There was my jackpot, stood demurely by the rocks, panting. She looked slightly lost, so I instantly saw her vulnerability. I chuckled to myself, smoothed down the bristly hair of my wig and approached her. She turned round and looked up at me with sad blue eyes.
"Where's your mommy then, my love?" I asked her, faking a sweet voice.
"She's behind the big rocks." She pointed towards the grey clusters of rock protruding from the white sand. She had such tiny little fingers, her hand reminding me of a starfish. I searched around me, at the crowds bustling along the promenade and the young couples sprawled out by the sea. I had to act quick, her mom was lurking.
"Well, tough luck, sweetie, 'cause y'all not seeing her in no good time." I, in one swift gesture, clasped my hand over her face and forced her arms behind her back. She writhed and shrieked but all that could be heard was pathetic muffled groaning. Frank- let's just call him my sidekick- approached us from his position behind the palm tree about five metres away.
"C'mon, give me a hand." I snapped, afraid that her mother would show her face. He willingly took her other arm and together we moved her away from the promenade, towards the row of beach huts, and out into the car park. It wasn't easy to distinguish where we had parked because the car park was brimming with campers and open-roofed cars full of family's bickering or more young couples. God, why did the sun attract so many people? They just hindered us. We soon saw our white van jutting out behind the other vehicles, so we hurried over, momentarily releasing the little brat so we would look inconspicuous.
"Let me go!" She wailed.
"Shut it." Frank hushed, tugging at the red bucket that was clutched in her hand.
"That's my bucket!" She cried, close to tears. I rolled my eyes and intervened.
"Frank, shut up and get the cloth ready, and you," I glared down at the kid,
"Just do as I say or I will kill you, OK?" I said this in a lowered voice, my head close to hers. She said nothing in response so I opened the back of the van and gestured for her to get inside. A woman walked by pushing a pram and gave me a suspicious look.
"The novelty of the back of the van, eh?" I assured her. She smiled and resumed on her stroll.
I turned back to the girl.
"Now, get in." I gestured again. She gasped.
"It's real dark in there." Her eyes were fixed on the gloomy darkness inside the van.
"Yeah, well, you'll live." I hastily bundled her in. Frank had his arm dangling out of his window. I slapped it as I snatched away the cloth.
"God, make it obvious or what?" I hissed.
"Sorry." He grunted. I quickly returned to the back. Good. She was still there, curled up in the corner, shrouded in shadow.
"Come 'ere." She shuffled over.
"What's your name, sweetie?"
"Martha Purditt." She squeaked. Eurrgh, baby's voices got on my nerves. I pressed the cloth on her face. She made groaning noises of detest but in her weakness she fell asleep.
"Sleep tight, Martha." I locked her inside and climbed into the passenger seat.
"Let's hit it." Frank revved the engine and drove us out. A little way down the road I noticed a crazed woman with long black hair screaming. I opened the window slightly so I could hear her.
"My little girl, Martha! She's gone!" I chuckled and re-closed it. Well, woman, you weren't gonna see your little girl for a while.