Absolute Abandonment by Cycy Smith

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She digs something out of the ground and runs to show her mummy, but her mummy isn't pleased. She slaps the little girl and sends her crying back indoors, away from her precious tulips.

I see the girl, bigger now, on her way to school. She must be about eleven. She's so proud, that girl, she has a new bike. She can't wait to show her friends. When she gets to school she sees a group of pupils gathered around another girl. She walks over. The other girl has a laptop. No one wants to see the girl's bike now.

The same girl, in her mid teens now, walks home across a field. She can barely keep her balance, the wind is blowing a gale and the rain is thrashing down. The girl's path takes her past an old well, unused now. I want to cry out to her, to warn her. I can see the tree swaying, I know it will fall. But the girl doesn't hear me. The tree is big, an oak, but its roots are not deep because of the well. It falls, knocking the girl down the well, and landing across the entrance, blocking the light. I cry for the girl, I know she's going to die now. Alone in that deep, dark, well she will die. All the tears in the world can't help her now.

My eyelids flicker, still fighting to stay open, but now even the thing inside knows it's a hopeless struggle. It falls quiet, listening to the slowed heart beat and shallow breaths. Then, like the simple thing it is, it just turns its back. I close my eyes, lie down in the ice cold water, and sleep at last.

The search had lasted eight days when a group of men stumbled across the old well, with its oak tree cover. There was no where else to look. They hacked up the trunk and moved it piece by piece, revealing the entrance. They let down ropes, and two men with flash lights went down into the dark well. The others waited on the surface, barely daring to breathe lest it disturb the delicate last gust of hope. Finally three sharp tugs came on the rope. They pulled up the two men, and the dead girl they held in their arms. Her skin was blue and on her cheek a single tear had frozen still.