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Out walking, carrying out my daily chores, and running my daily errands, my life was completely normal. Unfortunately, it started raining as I walked back down the slippery sidewalk to my second floor, three-star apartment (hey, at least it looked four-star on the inside with my superior decorating abilities!). Walking home past an old building that has been there, oh, I don't know how many years, it was now looking a bit 'under the weather' as buildings go; I thought I had spotted a little girl. I know it was raining, but there was enough light peeking through the thick clouds to perceive a small girl from a bush or a tree. I glanced back, but she was no longer there.
The next day, off I went walking once again. Like every day of my week, doing the same errands and going the same places, seeing the same faces of fairly cheerful (even though most of it was probably fake) people. I decided to treat myself that day. I always walked past the old town theater without so much as nodding in the direction of it, but today, today I will see the premiere playing! Never heard of the movie playing, something about some girl, and some guy, and they do something or something like that. I just wanted to add a little something different to my life that day. And oh! What a 'different' it was.
As I stood in line for a ticket, it began to sprinkle. Of course, being a healthy old woman with a healthy heart and a healthy mind, I always thought ahead. I pulled an umbrella out of my bag I always carried what seemed like everything in. I never get disturbed by anyone while going about my daily business, so I was surprised when I felt a tug on my long dress skirt. When I looked down, I looked into the face of a small girl wearing a white dress with pale skin and light blue eyes. The only thing that really shocked words out of me was her hair. Pure white hair. A bit unnatural for a child her age. Even more unnatural was the fact that it laid perfectly flat. A young child usually sports a bit of messy hair, do they not?
"Hello ma'am. Can I watch a movie with you?" the child spoke with a very soft voice. She looked and sounded around nine or ten.
"Sweetie, where are your parents?"
"Can I watch a movie with you?" she asked again. I searched the line for her parents. The building doorways. The sidewalks. Nobody.
"Sure sweetie." And I bought that child a ticket and I walked in the theater and went to where two seats were vacant and I sat that child down beside me. She turned to me throughout the movie and asked me questions about what was happening. She did this quite often. Which actually started to annoy me. Never being a mother, I was not used to anyone constantly shooting obvious questions at me. I finally just hushed her. She just seemed ruffled after I shushed at her, but she sat perfectly quiet and still for the rest of the premiere.
After the premiere, I stood up and turned to walk out of my row. I felt a small girl's fingers wrap around my hand, and we walked out together. Outside the theater, I kneeled beside her, "I have to go home now."
"Can I come home with you?" she said softly.
"Sweetie, I can't take you home. You have to go back home." I replied after waiting a few seconds. The girl just stared back at me with her blue eyes. They were eerie in a way. The girl made me uncomfortable, and I wanted to leave. Now.
She leaned forward until her head was over my shoulder and her mouth was beside my ear. She whispered, "My name is Miranda." She moved back into her original position and had an unfamiliar brightness to her eyes. "Can I come home with you?" she said after a pause.
"Sweetie, I really can't take you home. I have to go now. Go back home Miranda." With that, I stood up and left. I can't take a child to my home. What if the parents looked for her and I got arressted for kidnapping? The girl was making my skin crawl. I didn't care if she went home or slept on the sidewalk that night, I wanted away from her. Leaving, I felt her blue eyes burning holes in my back. I popped my umbrella back up and stepped from under the overhanging top of the theater and into the pouring rain.
The next day, it was still raining when I heard a knock on my door. It was 10 P.M. and I wanted to finish watching my horror movie marathon! I stood up angrily in my robe as a cover-up, and checked through my peep hole. Miranda, standing there, in her white dress with her white hair (which looked a bit disorganized compared to the perfect lay of it the day before). She was soaked. I didn't want to let this child into my house. She could be a thief for all I know! But of course, with the caring heart I had, I opened the door and asked, "Oh Miranda, what are you doing out so late? Where are your parents?" I didn't see a car. She had to have walked here.
"Can I come in? I am so cold, and you have a pretty house."
How did she know where I lived anyway? She didn't follow me here yesterday did she? "Miranda come in, I'll get you a towel. How did you know where I lived?"
"I just know. Where's my towel?"
That last question was a bit abrupt. Everyone can be though sometimes, right? So I handed her a towel out of my closet and allowed her to sit on the rocking chair which was located next to my couch, but facing towards the table in front of my couch. Easiest angle to watch T.V. at.
"I don't like this channel. Can we change it?" she said. Miranda didn't sound so sweet anymore, but her hair had went back to its original, abnormally perfect state.
"I want to finish watching this marathon..."
"Change the channel." Miranda demanded. I turned my head toward her and then, handed her the remote. We sat there in silence for a few minutes as she browsed the channels. I stared at her sitting snug in my chair, covered with a fluffy towel with her perfect white dress, perfect white skin, and perfect white hair. "Can I have some cookies?"
"Why not?!" she yelled, throwing down my remote, and stepping on it, smashing it to pieces.
"Hey!" I stood up and yelled back, "This is MY house. It is almost midnight. You need to GO BACK HOME." I pointed towards the door.
Miranda picked up a glass cup I was drinking water from and threw it on the ground, causing the pieces to fly in all directions. "I better have my cookies when I come back!" she screamed. Her hair was a mess and her dress was disorderly, one strap hanging off her shoulder and her skirt un-pressed. She stomped out and slammed the door behind her.
I sat back down. I did not get any sleep that night; I was to shaken from the whole creepy experience. The whole time she was in my presence, the air seemed colder.
A few days, maybe weeks passed, and I settled back into my memorized schedule. When a small knock on my door at 11 P.M. broke the silence that I was reading to. I knew who it was.
I jerked open the door to look upon a little girl. She looked not as expected however. Her clothes were bunched and obviously not taken care of, same was her hair, and she was dirty. Her pale skin was flecked with dirt and her eyes seemed a darker, more dull blue.
"I don't smell my cookies."
"I am not baking you cookies Miranda."
"How about a cake, or perhaps a pie even then?"
"I am not doing any more for you. You are not mine to take care of. Go away." I closed the door, but when I turned around, a girl was perched atop my side table armed with two glasses in her hands.
"Oops," she said with a little smile as she dropped the two glasses onto the hardwood floor.
"Stop it! What are you doing?!"
She reached down to grab another. Her feet were surrounded by my small belongings, sitting on the table where she stood. She threw a bowl, a hairbrush, and a vase towards my feet.
"Miranda!!!!! GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HOUSE YOU EVIL LITTLE GIRL!"
She hopped of the side table and marched towards the television set, kicking over glasses lined along her path on the floor. There was a baseball bat which belonged to my sister's son laying on top of my VCR. Last time I had checked, it was still in my attic, where it was put in a box full of sports equipment because her little boy quit playing baseball and she had no storage room. The bat was swung down with a freakish animosity no small child should ever have. My television was now smashed and when Miranda turned toward me, I turned and ran out my still open door. I ran through the rain and down a flight of stairs to my neighbor's door and banged my fist against it.
"Ms. Reichhert?" said the woman who opened the door, "My goodness, you look awful." She brought me inside.
"Please, you have to help me. There is a little girl in my apartment upstairs and she will not go away. I am afraid. Please help." I said, dabbing my teary eyes with the handtowel she had given me. I never really took the time to learn any of my neighbors' names, even though most of them knew me (being the resident who lived in this complex the longest), and it seemed odd to ask them for help.
"Rob!" the woman called, "This old woman needs help. Can you go look in her apartment for her and make sure it is safe?" She consoled me while her husband walked out the door in shorts and rubbing his eyes.
He came back a short while later, after I explained to the woman about Miranda. "It looked fine," he yawned.
"What about the bat? And the smashed glass and remote? What about my T.V. and VCR? What about that little girl?" I stammered.
"No little girl. Your apartment looked fine. Let's take you to bed Ms. Reichert..." he put his arms around me and helped me up the stairs even though it was still pouring rain. I walked through my doorway and stared at my apartment. He was right, nothing was wrong. What happened?
"Goodnight," Rob said as he closed the door behind me.
I guess nothing happened after all. My apartment looked as it did that morning, clean, neat, and orderly. I walked over to my couch and plopped down. My head had dropped towards the ground. Had I dreamed all that? It was silent. Then...