By Noelle Alexandria, with Lisa Barfield
In 1933, Grace Anne Colby never could have imagined that moving to the big city of New York from her family farm to pursue a career in journalism would land her in the middle of two rival mafia families, but when one boss ends up trafficking children, she can’t just do nothing, especially when she learns that she’d nearly been one of them.
No one expects to go into the glamour and glitz of New York City to die. Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes fate is merely delayed.
The petite curly-pigtailed sprite had no fear upon her only trip there. Indeed, it had been the most fun of her life! Seeing a moving picture show! Buildings that touch the sky! Eating her supper in a real restaurant with real menus! She didn’t know what any of the descriptions meant though. Basil? Parmesan? Her mama tried to explain, and settled on simple spaghetti for her newly-minted five-year-old. Her papa hardly paid any mind. He kept a nervous eye on everything else. The little one thought maybe he was just nervous about so many people when they didn’t see many people at all back home on the farm.
But she couldn’t be bothered to worry or be afraid not even when a man in the restaurant pulled out a pistol and in an action faster than anyone could react, two people across the way lay dead, or even when the air filled with screams or when a scrawny teen boy tried to tackle the assailant. It was like something from her first picture show, only this action had sounds and colors. She hadn’t seen such a tiny little gun before. It wasn’t like her papa’s big one he used to kill the cows and pigs before slaughter. Maybe it needed to be littler because people were littler than cows.
Long before she was finished with the excitement, another man yanked her up from the table. Holding her tight, he ran toward the door. Her papa, unfrozen from his shock, chased after the man. Her mama screamed her name and followed them. Over the big man’s shoulder, she watched with wide eyes, waiting for her rescue. Her papa caught up quickly and threw himself at the man.
The little girl landed hard on the ground, but her new wool coat that she had stubbornly refused to take off for dinner cushioned her fall. The man’s hat fell from his head and landed beside her. She snatched the souvenir and crushed it into the top of her coat moments before her sobbing mama caught up with her and held her to her chest. The man pushed her father away and stared at the child for just a split second before he bolted back into the crowd. Her papa scrambled to his wife and daughter.
“That was fun!” The ignorant child beamed. “But why is mama crying?”
Her papa patted her head with a shaking hand and a furious glance over his shoulder. “I never should have brought you here, my daughter. This is no place for you. Let us go home, and never may you return to this terrible place.”
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Content warning for Shattered Glass I and II: This story does contain sensitive material including dubious consent, mafia violence, and themes of abuse, though the game itself goes farther than I could make myself write. However, it is not gratuitous, and anything involving children is never described or shown, and it is not there just for shock value. It’s deeply relevant to the story. Everything I write into a story is very deliberate and serves a purpose to the overall narrative. If it doesn’t, I nix it.