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.”

“The kidnappers?”

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!


  1. Varad says:

    That’s a twist I didn’t see coming. Good one, JA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    Nicely done – I saw a symbol marking a meeting place too. I like where you went with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reena Saxena says:

    ‘networks of forgotten people’ — signifies a latent force.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. James says:

    Which begs the question what are they running from?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They certainly have found a unique way to communicate with each other! Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If they really are happy then it’s a shame to return them to whatever they were running from. An intriguing tale indeed.

    Click to read my FFfAW!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fluid Phrase says:

    A very unique perspective. No one would have seen that coming. I like it that you have not made this to be a serial murder. Good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It would be nice if this could be true and not the alternatives. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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