The scream that rent the air was as good as a siren. That unmistakable sound of pure terror had every head turn in its direction.
The screaming went on and on. It didn’t even sound like she was pausing long enough to breathe. Surely she’d have to either stop or pass out soon.
She must have been at least five, beet red in the face, streaming tears, flat on the floor clinging on to some guy’s, probably her Dad‘s, leg. With another kid I might have passed it off as a temper tantrum, but the befuddled expression of the man convinced me that it was not so.
Maternal instincts kicking in, I rushed over.
‘I’ll be good daddy, I swear I will,’ she was bawling now.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked the father.
‘Honestly? I don’t know. All I said was that we’ll go see the bagpiper.’
‘Not him daddy. He’ll make me follow him to the sea. Please daddy please,’ she added in great gasps.
Suddenly her terror made sense. ‘O no darling. He’s not the pied piper. No one’s taking you away.’
In response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge based on a photo by C. E. Ayr.