Be Quiet

By Justin Sword

He clutched his left knee in anguish. He lay in a fetal position on the muddy ground, eyes closed and mouth wide open. His salty tears mingled in his mouth as he screamed for help.

"Be quiet," they told him.

He writhed around on the ground, shouting. He was sweating.

"Help me!" he cried.

"Stop crying," they told him.

He kicked his right leg out in random directions not aiming for anyone or anything in particular. He hit something cold and hard, sending a shock of pain through his leg.

He gripped both legs like a boa constrictor holding its prey in place.

He tried to open his eyes but the sweat stung. He managed to catch a fleeting glimpse of the black sky above him. The light barely made it through what looked like a dark veil of clouds.

The sounds of dogs barking and chains rattling were faint but audible in the back of his mind.

Another wave of pain shot through his left leg.

"Get mommy!" he cried.

"Be quiet," they told him.

He waved his hand around in the air above his head. It found something. Something cold and hard. He dragged himself slowly toward it.

"You'd better stop crying," they told him.

"Help me!" he cried.

"Shut up," they told him.

"I need mommy!" he screamed through the salty tears.

He wiggled himself closer to the thing he was holding onto. He couldn't tell what it was. It didn't matter what it was. He just needed to get out of there.

He propped himself up against it. He tried to look beyond the burning sweat in his eyes. He could see the cold, hard thing was a steel pole. He remembered.

He looked around. Dogs. There were dogs. And the girls; they were staring at him.

"What the hell is your problem?" they asked him.

"Get mommy! Please get mommy!" he squealed.

"She doesn't want to deal with your crap today," said the taller girl.

The taller brunette girl knelt down to his level and said, "If you don't stop crying, you'll be sorry. Do you understand me?"

The shorter blonde girl shot a suspicious glance at the taller before resetting her gaze on the boy.

"Please! I need mommy!" he cried.

"Shut up!" the taller girl shouted.

"Oh my god! It hurts!" he cried.

She slapped the boy hard, leaving a red handprint on his right cheek.

"Stop crying. You know what she'll do if you don't stop crying, don't you?" asked the taller girl.

The shorter girl chanced another prying glance at the other and then looked down at the ground.

"PLEASE! GET MOMMY!" he cried.

"I SAID SHUT UP!" the taller girl yelled.

She struck him again, this time rewarding him with a dark blue mark on the same cheek.

The shorter girl stepped back toward the dusty wooden porch. She considered leaving. But she couldn't. Something wouldn't let her.

"Are you going to stop crying?" the taller girl asked.

He stopped.

"You need to grow up. All you did was fall off the trampoline. Jeez," the taller girl reminded him.