A strange sound echoed through the alleyway. It seemed to emanate from the back of the abandoned building. At first, the screams startled me. I bolted to the nearest lit street, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to run away.
I turned back, stepping lightly as I approached the alley. I didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into, but if I needed help, I’d hope some good Samaritan might do the same. The screams, now muffled, were coming from an empty warehouse. I heard a man’s voice but struggled to make out what he was saying.
Crouching below a broken window, I slowly raised my head to peek inside. A little girl sat on the filthy concrete floor. She couldn’t have been more than seven years old. Her auburn hair was pulled back into pigtails secured with blue bows. The same robin's egg blue as the flowers on her dress. Her tiny wrists and ankles were bound with rope. A dirty red handkerchief stifled her screams.
I had lived on the streets for many years and witnessed many crimes, but this situation was different. What I saw made me nauseous. The thought of the heinous acts she might be forced to perform made me realize I had to help her.
The sweaty pervert guzzled whiskey straight from the bottle as he sat staring at his victim, most likely envisioning all the naughty things he’d do to her.
After taking his last drink, he threw the bottle against the wall. “I’ll be back, Sweetie.” He dug into the pockets of his jeans and found a wad of money.“Now, don't you go anywhere," He chuckled before staggering out the door.
I broke into a cold sweat. This was it. If I was going to save her, it had to be now. I tip-toed around to the door and made sure he was gone before going inside.
The girl attempted to scream. I'm sure my ragged clothes and unkempt hair frightened her.
“Shh. I’m here to help you.” I whispered while searching for something sharp to cut the rope. I found a piece of glass and used it to saw at the rope and set her free.
She stared up at me. Tear-soaked eyelashes framed her hazel eyes.“I’m going to remove the handkerchief. Don’t scream.” I carefully pulled it from her mouth. “Run to the nearest building and have someone call the police.”
She sprang to her feet and fled. I walked out into the alley watching her. I wanted to be sure she had gotten away. Suddenly, something struck my back. I struggled to keep my balance.
“I'm gonna teach you to mind your own business,” he said.
As I turned to defend myself, I saw two arms swinging a piece of pipe toward my head. I knew a fatal blow was inevitable. I didn’t care. That child likely had a family tormented by her disappearance, but the world would be a better place with one less drug addicted, derelict. Like me.