The girl with the hot, pink converse skipped past Grecian Boulevard. The sun high in the noon sky, she gripped her water bottle in her small hands. The streets were busy; music booming from cars, cars honking, and the chatter of people on their breaks. Mum was at home finishing the laundry. Dad was at work. And Lola, well Lola, was out in the fresh air.
Humming her favorite tune, she stopped suddenly and looked up at the sign, reading, “Pandora's Café.” Her mouth watered. A bell rang and two young boys darted out with mint, chocolate chip ice cream dripping down their hands. Lola dug into her pockets desperately. Nothing. She sighed. Her mouth felt dry. The sweating water bottle in her hand felt nice. Uncapping the top, she took a big swig, letting the icy liquid run slowly down her throat. Gone.
Running a damp hand through her curly, blonde curls, she tossed the empty container into a nearby trash barrel. Perfect shot. She wiped her moistened hands on her denim shorts. Passing shop after shop, she danced and fluttered her way down the uneven ground like a butterfly. Shops she had seen many times before. She glanced down at her Hello Kitty watch. It was 1:00. Only thirty minutes left.
Should she push it? No, it was time to turn back, but just as she was, a black slit between the buildings caught her eye. She approached. It was an alleyway. Narrow but just right for a petite child as herself to wander aimlessly down. How had she missed it? She had walked these streets thousands of times. Was it possible to look at something but not really see it?
Eyes of lime scanned her surroundings. No one. She slipped through the crack. It smelled of sweat and ash. Holding her breath, she gazed up into the blue sky. It was cooler in this space. The etched stone felt like snow on her back. Her baby blue tank top unstuck from her body. Close to the wall with her palms plastered against it, she began to inch her way down the secluded and shadowed passageway.
“Hey kid, what are you doing down there?”
Lola jumped, freezing in her tracks.
“You should come out from there. It’s dangerous.”
She slowly turned her head in the direction of the stranger’s voice. The stranger was nothing but a silhouette.
“Are you going to come out from there, or not?”
Her heart beat fast in her chest as her palms began to sweat.
“Okay kid, am I going to have to come in there and get you out myself?” The stranger began to make his way into her hole.
She ran. Her blood pulsed through her veins sending electric shocks and signals throughout her being. She dared not to look back.