© By Julie Gray
Milly played by Eliza Scanlen
The Angel played by Boyd Holbrook
AUTHOR’S NOTE – This is part two of one of my untitled short stories. You may view part one here.
SHORT STORY TRIGGER WARNING – This short story contains elements of assault, sexual assault, violence and death.
Milly thought long and hard about the previous day up on the hill by Old Miller’s farm. And in particular, about the angel who said he wasn’t an angel, but Milly knew that he was even if he said he wasn’t.
When the school kids came looking for Milly, she’d sure have a story to tell them this time. And Milly wouldn’t care if they believed her or not because she knew it to be true and that’s all that mattered.
Milly had met the angel in the bathtub just like she told them she would and he had spoken to her and he was kind and beautiful and he washed all that stardust off his wings just like she imagined.
Life was grand right now. Even with holes in all her clothes, holes in her shoes, dirt in unspeakable places, and bruises all over her body. Milly felt good. She felt warm, and she didn’t feel tired, or hurt, or afraid, or even hungry right now.
Milly felt like she could do just about anything and all the mean, worthless school children in the entire world couldn’t get her down.
But it was getting dark, and Milly still needed somewhere to sleep. Sometimes she could get away with bunking down near some town drunks after a night at the hotel. Some of them weren’t too bad and offered Milly food now and then. But other times Milly didn’t get food or anything good. Other times Milly would get beaten, or worse.
Milly might beat the older ones around with her stick if they got rowdy, but the younger, stronger ones always overpowered her. Most of the time, it was just easier to let them have their way with her. Milly used to fight back when it first happened, and maybe the second and third times, too. But after that, it just hurt too much to keep fighting them off, especially when there was more than one. That was always much worse.
Milly tried not to think of that now. She found a spot she thought was good enough to bunk down in and gathered her tattered coat around herself and huddled down in the corner.
She wasn’t sure how long she had been sleeping for or how much time had passed before she felt someone kicking her in the side hard and waking her up.
“She’s probably got diseases,” one man mumbled
Milly rubbed her eyes, the pain in her side almost numbing her leg entirely.
“No worse than those whores at the hotel, and we can’t afford any of them,” another snorted
Milly couldn’t see much of anything in the darkness
But she could feel them, their rough hands pulling and grabbing at her body. The other sleeping drunkards that had gathered nearby were too drunk to know what was going on and wouldn’t bother helping even if they did.
“Well, we can’t do anything here, pull her into that alley over there and be damn quick about it before someone sees” another said
Milly felt one of them grab her ankles and drag her. She kicked out savagely, contacting one of them. He cried out like a baby.
The men yelled at each other in panic. All this noise and fuss was not what these men needed or wanted, but that’s exactly what Milly decided she would give them.
Milly started yelling at the top of her lungs, shouting out crazy talk as loudly as she could. She yelled so hard; she thought her chest would burst open!
Nobody else in the town heard Milly yelling her lungs out that night in the dark, but that didn’t matter because an angel did.
Milly heard the very distinct sound of someone pulling back on the trigger of their pistol
“You best be unhanding that girl before I cut your pecker into little pieces and feed’ em’ to my dog …”
The dog growled somewhere nearby.
One of the other men moved to pull out his weapon.
“Uh-uh … wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the angel said, pointing his other pistol at the opposite man below his belt
Milly was still lying on the ground. The world sure looked big from all the way down here, even in the dark. The dog that was sniffing around nearby looked like a giant. She could barely see it in the dim light, but she could feel the dog’s warmth near her body and then she could feel the dog’s rough tongue on her face, licking her. Milly wasn’t sure if she liked it much.
Milly felt her ankles being dropped to the ground. Moments later, she heard footsteps of the men running. She let the dog continue to lick her and she didn’t quite know why. The aching in her side from the man’s kick and the pain in her back from being dragged along the ground pushed to the surface.
Milly hurt all over again.
The angel helped Milly up.
“Good god, you smell bad,” he said
“Sorry,” Milly mumbled
Milly looked down and realised that she didn’t have her stick. She felt pain rising in her chest and that awful hollow feeling in the pit of her gut.
She started looking around for it everywhere.
“What is it?” the man asked
“My stick… it’s gone!” Milly cried, getting down on her knees in the dirt again
“Pssh, you don’t need no stupid stick! What you need is food and a god damn bath!”
Milly pulled her arm free from the man.
“I need my stick… it’s my stick, my special stick, it protects me from bad things… and it…”
The man pulled Milly up from the ground and shook her hard. He looked Milly straight in the eyes and Milly looked at him.
The darkness mostly obscured his face and Milly tried not to stare, but it was hard not to stare at an angel.
“I just saved your hide from those three men and they were gonna hurt you. No stick was gonna save you from them. Only thing that saves you from men like that is a knife or a gun… not some stupid stick. So get that outta your fool head right now!” he said.
Tears slowly formed in Milly’s eyes and as much as she wanted to cry, she didn’t. The dog was wagging its tail around her legs now, and she decided that she liked the way the dog felt when it was near her after all.
Milly followed the man that she called the angel pretty much everywhere he went for the next couple of days. They didn’t really speak about that night afterwards, and Milly was alright with that.
And soon enough, Milly forgot all about her trusty stick.
-END OF PART II-
You may read part three of this short story here.