2nd Place – November 2018

The Girl On The Wall

Robert Taylor

While walking along State Street, on his way home from work, Donald came upon something that disturbed and confused him to no small degree; a road, heading off to the right, one he had never before seen. How could this be? He had traversed the route hundreds of times and was certain the road had never been there.
At the intersection stood a metal pole that had once held a street sign, but the sign was no longer there. “No way,” he mumbled, “this cannot be. I must be losing my mind.” He stood there for several moments, attempting to make sense of this odd turn of events. Upon reaching the conclusion that no sense could be made of it, he shrugged his tired, middle-aged shoulders, said “Inquiring minds need to know,” and started off down the newly discovered road.
The evening drawing towards twilight, there were no street lights to be seen. On Donald’s right, the houses were far back off the road, partly hidden by overgrown bushes and trees, with no lights visible from the windows. On his left, no houses could be seen, just huge trees, their trunks covered with thick foliage and vines.
After walking for what seemed to be close to a mile, and finding no side streets, and seeing not a living soul, animal or human, Donald contemplated turning around and heading back the way he came. Then he spotted a child, clad in a tattered blue denim dress, sitting atop a badly crumbled rock wall along the left side of the road. Behind her, a break in the foliage revealed a cemetery, which seemed to stretch back as far as the eye could see.
Drawing close to the girl, Donald tipped his felt hat in a mannerly gesture.     “Hello, little girl, I seem to have gotten myself lost. If you would be so kind,  perhaps you could instruct me as to where this road will lead?”
“What is your name, Mister?” Her high-pitched voice made her appear even younger than he had first thought her to be.
“I’m Donald Phelps, and who might I be speaking to?”
“My name is Tuesday.”
For some unexplainable reason, Donald was so amused by her answer he laughed out loud. The girl stared at him in a condescending manner
“I’m terribly sorry, I wasn’t poking fun. It’s just that Tuesday is such an odd name for a pretty little girl like yourself. And by the way, do your parents know you’re sitting out here on this dark road all alone?”
“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies,” she replied.
Donald opened his mouth with the intention of chastising her for smart-talking an adult, but before he could speak the girl covered her face with her hands and began emitting deep mournful sobs, sending chills up and down Donald’s spine.
“What’s wrong, Tuesday? Is there something I can do?”
Suddenly dropping her hands to her side, the girl appeared totally composed, leaving Donald puzzled at her rapid recovery. “My parents are out there,” she replied, pointing toward the cemetery, “they’ve been dead since before I was born.”
Once again, Donald laughed at her remark. “That makes no sense whatsoever. You’re obviously a very precocious child with no proper training whatsoever.”
“The road leads nowhere,” the girl said, in a very serious tone.
“Well, in that case, I guess I’ll go back the way I came. I’ll be seeing you, little girl, and perhaps you’d better be running on home before it gets completely dark.”
He turned to walk away, but heard Tuesday’s voice behind him. “Will you join me in a silent prayer, Donald Phelps?”
Donald spun around to face her, hardly believing what he had heard.
“In memory of my parents,” she explained, closing her eyes and bowing her head.
Donald followed suit, closed his eyes, and after a few moments of silence, opened them, and the girl was not there. Precisely where she had been sitting, on the crumbled rock wall, sat an old moss-covered statue which appeared to be some Greek or Roman goddess, as best as he could ascertain. Donald felt a sudden wave of panic so intense he feared he would lose consciousness. After a few moments, however, he was able to pull himself together, so he turned and started back the way he had come.
After walking for what seemed like close to a mile, Donald saw a child, clad in a badly tattered denim dress, sitting upon a partly crumbled rock wall at the side of the road. “Excuse me, little girl, I seem to have gotten myself lost. If you would be so kind, perhaps you could enlighten me as to where this road leads?”
“Mrs. Phelps,” the officer said, “I know you’ve been asked these questions before, but it’s imperative that we get all the facts. So please, bear with us. Now, when was the last time you saw or heard from your husband?”
Wiping a salty tear from her cheek, Mrs. Phelps replied. “I have a terrible memory, have trouble remembering days and such, but I believe it was Tuesday. Donald called from the office like he always does, to tell me he was going to walk home. Yes, it was Tuesday, I’m sure of it.”

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