Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Now Playing: The Silent Child
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Episode Two of The Silent Child

Episode One concluded with:

            “My name is Rance. What’s your name?”
            The girl remained silent.
            “Do you know where your mommy or daddy are?”
            The child said nothing and Dehner stopped with the questions. The look on the girl’s face caused him to pause. He had seen that empty expression before, on the face of people who had witnessed death and destruction on a massive scale.
            The detective sighed inwardly. He had been through hell only a few days ago. He had a feeling that this little girl had been through something even worse.

Episode Two

Dehner tried to keep his voice friendly and kind. “For a little while, I’m going to call you ‘Pixie.’ A pixie is sort of like an elf. Some folks say pixies live in the woods.” He nodded with his head toward the grove of trees the girl had just emerged from. “You can be ‘Pixie’ for a while, then you can get your real name back.”
            The girl didn’t respond. Dehner didn’t really expect her to. He knew the area reasonably well. Candler was the nearest town. If he couldn’t find the kid’s home or her family, he would take her there.
            “We’re going to ride on my horse!” Dehner kept his voice happy and upbeat though he suspected the girl didn’t really care. “Maybe we can find your people.”
            Pixie didn’t resist as Rance lifted the child up, carried her to his horse and seated her on the saddle. He then climbed up behind her and carefully looked over the rocky area. The stream got larger as it flowed East from the mountains and the land became greener.  A good place for a ranch: maybe he could find some people there who would recognize Pixie.
            The detective kept an eye on the girl as they rode in the direction of green land. He paid no heed to the row of boulders on their left side.
 Dehner’s horse went up on two legs as the sound of a shot echoed off the mountains. Pixie screamed and jumped from the bay, landing on her face. She scrambled up and began to run back toward the grove of trees. The sound of a second shot whined over the land.
            Dehner drew his .45 and fired twice toward the boulders.  The move was primarily intended to provide cover as he grabbed a Winchester from its boot. He slid off the bay and ran toward the girl, snapping off a shot at the attackers with his .45 while toting the Winchester in his left hand.
            He caught up with Pixie and pushed her to the ground. The girl continued to scream hysterically. “Stay down!” Dehner yelled as he crouched on one knee in front of the child. He hastily tossed down his Colt and aimed the Winchester toward the boulders.
            He saw sunlight glint off the barrel of a rifle and sent a red spear in that direction. A man’s yell echoed across the mountain range mixing with the sounds of a ricocheting bullet. Dehner reckoned his shot had missed the mark but the enemy had fallen down on hard stones in his attempt to duck.
            Sounds of horses in retreat followed. Dehner was sure there was more than one horse but couldn’t tell how many.  Pixie’s crying overwhelmed the hoofbeats.
            Rance lifted the child to her feet and spoke calming words. It didn’t work. The detective had to give Pixie about ten minutes to exhaust herself with the loud cries. As she screamed, Dehner tried to get her to talk, to tell him at least a little bit about what had happened to her. That didn’t work either. Finally, he was able to take the girl by the hand and walk with her back to his horse. The bay was now grazing on some grass that lined the stream.
            Pixie had again become silent. Rance found that to be more nerve wracking than the screams. He decided not to try and locate Pixie’s family. He needed to get the child into town and make sure she was safe.
            And he needed to find out who was trying to kill her.

Tomorrow: Episode Three of The Silent Child