The Little Girl
It was a beautiful day to be walking home along a tree-lined road. Carlos hastily checked his watch; darkness was already falling, Soon, the only light will come from street lamps. Apart from Carlos, the road is empty … or so he thinks. Suddenly, he hears a strange, shrill voice coming from the darkness behind the trees.
Carlos froze. The hairs behind his neck stood up as he turned towards the source of the shrill voice. It came from behind the trees.
“Is anybody there…?” he asked into the void of the forest.
There it was again. The echo of the voice rang like a siren in his ears. The cold voice seemed to beckon him, as if it was a hypnotising spell. Carlos quickened his pace, nervously trodding through the damp grass.
He could feel his heart thumping like a bird trying to escape its cage. Taking short quick breaths, Carlos silently dashed along the road.
“Hi there, have you come to play with me?” whispered the voice, now closer. In fact, Carlos thought he had felt someone breathing down his neck...
He took a deep breath, and turned around slowly, only to face… a little girl! Heaving a sigh of relief, Carlos examined the figure. She wore a red bow on her head, and seemed to be snuggling under her cyan jacket while staring up at him. He was baffled; what was a little girl doing alone on the road at dusk?
“Hello there, where are your parents?” questioned Carlos, ” And how did you get here?”
The little girl frowned. “Answer my question first!” she grumbled.
Carlos sighed. He promised the girl he would play with her after she told him where her parents were. ‘Such inconsiderate parents’, he thought, ‘leaving their kid wandering around the streets at night’. The girl introduced herself as Mia. She explained that she went for a picnic with her parents, and got lost when she went to play in the woods. Carlos felt a pang of sympathy for the girl and decided to walk her home. Maybe his mother would know what to do.
Mia and Carlos strolled along the dark road, with only the street lamps and stars to lead them. The cheerful chatter could be heard between the two, as Carlos chatted and told jokes to brighten the little girl’s spirits. Mia looked into his eyes while giggling softly. However, he noticed that the sparkle in her eyes looked so faded and lost despite her young age. It was almost as if the flaming spirit inside of her had been extinguished.
“Look, we’re here!” exclaimed Carlos, shrugging off his thoughts.
They had just arrived at his house, and his mother was walking to and fro at the entrance, clearly anxious. Mia smiled and thanked him for all his help, as he ushered her into the house.
“Carlos, there you are! I was worried sick, what took you so long?” scolded his mother, running to embrace him in a tight hug.
“I’m sorry mom,” apologised Carlos, “ I was walking home when I found this lost girl. Her name is Mia, and I was wondering if you could call the police station to help find her parents.” he explained, nudging Mia to greet his mother.
“Hello ma’am,” mumbled Mia, staying behind Carlos.
Carlos’ mother looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “Carlos, that’s funny, but you don’t need to make up a silly excuse for being late.”
Carlos was baffled, “What do you mean, mother? I found her alone in the woods, I couldn’t just leave her there” Carlos.
Now his mother was clearly irritated, “Carlos, don’t test me. Do you take me for a fool?”
Carlos was puzzled. He turned to Mia and pushed her forward. He told his mother to let Mia explain what happened, but instead his mother backed away. Mia giggled, much to his surprise.
“Play with me,”she abruptlu said cheerily.
“Stop it, Carlos,” his mother warned, “I know this is another one of your pranks, and you can stop now,” she stammered.
“She said she was lost mom, you of all people know I wouldn’t randomly bring strangers into the house!” argued Carlos, insulted that his mother would think he did such a thing.
“Play with me,” hissed Mia, now with a hint of anger.
His mother’s face turned pale. She whisked out her phone and snapped a picture of Carlos and Mia. Baffled, Carlos opened his mouth to ask a question, when his mother showed the photo to him. Carlos felt his blood run cold. He was unable to believe his eyes, and even rubbed them before glancing again at the picture.
“PLAY WITH ME!!!” shrieked Mia.
The picture showed a furious Carlos, but Mia did not show up in the photo. Speechless, he turned around and pointed while saying, “But she’s right over-”
There was no one there.
Suddenly, Carlos heard the same shrill voice in his ear, and shuddered as it coldly whispered, “You didn’t keep your promise…”