“This is what she looks like,” Issa said.
“Like an anime street urchin?” The boy with the hanks of twisted hair touched the wall. “Like a goddess of dirt?”
“Exactly,” Issa stepped up beside the boy. “She’s my little sister, but someone took her away, and I heard …” he ran a fingertip along the fingers of the hand he’d painted, “I heard someone say they’d seen her here.” It felt like a last chance, a moment that came too late for him to see her one more time, to say what needed to be said. Too late for him to save her from this life, to rescue himself by finding her and finishing the job he’d started, and before she blabbed.
The kid smeared paint from the eyes over the cheeks. Issa watched his face, not what his hands did. If he knew something, the eyes would give it away. He wasn’t the first of the local street people, but he was the only one who stopped to look again. And he touched her.
“Wish I knew her,” the boy said. “But someone that sweet wouldn’t be here. They never come here.” The boy turned away, walked away, his shoulders straight and his feet bare.
The painting wasn’t a close representation, but it was enough for someone who knew her to recognise the features. And he’d see it in their face. He’d know his trap was sprung.
Patience was Issa’s virtue, hunter was his trade. His prey would turn up here if she heard about a picture that looked like her. Vanity caught her the first time, and it would catch her again.
My last short for the year, off the cuff, and a bit dark. Wishing you all a happy new year.