Readers Gazette Short Stories


Short Story The Innocent Fallen

The Innocent Fallen by John Pirillo Fantasy short story

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“A Samuel Light, Spiritual Detective Story”
Debbie was only eight years old and her whole life was before her. Literally. Before her. Not with her. As she watched the other kids on the playground from her wheelchair, her poor legs immobile because they had no communication with her brain anymore, all she could think of was I want to play too. The other kids looked over at her as they played. One young boy gave her a big smile and gestured for her to join him on the swing, but she shook her head. He gave her a sad look, then hopped on and began swinging harder and harder.

“Debbie, that young man likes you.” Her mother said. She was seated beside Debbie on a park bench, knitting a doll for Debbie. That's how she made extra money to pay for Debbie's therapy, which was never enough or often enough. She sighed. Something's just couldn't be helped, even as she cried inside at her daughter's loss.

A very tall and handsome young man came and sat down on the other side of the bench. “Mind if I sit here and watch with you?”

Allison, who was a single mother, felt a bit alarmed. She hadn't been with a new man for...ever. She gave him a shy look, but didn't say no and he read her assent and made himself comfortable. He held out a hand. “My name's Samuel.”

“Allison.” She responded, almost as if he had plucked her name right out of her mouth.

He smiled gently. “Don't be alarmed, Allison. I have that effect on people sometimes.”

Debbie stopped watching the boy, who was also watching her and now Samuel. She looked up into his eye, which met hers with such warmth she felt as if she could drown in them. She couldn't remember any grownup that looked at her like that. Not anymore. Most just pretended she wasn't there, or if they did see her, were nice, but not really.

“I'm Debbie.” She blurted out.

He cracked up. His laughter was like the breath of spring on the mother and child. They joined his laughter. He looked at her right hand. “What's that on your right hand, Debbie?”

She looked down at it and then gasped. She could see a shining star glowing on it. Allison gave Debbie a puzzled look. “What do you see?”

“Mommy! Mommy! My hand has a star on it!” She said excitedly. She tried to touch it and it danced over to her other hand. She tried to touch it there, and it went back to the same hand again.

She looked up at Samuel, who was watching with a benign amusement. “Did you do that?”

“Did I do what?” He asked, playing dumb, though she could see from his eyes he knew exactly what was going on.

Allison started to get frightened. “Maybe it's time to go home now, sweetie.”

“But Mommy, I'm having fun...now!”

Debbie burst into giggles when the tiny star leaped to the tip of her nose and danced on it like a tiny star person.

“Mommy! It's dancing on my nose now!”

Allison glanced at Samuel, who looked back at her. “She doesn't always act so imaginative.”

“Imagination is a good thing.” Samuel said. “It can be very healing.”

Allison sighed. “Nothing will change that for her now.”

Samuel nodded. “What happened?”

Allison couldn't explain it, but yet again the words seemed to pour from her mouth, as if somehow they had a life of their own. “When she was seven, we were visiting Las Vegas. We were crossing Las Vegas Boulevard to the Mirage to watch the huge show they had on there.”
Debbie interrupted them. “It's on my right knee now!”

“Yes, dear. Enjoy your little star, honey.”

“Okay, Mom!”

Debbie gave Allison a winsome smile, then laughed and clapped her hands as the star leaped to her other knee and began dancing there.
“What happened next?” Samuel urged Allison.

“A drunk driver ran the red light. There were about ten of us in the crosswalk. Two died. Debbie was in the hospital for about a month. I thought...”

She began to sob, remembering the events.

Samuel touched her lightly on her right shoulder and she felt this sense of peacefulness drift into her and about her, as if she were bathing in some kind of healing light.

“And then?”

“When Debbie was finally well enough to come home. She couldn't walk anymore. The nerves in her legs had been severed in her spine.”
“I'm sorry to hear that.” Samuel said, meaning every word of it.

“Well, time for me to catch up with a rascally Texan friend of mine. With any luck I can catch him before he eats the Denny's out of all its food.”

Allison smiled up at him as he stood to leave. “It was nice meeting you, Samuel.”

Samuel took her hand again and shook it. “Believe me, the pleasure was all mine.”

He smiled once more at Debbie, who waved at him. “Remember me when you become a ballerina, Debbie.”

He began walking away.

Allison stood up in alarm. “How did you know she wanted to be a ballerina?”

“Hey!” She hollered after Samuel. “How did you know that?”

Samuel kept on walking, then Allison heard her daughter laugh harder than she'd ever heard her, and when she turned to look, her daughter's wheelchair was empty.

“My God!” Allison screamed.

“Mommy! I can fly !” Debbie hollered.

Allison looked up and Debbie was on a swing next to the boy and swinging high into the air.

Allison began to weep until she could weep no more. “Yes, you can, darling. Yes. You can.”

But Debbie didn't hear or see her, her eyes were on the bright sun, her feet in the air and her laughter casting across the small park like the happy trills of a songbird, mixed with the laugher of the boy, who was beside her.


To see more of John Pirillo's work, click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details Visit John Pirillo's Website.

Images used for the story are Visit Pepperminting's image Autumn Park Bench on Pixabay

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