer held a soul.
"We can't just leave him there," said the principal, her breakfast returning from its first voyage down her throat.
"Can't move him either," said the janitor. "It'd mess up the police investigation."
"How do you know that?" she said too quickly, suspicious.
The janitor just shook his head and pulled a dingy handkerchief out of one of his many pockets. He dabbed at his eyes.
"You're telling me I don't want to know?" she said.
He closed his eyes and shook his head again.
The principal stepped back a little, her high heels making a clicking sound on the asphalt at the desolate edge of the parking lot. Cell phone at the ready but not yet open, she addressed the man who'd discovered the child. "Juan, would you go get Mr. Valdez? I'll need him to keep things calm while I deal with the police."
"Yes, Mrs. Henry." He started to leave, but she reached for his arm.
"And please don't tell anyone else about this. Not yet."
Her hand remained in place a minute after he left, the heat of their connection turning cold in the winter wind. It was times like these she hated her job, hated that there were parents who neglected their children or, worse yet, who paid the wrong kind of attention to them.
She took a deep breath, letting the tears fall from her cheeks onto her wool coat, and dialed 911. When that was done, she called the superintendent at his home and explained the situation.
"I wish you'd waited to call the police," he said. "You know the media will be all over this. Four kids in four weeks." His cough was phlegmy. "I'll get someone from communications out there to handle them right away. You just hold tight."
That was just like him to worry more about image than anything else. He hadn't even asked if she knew the boy. Horror of horrors, she did . . .
(So, what happens next?)