Joann Klusmeyer

West, by Southwest

The little girl, barely having passed her third birthday, stood alone on the wooden pier facing the cutting wind off the Atlantic Ocean. Beside her was a small worn suitcase. Between her and the wind stood a large yellow dog, its fur being ruffled and tossed by the force of it.

She watched both ways and when she saw him coming, she brightened. "I knew you were going to come soon. I'm getting really cold."

The man looked both ways to see who she was speaking to, and saw no one. He looked back at the girl he had never seen before, as she drew one leg upward like the gulls, perhaps for a bit of warmth under the ill-fitting coat..

His first thought was that she should be wearing padded leggings like little girls wear to keep warm. His next thought was a question. What was she doing here alone?

Third thought, also a question: What was he going to do about it?

211 printed pages
Original publication



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