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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2261673
A young woman trapped in an evil place wants to go home.
WC 290

Mehrabian is not a place of kindness. Evil treads its boards.

I walk alone, as always, down the darkened, cobblestone street, ever mindful of the alleyways. A fine mist dampens my hair; I pull my woolen shawl over my head, swallowing up what is left of my identity.

Up ahead, a gnarled old man appears out of nowhere and hobbles toward me on a hickory cane.

“I know the answer,” he says as he blocks my way.

He smells of oily ash and sweat.

“I do not have a question, kind sir,” I say, walking around him as I venture on.

There are punishments in Mehrabian for the most minor offenses; I must be cautious of my words, my actions.

I can hear the old man in the distance. “I have the answer. I have the answer…” until his voice disappears in the mist.

Maybe he has the answer. Has he been sent to find me? Who would send him? My parents do not even know I am here.

Before Mehrabian, when I was back home in Larkspur, I had been approached by a dark, intriguing stranger.

He asked, “What is your desire?”

Like a fool, I answered, "To be anywhere but here.”

He snapped his fingers.

Suddenly I was in Mehrabian, and I am afraid this is where I will live out my days. I do not know how to get back home to my peaceful Larkspur.

Perhaps the old man does! Is that what he meant?

I turn and hurry back the way I came. I must find him.

The old man waits in the darkened alley, hickory cane at the ready. He knows the pretty girl will be back; he can tell she hungers for the answer.

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