"Street Girl" by William Falo
Issue #9 / August 2014
Illustrated by Mark Para
KINDLE EDITION ($0.99)
WILLIAM FALO’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Emrys Journal, 34th Parallel, Skyline Review, Foliate Oak Review, Oak Bend Review, Open Wide Magazine, The Linnet’s Wings, The View From Here, The Monarch Review, and others. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
"Anton watched the people leave the gothic-style church after a rare winter wedding and felt the dull ache in his stomach spread to his heart. He blinked away the tears before they could fall.
The bookstore was emptier then usual and the loneliness became too much to bear, so he put up the closed sign. A door slammed and footsteps pounded on the sidewalk.
“Stop you pest!” someone shouted. He turned to see Radu grab a street boy, throw him to the ground, and then straddle him, lifting a clenched fist. The boy had on a blue hat that became pulled down over his ears as he squirmed to get free, but Radu had a strong grip from years of working in the market.
The punch connected with a sickening thud, and the boy let out a high-pitched wail. Anton With his arm hanging midair, ready to strike like a hammer, Radu scanned the street and locked eyes with Anton.
“Anton, come and help me. This boy robbed me again.”
Anton approached the scene with hesitation. Radu swung again, his punch glancing off the boy’s cheek.
“Help me,” Radu said again as the boy twisted on the ground. Anton was always worried about being robbed by the street children, but they usually stayed out of his bookstore. Still, he was afraid of them.
Radu pulled his leg back and landed a kick along the helpless child’s side. The boy winced, but Anton kicked him again and again until the boy released a wailing cry, tears running down his cheeks. Radu lifted his arm to strike him once more and said, “You’ll never rob me again.”
Anton recognized the defeat in the boy’s tear-soaked face and grabbed the shop owner’s fist. “No more,” he said. “Let him go.”