Thomas scraped his foot against the ground in an effort to push the swing. He only rose a few inches from the ground before stopping. He sighed. "Mommy! Can you push me?"
Thomas' mother looked up from where she was talking with other moms and waved a hand. "Thomas, I am talking right now."
Thomas rolled his eyes and hopped off the swing. He was unaware, however; that his shoe was unlaced. His left foot tripped on the lace and he fell to the ground, scraping his hands and knees on the wood chips below. "Ouch, Mommy. I felled."
"Thomas, I already said I was talking. Go play and let Mommy be." Walking over to him, she pulled him up and wiped the wood chips free from his clothing.
"I want to swing," Thomas said, his bottom lip beginning to quiver.
"And I want to return to the day before I had a child," she said under her breath.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing, Thomas. I said go play on the slide."
Sighing, Thomas walked around the playground to the steps leading to the slide. Before he could make it, a man approached. He had a smile on his face, but not the friendly kind.
"Hello, little boy," he said, kneeling to Thomas' level. "What's your name?"
"I'm Thomas. I'm three." He held out what he assumed were three fingers.
"That's a great name. My name is Steven."
Thomas nodded and started to walk up the stairs. "Wait, Thomas. Do you want some candy?"
Thomas shook his head. "My mommy says I'm awergic to candy. She says if I eat candy, I will turn into stone."
Steven made a face at that statement. "Turn into stone?"
Thomas nodded solemnly. "Yep." Cupping a chubby hand around his mouth, he leaned close to the man's ear. "But one time, I ated some candy and I didn't turn to stone. I fink she said that because she didn't want me to have a sugar rush."
The man chuckled and ruffled Thomas' hair. "Do you want to see a puppy?"
Thomas tapped a finger on his chin. "What kind of puppy?"
"A golden retriever puppy."
Thomas frowned. "I only wike huskies."
"I have a husky too."
"A black one or a gray one?"
"Um, gray I think."
"Steven, I only wike black ones."
The man's smile faltered a little. "You are a picky little child."
Thomas nodded, not realizing it was not a compliment. "My mommy says I'm picky too. That is why I only eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese."
Steven's face brightened as if he'd had a good idea. "I have chicken nuggets and mac and cheese in my car. Do you want some?"
Thomas thought for a moment, before shaking his head. "No, I'm not hungry right now."
"Okay, how about we go for a walk then?"
"Mommy said I have to go on the slide. You can slide with me if you want."
"Sure, I will go on the slide with you and then we can go to my car. Okay?"
Thomas shrugged his small shoulders. "Otay."
Together, they walked up the stairs to the slide. With Thomas in front and Steven in the back, they slid down and landed in the wood chips.
"Ouch," Thomas said, rubbing his butt. "Let's do it again."
Steven shook his head and grabbed Thomas' arm. "No, we are going to my car now."
Thomas dragged his feet. "I don't want to. I telling Mommy. Mommy!"
"Shut up, you little brat," Steven hissed, covering Thomas' mouth with his hand. Steven scooped up the boy and ran to his car. He placed Thomas in the trunk and slammed it shut. He jumped into the driver's seat and started the car.
"Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, How I Wonder What You Are?" As Thomas sat in the darkness of the trunk, he sang softly to himself.
But Steven was having none of it. "Shut up, kid." But instead of getting quieter or stopping completely, the boy sang louder.
"TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR, HOW I WONDER WHAT YOU ARE!"
Steven's face turned red with anger and he pulled over to the side of the road. This stupid little boy. He should have found another child after Thomas refused the candy and the puppy. Steven got out of the car and opened the trunk. "If you don't shut up, I will make you shut up."
"My mommy says that sometimes and then she walked away, saying she has a headache."
Steven rubbed his head, feeling that very headache forming in his skull. This kid was going to be the death of him. "If you're a good boy, I will get Mcdonald's for you."
Thomas' face scrunched. "My mommy says I can't eat 'donald's cause I don't have 'donald's money. Do you have 'donald's money? I have five dollars. One time, my grammy gave me twenty dollars, but my mommy took it. She says she was saving it for me, but I fink she used it for her adult juice. Do you drink adult juice? I am only a kid, so I drink kid juice. When I get older, I don't fink I'll drink adult juice, 'cause it makes Mommy act funny."
Steven was starting to regret this whole thing. Maybe he should just kill the kid. Nah, he shook his head. He was a kidnapper, not a murderer. "Just be quiet and I will take you back to your mommy?"
Thomas shrugged. "Do you wike me, Steven? Cause my mommy—"
Steven slammed the trunk. If he had to hear the words "my mommy says" one more time, he was going to drop the kid off on the street and leave him there. Turning the car around, he drove back to the car. He parked and walked around to the trunk. Making sure no one was about, he opened the trunk. "Come on, kid."
Thomas stepped out of the car, but instead of running back to the park, he just stood there.
"What are you waiting for?"
Thomas looked up at Steven with tear-filled eyes. "M-my mommy says I can't cross the street by myself. She says I'll get hit by a car."
"Fine," Steven said, grabbing the boy's hand and pulling him across the street. "There, now go back to your mom."
Thomas waved as he ran back to the playground. "Mommy! Guess what. I just got kidnapped."
"Thomas, I am talking to the other moms. Go play."
Steven watched the kid go and was almost sad to see him leave. Almost.
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Thora, I enjoyed reading this. I like how you've created the whole story mostly through dialogue and through that, developed the characters with their different ways of speaking. You got the disinterested, frustrated mom, too busy with her own life to notice Thomas having been taken away and Thomas too, at three, perhaps a bit precocious and articulate, but believable for the most part. Stephen didn't work quite as well for me in terms of believable but mostly I guess because I didn't really get a sense of what he was going to gain. Not sure...