A gloved hand brushed against pink paint. White chalk dust came away on Victoria’s fingers. Scrawled upon the wall was a smiley face: so crude a child of five could have drawn it. Next to it were a series of lines, like tally marks.
She had seen them before: at the school, at the houses, under the bridge.
“Come on,” Sergeant Brodie grabbed her hand. “We have three missing girls to find.”
Victoria smiled. “And I found them.”
“They drew that?” Brodie looked at the face.
“It’s a symbol,” Victoria said. “Marking meeting places. Safe houses. It’s how they’re communicating to each other.”
Victoria shook her head. “There are no kidnappers. They ran away. And not just them. It’s a network of runaways and forgotten people, all watching out for each other.” She looked at Brodie. “It’s almost a shame we have to bring them back.”
Word Count: 148
This is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Grant-Sud for providing the prompt photo!