Sgt. Rob Brunes walked into the station to smiles and uproarious applause, sounding through the air vents and echoing through every office until every last trooper, secretary and sergeant filed into the halls to shake the hand of the man who found little Jessica Ghaldon after a two month nationwide search. He greeted them all, receiving kisses on the cheek and a ruffled collar.
"Thank you, please, it took everyone working together for this one."
They returned to their spaces, still lauding him, voices trailing off and the monotonous pulse of faxes, dial tones, paper shuffling, file cabinet opening and heavy boots permeated the air once again.
He set off towards the back, navigating through them until he could close the door behind. He walked down a faded beige hallway until he arrived where Mandy had placed Jessica.
"Is she okay?"
"Hasn't spoken a word yet, poor thing," said Mandy.
Rob peered through the window.
Jessica was sitting at the table, calm and stoic, not moving.
"The parents have been informed and are on their way. They're ecstatic. Everyone is. This doesn't happen, Rob. These cases don't walk into a park and sit waiting to be found."
"I know. It's like she was just placed there for me. She must've escaped. Thank you, Mandy."
Mandy trailed off down the hall.
Rob entered the room.

"Hello, sweetheart," he said to her.
He fished through his pockets and pulled out a pack of Marlboro's, a lighter and his cellphone. He set them on a small cabinet by the door and sat down across from Jessica. He rubbed her hair out of her face and pulled back dirty fingertips. Soil had caked on her face and under her eyes like thick, dark makeup, and her light brown hair had taken on a dark red-ish tint from the filth that had cropped up in it. Her small nose and big eyes stared blankly at the table.
"I have a daughter your age, you know. She's going into the 3rd grade next year. I believe she goes to St. Ivan's with you. Do you know a Rebecca?"
She remained unmoved.
"Well, everyone is very happy that you're back and I'm sure you just can't wait to get back home. Your mommy and daddy are on their way to pick you up right now."
She didn't shuffle in her seat.
There was no nervous anxiety, no tears.
She remained uninterested.
"Look, angel, I know that this must be very tough for you. I know that you're probably tired and ready to put all this away, but to help us find the person who did this to you I would like to ask you a few questions, is that okay with you?"
"Do you remember what the man looked like?"
"Was he big, small? Was he an ugly man? On the tape it kind of seemed like he was a real ugly man, huh?"
"If you don't want to talk right now then that's okay, angel."
Rob leaned back in his seat and pushed a pencil around the desk. Jessica raised her head from the table and stared at him. He leaned in. Her mouth began to quiver.
"Yes? What is it, honey?"
She parted her hair and wiped the dirt from around her mouth. She leaned into him until they were inches apart, nose to nose. She opened her mouth to speak:
“It is not possible to eat me without insisting that I sing praises of my devourer?”
Rob slowly declined back into his chair.
She kept her gaze attentively on his eyes, not batting a lash. Rob began to sweat, choking on his words.
Jessica looked towards the filing cabinet, eyeballing the pack of Marlboros.
"Can I bum one of those?"
Poor advice.
i have a fever. i've read a lot of your old shit tonight randy. you're still damn good. this piece was engaging as all hell. the ending was superb. i dont know man, send your shit out and publish it.
Ah, so good. The only thing I didn't like really was the title. I didn't feel like it was very representative of what was going on. But the story itself was just great. It was fairly untouched ground, especially for this site. I feel like people tend to write about a handful of topics. Yes, very, very good.


I'm talking to a girl write now who writes. We were playing a game where we gave each other a random title and had to write something using the title. The title she gave me was "Evolution's Delightfuls."

End of story.
Poor advice.