Her brown hair inked black by the night whipped violently over her hunched shoulders from the wind. Her hands were cupped around her lips, a shiny glitter backpack forgotten by her feet. I adjusted my duffel bag, pulling it behind me.
I’ve seen that bag in school.
The lamp above her flickered and her head swiveled left and right. I tucked myself behind branches of a brown, crusty bush. I peeked over and a branch dug into my ribs.
I was walking home from tennis practice when I saw this girl sitting on the curb by herself. I was going to approach her, but then- uh oh, here she goes again.
“No, no, not yet! The time is not right,” she gurgled in a deep voice. I couldn’t see her lips moving because of her hands, but each time her body shuddered. It was as if she was speaking to the wind. The girl giggled, throwing her head back.
I need to go home, mom will be pissed if I miss dinner.
“Hey, uh, are you okay?” I asked. I crept out from behind the bush, as her body slowly turned around. A smile plastered on her face greeted me and she nodded.
“Good, I just saw you, um-”
“Saw me what?” Her voice was much higher and normal than before.
Am I hearing things?
I shook my head, crossing the street. “Nothing, sorry to bother you.” My shoes scraped against the asphalt as my duffel bag bounced along on my hip. An achy pain grew in my shoulders and I quickened my pace, walking on the sidewalk parallel to her. She watched me the whole way, the smile never leaving her face. Before I reached the end of the street, she spoke again in that gurgled voice.
“Have a nice night, Moriah.” My heart raced as my feet pounded the pavement. I glanced briefly behind my shoulder, only to see an empty sidewalk on the other side. She was gone.
I turned into my street not slowing until my feet reached the front door. Shaky fingers fumbled with the keys and thankfully my mother opened the door.
“Where have you been?” Deep lines formed in her face, dark eyes burning into mine, but it was short-lived. “Moriah, what happened?” I tried to wheeze out an answer, but the ragged breaths mixed with chilly air, restricted my voice. She pulled me inside and shut the door.
“This girl… she was alone… talking to herself, then she… disappeared. She knew my name.” I collapsed on ground two feet from a couch.
“What? You’re not making any sense. A girl was talking to herself and then she disappeared? Did you get hit by the ball again?” I knew my mother would never believe me. Heck, even I wouldn’t believe me. I waved her off.
I have seen her bag at school so maybe she heard someone call me in the hallway. She probably hid behind the bush to scare me and I fell for it.
“Dinner’s on the table. It’s chicken and broccoli casserole tonight.”
Hmm my favorite!
After dinner and a nice cool shower, I jump under the covers of my cozy bed. The light in the hallway went out and my mother’s door closed with a squeak. I turned over and faced the wall, allowing my eyes to close and mind to drift off.
“Goodnight Moriah.” A light whisper carried by the wind billowed through the open window into my ears. “Sleep tight.”