Ten Little GirlsWillow Rose
TEN LITTLE GIRLS
A Rebekka Franck Novel
BUOY MEDIA LLC
Important message from the Author to Kindle Unlimited readers
About the Author
Books by the Author
Girl Divided, excerpt
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Copyright Willow Rose 2018
Published by BUOY MEDIA LLC
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Juan Villar Padron,
Special thanks to my editor Janell Parque
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Important message from the Author to Kindle Unlimited readers
Before you begin…Are you reading this book in Page Flip mode? If you do, I won't be paid. The way things are right now in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon pays the author per pages read, so every time you flip a page, I will get a small amount of money. But not if the Page Flip mode is turned on.
So could I ask you to please turn it off, or just don’t use it while reading my books? Then I can continue to write the books that you love so much.
Thank you for your support.
"One little, two little, three little children…"
The man watching the children play at the school's playground was drumming his fingers on his thighs while singing the song in a low voice.
"Four little, five little, six little children…"
It was a gorgeous day out. The sun was shining above him and making him sweat. It was very hot, but that wasn't unusual for this time of year in Florida. The man liked the heat. He always had. He enjoyed the feeling of sweat prickling on his skin. He enjoyed his shirt being soaked and the feeling of almost unbearably moist air inside his lungs.
It made him feel at home.
The children on the playground were laughing. A group of five kids was playing hide and go seek, and the man smiled widely. He had been watching them for months now from between the trees, observing their every move, until he knew everything there was to know about them, everything he needed to know, and his absolute favorite part was when they played that.
From where he was standing, he could see where everyone was hiding. He giggled when the girl who was it came close to a boy hiding beneath the slides, but she couldn't see him, so she turned and walked away. She found another boy hiding behind a bush not far from where the man was standing. The man giggled as the girl yelled Found You, and the boy started to run. The girl set off after him, but unfortunately, she tripped. The boy didn't notice and kept running. Meanwhile, the girl had scraped her knee and started to cry, sitting on the ground holding her leg. The teacher didn't see it. She was standing in the shade, talking to her colleague from the other class.
The girl was crying helplessly now as she spotted blood coming from her scrape. Still, the teacher saw nothing. It annoyed the man, and he had to bite down hard on his lip, so he wouldn’t yell and reveal himself. He clenched his fists so hard his nails dug into the palms of his hands and left marks.
Finally, the boy she had been chasing noticed what had happened to her. He walked up to the teacher and told her about the girl who was crying. The teacher walked to the girl and looked at her scrape, then helped her get up. She said something to the other teacher, then got ahold of another student who helped the girl who was hurt get to the clinic.
The man relaxed again.
The kids continued playing till recess was over and the teacher told them to line up. A few minutes later, they all walked in a long line back to class before the next class arrived and filled the playground with joy as they played. It was the same every day, and the man couldn't stop watching it. It was too bad he soon had to. Soon, there would be no more children on the playground. There would be no more laughter. Yet there would still be playing.
An entirely new game of hide and go seek was about to begin.
Jane and Bob were young when they got married. They knew they were, but it didn't matter, they thought. They loved each other and had since they met in high school. For Jane, Bob was her first and only boyfriend, and she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her lif
e with him. There was no doubt in her mind; he was the one for her.
So, at the age of only nineteen, they got hitched, as their friends called it. They tied the knot, took the plunge, bought the cow.
It wasn't a big wedding, but it was just the way they wanted it to be. A small ceremony on the beach, with their toes dug deep in the white Florida sand and the wind so strong in Jane's hair that she had to hold onto her veil, so it wouldn't fly away.
For their honeymoon, they went to Disney World and stayed two nights at the Disney Resort. It was a wedding present from Bob's mother, who couldn't afford much but had saved up to be able to give it to them.
Jane had never been happier in her life. Even though she grew up in Central Florida, she had never been to Disney World. Since her mom was a single mother to her and her brother, she could never afford to take her there or anywhere else that cost money, despite working two jobs.
Once the honeymoon was over, they moved to Cocoa Beach. Bob had gotten a job at a roofing company, and the two of them moved into a one-bedroom condo only steps from the beach. Meanwhile, Jane got a job at Ron Jon's, the world's largest surf shop, in the swimsuit department.
Everything was coming together for the young couple quickly. Bob adored her and worshipped the ground that Jane walked on. He surprised her by coming to her work and taking her out for lunch; he showered her with presents, flowers, and sometimes even chocolate. He would have the flowers sent to her job to brighten up her day. She loved that he did that, even though her co-worker one day said she thought he only did it to, "Piss on his territory and make sure everyone knew she was taken."
Jane understood that her co-worker obviously was just jealous because she and Bob had such a great marriage. Why else would she say such a silly thing?
"Bob is just kind and very generous," Jane replied and held the flowers in her hands.
"Tell me, when is the last time you did anything with anyone else but him?" the co-worker then asked.
"What do you mean?" Jane asked.
"When was the last time you went out with friends?"
"I…I don't really have many friends."
The co-worker gave her a look that made Jane feel very uncomfortable. She had a lump in her throat and hurried into the back, still holding the flowers. She found a vase for them and smelled them, annoyed at her co-worker for saying such a stupid thing and ruining the gift for her. It was true what they said: jealousy really was such an ugly green monster. Jane then decided to be careful not to let people like her co-worker get between her and her happiness. She couldn't let this get to her the way it had.
Yet later in the day, when another co-worker, Tim, asked if she would go out for lunch with him and a couple of others, Jane said yes, even though she usually would have said no.
For eight-year-old Alicia Porter, going to school had stopped being fun the day that her best friend Alondra had ditched her for Tonya Reynolds. Up until then, Alondra and Alicia had been inseparable. Ever since Kindergarten. They would always hang together at recess and play their wolf-game, where they pretended to be half-wolves in a pack. They would sit next to one another on the bus on the way home and even often play after school since they lived so close together.
But two weeks ago, Tonya had stolen Alondra from Alicia since her best friend, Samantha, had ditched her for Mercedes, the new girl in their class. Alicia used to love school, but since that happened, she always felt so alone on the playground and even in the classroom since she no longer had a best friend to hang out with.
Today was no different. At lunch, she had walked up to Alondra and asked if she could sit with her, but Alondra had just looked at her, then turned around and talked to Tonya instead. Alicia had sat down anyway, but all during lunch break, Alondra had kept her back turned to her, so she couldn't even see her face. Then she and Tonya took a selfie with Alondra's new phone. Alondra was the first one in their class to get one. Alicia had tried to be a part of it, poking her head up between them, but they had just turned away and taken the picture without her.
That almost made Alicia cry, but she held it back. She didn't want her classmates to see her sad, so she put on a brave face and pretended like she didn't care. But the fact was, she was all alone. Everyone else had someone…a best friend they could hang out with. For a few seconds, she thought about telling the teachers that Alondra had her phone out during school hours, but Alicia knew nothing good would come from it. They would only end up hating her and avoiding her even more.
Alicia bit her lip, hard, in order not to cry and that was how she made it through the rest of the day. In the afternoon, when the bell rang, and they were told to go to the bus, Alicia grabbed her backpack and hurried out to the line as fast as she was allowed to—without running in the hallway and getting herself in trouble. She stood in the line outside by the bus, waiting for it to open, when Alondra and Tonya came up behind her, laughing about something.
Alicia closed her eyes and wished herself far away. If only she could change schools or even get homeschooled. Anything was better than having to look at those two every day. Anything was better than being alone all the time.
Can't wait for summer break.
Alicia had tried to talk to her mother about her problems, but she didn't seem to understand it much and would always say something lame like: "This too shall pass." Or, "I went through the same when I was your age. You'll find someone else, another best friend. A year from now, what will it matter?"
To Alicia, it mattered a great deal; in fact, so much that she tried hard to come up with an excuse every morning not to have to go to school. But her mother never believed her when she said she was sick. Not as long as she didn’t have a fever.
Can't I just get a fever? Can't I just get sick for real? Please, God? Make me sick for a very long time.
When Alicia felt a tap on her shoulder, and she was told she was going on a different bus today, she felt such relief. At least she wouldn't have to listen to them as they giggled and had a great time. At least she could relax on the way home.
Little did she know, she wasn't going home.
"The bus is late. Again."
Sue Porter, who was standing next to me, sighed and looked at her watch.
"Can you believe it? I don't have time for this," she said addressed to the third mother, Nancy, standing with us on the sidewalk.
I had William with me, and he was getting tired of standing and wanted me to pick him up, so I did. It was really hot out, and a thunderstorm was approaching in the distance. It was the same every afternoon when waiting for Julie and Tobias to come home from school.
We had been in Florida for five months now, and I was beginning to really enjoy it. I loved the heat, even though it was a getting to be a little much as summer approached. I still preferred it to the cold at home. Things were just easier when it was warm. The kids needed fewer clothes, and we spent many hours outside, a lot more than back home. The kids usually jumped in the pool right after school and stayed there for hours. They were hardly on their computers or iPads anymore, not until late in the evening or some days not at all. We had rented a house on the beach in Cocoa Beach for an entire year. It was expensive but completely worth it. I loved everything about it. Especially the pool and the beach right in the backyard. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I was trying hard to get my freelance career up and running and, so far, I had gotten lots of jobs. Mostly from Danish newspapers who wanted me to write stories about Disney World and travel tips for Danes wanting to go abroad for the summer. It was easy to write these articles, and they required very little work on my part. A magazine had even given me a column where I was to write about what it was like to rip an entire year out of the calendar and live somewhere else. The articles paid well, and it was just enough to keep us afloat since my boyfriend Sune still couldn't work. He was the reason we had come to Florida in the first p
lace. So he finally could get the help he needed. He was making great progress. Working with Dr. Herman at his clinic on Merritt Island had made him capable of getting out of the wheelchair completely, and he was walking now, only needing a walker every now and then, especially on longer strolls. He would be able to walk normally and even run again within the next six months, Dr. Herman had promised us.