The Barefoot Girl
This piece was written for the Once Upon A Time Flash Fiction Contest hosted by Anna Meade & Susi Holliday. It appears in an anthology of the same name.
Rog knew about the Barefoot Girl.
Sheer white dress, long red hair, pale skin, bare feet.
She was city legend, whispered among men of a certain… persuasion.
“See her and your ass is grass,” an associate said.
“After everything you’ve done you’re scared of a ghost?” he’d asked.
Rog feared no legend. The city was his territory.
He was out hunting when the Barefoot Girl appeared to him by the fountain in Columbus Circle.
She smiled at him through the watery haze and then laughed and disappeared into the crowd.
Her footprints remained on the sun-warmed pavement just long enough for him to track her.
It was now after dark. It might even be the next day.
The Barefoot Girl had led him on a chase all over the city.
They were somewhere in the Lower East Side. Alphabet City, perhaps. He couldn’t be sure.
She smiled at him from the mouth of an alley.
“Almost time,” she said.
His hunter’s eyes followed her bone-white soles into the darkness of the alley.
He fingered the handle of his knife but did not draw it. He never did until it was time to kill.
He put on his most lecherous grin and walked into the alley.
Rog had spent much of his life in the dark but the darkness in that alley was unlike any he’d experienced.
The city’s noise faded and vanished.
Rog spun in the dark.
The lights of a passing car illuminated the alley and in that one second he knew where he was.
That name stenciled on the dumpster. That broken fire escape.
A very hard, very cold, foot hit him in the gut.
Another kick crushed his jaw.
More laughter. More blows.
The seventh shattered a knee. The eighth broke ribs.
Rog slumped to the pavement.
Laughter. Two pale bare feet, cool against his face.
She reached down and forced him to look, to see his victims- nine women- grinning at him from around the dumpster he left them in.
Laughter. Darkness. Then nothing.