The middle-aged man's watery, bulgy eyes regarded her hungrily as she stood before the flimsily-latched door of the motel room, her thin shoulders hunched in on themselves. She saw him swallow, his Adam's apple prominent even in his fleshy throat, and the pink skin of his scalp glistened with sweat under the thinning layer of his greasy graying hair.1

"Relax, sweetheart," he rasped, dropping his voice in an attempt to sound soothing and gentle. "There isn't nothin' to be nervous about, nothin' at all. Old Ed won't hurt you. Why don't you sit down, and I'll help you off with those shoes. They must be hurtin' your feet, those great big heels on a little thing like you…"2

Dolly bit her lip, casting hazel green eyes down at the stained carpet floor and seeming to tense her shoulders even more in response. The man before her- Ed, he called himself- was not tall, but he was heavy, flabby, with an eager look that belied his gentle tone. She knew his words to her mean nothing; they were only a game, his way of concealing who he really was. Dolly knew what he truly wanted- what he truly intended to do to her. He was no better than the others- he was just the same.3

Still, what else could she do but go along with him? At twelve years old, she was five feet tall and eighty-seven pounds. Should she resist him now, he would surely overpower her with his superior mass.4

Slowly Dolly went to sit before him on the thin blanket of the bed. The mattress creaked loudly, and she could feel through her short black skirt that it sagged horribly, hardly willing to support even her slight weight. Her bare arms, uncovered by the small camisole she was wearing, began to break out in goosebumps, and she shivered slightly. The small room was drafty, and Ed was knelt before her now, still breathing heavily as he smiled that horribly delighted smile.5

He unzipped Dolly's knee-length black boots slowly, easing them off her legs and feet as if he were a woman carefully unwrapping a present in order to preserve its ribbons and bows. Dolly held herself perfectly still, kept herself quiet as she felt his hot breath on her bare legs, felt his stubby fingers trembling on her feet.6

"There we are, sweetheart- doesn't that feel better? You have such perfect little feet, so small and delicate… we wouldn't want to scar them up, now, would we? No, we don't want your feet to be scarred, we wouldn't want to damage any part of such a beautiful young woman."7

What is he talking like that for, Dolly thought with discomfort as he continued to stroke her feet, her legs, and she steeled herself not to cringe away. He's calling me a woman.8

But then, they all did. They were all just like he was, just as repulsive and disgustingly enamored with her- but it still never failed to shock and horrify her anew.9

"Why don't you let me make you just a little more comfortable," Ed mumbled, and without seeking her permission his hands were already at the zipper of her skirt, easing it down her legs to expose her thighs. Dolly's face grew rigid, though she tried not to change her facial expression, as she felt the man's slightly damp hands on her. She wanted nothing more than to stop him, but she could only make herself hold still, allowing his clumsy caresses with no comment.10

With the same fumbling manner he slipped her shirt off over her head, momentarily having trouble pulling it over her arms. When her shirt was finally free of her face, Dolly's dark hair was mussed, her blush slightly smeared- but Ed seemed neither to notice or care. He stared at the preteen before him, clad only in white cotton underwear and a training bra with a pink bow at the front. His already uneven breathing quickened, his eyes seemed to sparkle. 11

"You're so beautiful, sweetheart," he rasped. "Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?"12

Many had, more than Dolly could remember, but she said nothing, only cast her eyes down into her lap. Ed's stubby fingers came up to roughly touch her face.13

"Don't worry about being cold, honey," he told her, "Ed will keep you warm."14

The gleam in his eyes told Dolly he was more than glad to do this for her… he continued to stroke her face, her hair, and then, with a quick, almost nervous glance at her downcast eyes, her neck and collarbone.15

"Come here, sweetheart," he almost grunted, so rapidly was his breath coming then. "Is this your first time? Don't worry, Ed will be gentle… come here, honey, come let Ed give you some lovin'…"16

He leaned forward then, pulling the child's body closer as he began to kiss her with eager awkwardness, sloppy and unskilled. Dolly's bright lipstick soon smeared across his face, as she sat there, silent, unresisting. As he continued to kiss her in spurts, stopping frequently as his gasping breaths took precedence, he snaked one hand around to her bare waist, fondling her small breasts.17

His hand had left her body, was fumbling for the zipper of his jeans when he felt the small hands close around his throat… hands that were much stronger than he would ever have thought possible. Ed froze, looking with sudden panic into the cold, cruel smile of his little child playmate… and above that smile, the pleased eyes.18

"Sorry, Ed, but no," the child said distinctly, her first words to him since they had first entered the motel room. "This isn't my first time."19

With that said, she pressed her thumbs down half an inch lower, at the very base of where his neck met his spine… as Ed's eyes bulged, then rolled back in his head, he slumped, almost falling onto her, unconscious. Dolly harshly pushed him away, reaching for one of her tall black boots. Taking the right shoe into her hands, she lifted from it the small knife she had taped to its inside. She had taken a chance, letting Ed handle her shoes, she knew- but then, he had been so excited to get them off of her she doubted he would have noticed it had it been taped across the heel or toes.20

She held it briefly, savoring the moment, before drawing it against the man's throat in a brutal, rough slash. As the blood sprayed across her hands, as the unpleasant sounds of Ed's dying noises entered her ears, Dolly continued to crouch beside him, regarding him with a smile. As often as she did this, it never failed to fascinate her, never seemed to get old.21

Afterward she washed her hands, not bothering to rinse out the sink. Let someone else- wasn't that what the maids were for?22

She could not resist taking one last smug glance at Ed's corpse just before she walked out the motel room door, her lipstick-smeared lips parting to show slightly uneven front teeth. The element of surprise… it never failed to catch them off guard.23

The end