by D. Allison Smith

*Sequel to Wasted

My footsteps seem to make no noise as I wade through the filth of this dirty city. There’s trash of every kind littering the streets; discarded McDonald’s burger wrappers here, hookers shouting calls to passersby there, a corncob laying in the gutter on one side of the street, a little girl no older than fourteen lying in a stupor of crack on this side. Trash is just strewn about everywhere.

The building is just up the way and I’ve heard it on good authority that she’s there. It’s taken me almost three weeks to get here – one week by bike and two by foot after some trash stole my bike – but I am here and I’m going to take her home.

She insisted on leaving the farm for this filth.

“The world isn’t such a bad place, Daddy,” she would say, but it is. I know it is. Just looking around this street is proof of that.

With the two of us, it’s always like something out of an episode of Family Ties. I stand before her telling her that all she needs is on the farm. Food to eat, water to drink. We can make our own clothes and the work put into everything is all the self-satisfaction anyone could need.

“I’m an entrepreneur, Daddy,” she would say. Some entrepreneur. Instead of making use of what she already had at the farm, she decides to go out and sell anything she’s got, even if it’s just her little sixteen-year-old body.

The door to the building swings open just before I approach and a woman with tousled hair steps out of it.

In her hand with its series of broken fake nails, she carries a silver baseball bat that’s covered with blood and hair and she’s mumbling to herself.

“That’s the end of that,” she says. “You and your damn girl. Hope they have a goddamn facial reconstructionist in Hell cause you’re gonna need one. You and your damn little girl who’s just like us.”

I stare at her, not knowing what else to do and her head jerks as she finally notices me on the street.

“And just what the hell do you want?”

I shake my head. “I just want my daughter. I’ve heard she’s working here.”

She laughs at me. “Good luck finding her. Hopefully you can pull her out from under her newest business partner.”

She brushes past me laughing out loud and lets the bloody bat drop on the cement with a muted clank.

I’m determined now. I have to bring my daughter out of this mess, this dirt, this filth, before it’s too late for her.

I open the door to the building and poke my inside of it and call out for her.