Flash Fiction Friday – Little Stars

I was listening to a podcast episode recently that talked about the urban legend of black-eyed kids and it gave me some ideas, one of which was the below. Enjoy!

Little Stars

 “About fucking time!” Elle hissed as Tam slipped in through the door and closed it behind them with their hip.

“What took you so long?” Lou asked, a murmur spreading through the rooms as the others become aware of their returning sibling.

“We were worried.” Azzie’s ethereal voice cut through the murmurs, but she didn’t look up from the papers scattered on the table before them.

“Sorry,” Tammie mumbled, pushing her hood back and taking off the sunglasses so they could see in the dim light of the lair. “I got held up.”

“By whom?” Elle asked sharply, eyes narrowing at the younger sibling.

Tam shrugged, putting the large, bulging grocery bags down on the floor. “Some lady at the store.”

“What lady?”

“I ‘unno, just some lady.”

“What lady?” Lou and Ella asked in one hushed, tense voice, Lou glancing back at the young’uns to make sure their worry wasn’t carrying over to them just yet.

“I don’t know!” Tam hissed back. “She was just some lady, she asked me questions, if I lived nearby, how old I was, why did I need so much food.”

“And?” Lou picked at their nails, expectant and apprehensive.

Tam looked down, scraping their sneaker across the concrete floor of the small bunker. “I lied, like always.”

“And?” Elle asked, jaw clenched.

“And she just like talked a lot and said if I needed help she could help me, get me food or help me get the stuff back home…” Tam was still looking at the ground, shifting from foot to food.

“And?” Azzie said softly, finally looking up from her papers.

Tam swallowed. They knew they had to say it, for the safety of their family, but the thought made a lump form in their throat. For all that it was dark and a little damp, they’d been getting used to this place, them and all the siblings. “I…” they began, and finally looked up to meet their elder sibling’s gaze. “I think she saw my eyes.” They said.

Total, breath-held silence dominated the space for a single moment. In the orangish light of the single bulb that hung above Azzie’s table, Tam’s eyes glistened with tears. The liquid gave a sense of even further depth to the space-black orbs, which were speckled with purple swirls like galaxies just like the eyes of all their siblings and which filled the souls of all who saw them with a bone-deep dread and a need to hurt, pursue and banish.

A look of visceral pain crossed Elle’s face and was gone, a smile forcing its way onto her lips as she turned to the room. Somehow she managed not to sound broke-hearted as she uprooted the lot of them once again. “All right, little stars! Pack it up, time to go!” 

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