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"Little Girl's Night Terror"

Posted on Sat Oct 28th, 2023 @ 4:37pm by Lieutenant Tate Sullivan Ph.D.

Mission: Season 6: Episode 4: Memory Lane
Location: Kate Sullivan's quarters
740 words - 1.5 OF Standard Post Measure

Except for the sounds of crickets and the heat that seemed far too intense for the time of year, it could've been anywhere in the galaxy. In fact, it could've been practically anywhen between birth and what she instinctually recognized as freedom, the antithesis of what she was experiencing now, even if she was too young to know the specific word.

The house had seen better days, inside and out, but that didn't seem to bother the stringy haired and strung out "mother" that had closed the deal. What mattered to her was privacy, freedom from prying eyes. On good days, that freedom was also supposed to mean freedom to run and play, to laugh and pretend with the older woman that was so creative and fun when her eyes were clear and her skin was rosy, but even though the girl didn't exactly know how to keep track of time, she knew enough to know those days were getting fewer and further in between.

Only the darkness and the sound of crickets let her know it was evening. Inside, it could've been any day and any hour. The dark-haired Little Girl who could've been any age between four and seven, stared blankly at the screen, which blared some high-pitched cartoon she had lost interest in long ago, in large part because something was wrong with the vid and every few seconds it kept glitching so that the images would roll back up into the top of the screen and the voices would temporarily lower so they sounded as if they were speaking in a combination of growls and slurred words.

So she stared through the screen mostly, long brown hair damp and sticking to her. She wore a bright yellow T-shirt with a rainbow on it and navy shorts. Both items of clothing needed a good scrubbing, containing mostly stains from the previous days' meals - A lot of ketchup and mustard, in fact. For the past two days, however, the replicator had seen fit only to dispense bowl after bowl of sugary cereal in milk. She didn't know what had happened but she had watched mommy hit the replicator over and over again, enraged at whatever it refused to give her. The Little Girl didn't mind, though. The cereal tasted good and filled her with happy energy. Only occasionally did gloppy cereal mess her mouth and land on the carpet she sat on.

Eventually, the sugar rush began to fade and the Little Girl found her eyes getting heavier and heavier. She was almost asleep when she was startled alert by a heavy third coming from the nearby room. Startled and confused, The little girl turned her head back-and-forth, almost completely forgetting there was another room in the house and in fact there were two other people present. So often, she had been deposited in just this one room of the house and told to stay put that she almost forgot there was another part of the house.

Now she came running into the kitchen, her bare feet almost slipping on the dirty floor as she scrambled to reach her mother who was flopping around on the floor, her eyes rolling back into her head, like one of the animated fish in the Little Girl cartoon that had been thrust out of the water.

Before she could reach her mother, she felt herself being lifted up and away from the scene. She tried to scream, but no sound emerged and with each second, she was being taken further and further away from the chaos she knew into the chaos she didn't. The Little Girl pounded mightily at the broad shoulders of the dark skinned man taking her away, but it seems like forever before he even acknowledged her, let alone provided her an opportunity to escape.

Then suddenly, he tripped and she was falling…



She awoke, gasping for breath. It took her several moments to steady her breathing and her heart rate. Even then, she couldn't shake the nightmare.

Climbing out of bed and padding her way to the restroom, she pressed a button in the sink revealed itself, already filled with cold water, which she splashed on her face. As if on second thought, she presses the button and suddenly there was a mirror before her, lights all around it glaring at her. In its reflection, Tate Sullivan, not Little Girl, stared back at her.


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