The little girl had been carrying the dagger for what seemed like forever. She didn’t know where she was going, really; she was just going where it seemed she ought to go. Where the dagger seemed to be telling her to go.
She had been listening to the dagger since the moment she had come near it. Even though it didn’t speak in words, she could tell what it wanted her to do, what it needed her to do. It had asked her to do things she couldn’t even think about now … it would make her feel bad. She felt bad anyway, about her father. She hadn’t meant to kill him.
But the dagger had said it was necessary, and it had made so much sense at the time.
She made her way to the train station, wondering how she was going to get on the train when she didn’t have any money. But the dagger’s whisper told her everything would be okay, and that she should go here to this place. Some of the grownups looked at her strangely, no doubt at the blood sprayed all over her clothes, but no one stopped her or asked her if she was alone or needed help. She walked past everyone, and came to stand near the ticket window.
I don’t have any money, she thought, but the dagger told her it would be okay.
A man appeared beside her. “Are you here by yourself?” he asked. She looked up at him. He was smiling, but his smile didn’t seem like a real smile. He looked like a businessman, in a suit and tie, and he carried a briefcase. He was friendly, but he was confused too, as though he were thinking about something that made no sense to him at all.
She had felt that way since she picked up the dagger.
The man glanced at the satchel on her shoulder. “What have you got there?” he asked. “It’s a little too big for you, isn’t it?”
The little girl shrugged, and clutched the satchel closer to her. “I’m fine,” she said. But inside she could hear what the businessman was probably hearing – the dagger wanted the man to take the satchel.
Her heart started beating faster. She thought about her father, and about the lady she had taken the dagger from – they were both dead now. “I don’t want to die,” she whimpered, so quietly that the businessman didn’t hear her.
He reached out and grabbed at the satchel. The little girl grabbed it back, reflexively trying to keep the dagger with her – it called to her, after all, all the time. But her desire to be alive outweighed the dagger’s voice.
She let the businessman take the satchel.
He seemed surprised at how easy it had been to do what the dagger wanted. He stared for a moment at the satchel that dangled from his hand. “I,” he said, his brow furrowed in puzzlement. “I guess I’ll go to Lansing,” he said, turning toward the ticket window.
The little girl didn’t know where Lansing was, but she had heard the dagger whisper it. “Okay,” she said. She watched the man approach the ticket window and ask for a ticket to Lansing.
Her heart still wanted the dagger, but part of her was so happy to let it go that she almost cried. “It’s the Calahuolca,” she said to him, and walked out of the train station into the sunshine.