The waif that returned

The boy stared at the rusted facade. Each beam, window pane and rusted tin sheets whispered to him of tales of the years past, of the days when they had seen the patter of little feet busily going about their work.

The boy remembered the suffocating darkness of the hearts of the man who had commanded the children and the darkness that surrounded him after twilight.

He had been rescued along with a few others but the men responsible had never been caught. He looked at the title of the school essay he was writing – “Child Labour” in bold letters.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers.  Linking up here.

Categories: Flash fiction, Fridayfictioneers

36 replies

  1. Interesting fact: Child labor laws don’t apply if you’re working for your family. Decades ago, I worked for the Child Protective Services hotline in a California county and got a call reporting children being made to wake up really early in the morning, bundle newspapers, and deliver them. It was quite a route and took a lot of time. Might have been the school calling because the kids were all quite tired during the day.

    However as long as the children are working in a family owned business, the family can make them labor, even to excess (though I imagine that’s some sort of limit).

    I once wrote a slightly related story called “The Girl from Svay Pak” about the child sex industry in Cambodia. Destitute parents will sell their virgin daughters into sex slavery but fortunately there are ministries there who are working to rescue those children and give them a safe place to stay.

    Horrible how humanity has come to devalue the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A blight on children worldwide. Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing that the world has not changed since the days of Dickens… still an issue… and I guess I have a t-shirt or two that might have been made with child-labour

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Lavanya,

    I remember waiting tables when I was 8 and filling salt and pepper shakers when I was five. Of course my parents owned the restaurant. 😉 To me it was fun. Very different than forcing children to work in factories. Well written and thought provoking.



    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s inhuman and the lost childhood would never return. Well written lav

    Liked by 1 person

  6. From climbing inside a chimney with a brush to working in sweatshops. I’d like to think those days are behind us.

    Click to read my FriFic!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Topical. June 12th is World Day against Child Labor. Unfortunately there is little progress in its control in India.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Touching story. I do believe children should be taught to work, but not to be used as if they were soulless little being who are easily replaced.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good, almost too factual, story there. child labor sucks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How very topical in todays’ fractuous times. Lovely story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You tell a story of cruel exploitation. We should all be doing what we can to end it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This reminds me of how “insolent” schoolchildren were forced to work in camps in Busan during the mid-late 1980s, right around the Olympics time. Quite a sad tale there, and quite an interesting tale here. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A story with a theme to be reckoned with. In the Uk children, malnourished and weak, were sent up chimneys as living chimney sweeps. Cor blimey, guv!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good story with a moral. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a topical story – poignantly penned and underscores the harsh reality of many children.

    Liked by 1 person

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