It had brought me here. But why to this place at this time was unknown to me. I knew nothing other than the fact that the people who lived in this house were in danger. Lots of danger. They had a secret, and it was about to be revealed.
From my hiding place behind a bush, I saw a family approach the door; a mother, a father, a daughter, and two sons. By the look of things, the girl was the oldest. The older of the two sons was sort of cute. He was tall, skinny, and had light brown hair. From the way he was standing, I couldn’t see his eyes, but I bet they were beautiful.
A flicker out of the corner of my eye diverted my attention from the boy. It was moving, going to follow the family into the house, to reveal the secret It knew.
The father of the family rang the doorbell. A few seconds later the door opened and a man and woman greeted the family. I noticed the brown-haired boy was faking his smile. His brother and sister – both dirty blonds – stepped into the house. Their parents followed. But before the boy stepped inside, he looked around at the surrounding houses as if he knew he wasn’t the only one out there.
Maybe he can sense It, too, I thought in some naïve hope that maybe I wasn’t the only one.
He shuddered and stepped inside the house, closing the door behind him.
It followed him closely. On It’s way to reveal the secret no one knew.
I had to stop It. I had to do something, but what? What could I do to protect these people and that boy? Would they believe me if I told them? Or would they just turn me away like the nobody that I was?
It moved away from the door. I couldn’t worry about their reaction any longer. I had to act. Now. Or else It would strike and strike hard. If It had to, It may kill them. It had before. I didn’t want a repeat of the last family with a secret.
It started moving up the big stairwell. I jumped up from behind the bush and ran to the door. I banged my fist on the heavy oak.
“Help! Open the door! You’re in danger! Please! Open the door!” I was going to have a bruise on my hand from pounding so hard.
I brought my arm back to strike again but the door opened.
“What is all this racket about?” a middle-aged wealthy but angry looking man said.
I ran past him. There wasn’t time. It was almost there. The secret would soon be revealed if I didn’t act now.
Angry shouts came from behind me as I ran up the big marble staircase. I followed It down a winding corridor, past many closed and opened doors, up half a stairwell, through a small door, and down another short hallway.
Footsteps echoed behind me, but I didn’t dare look to see who it was. One distraction of my attention was all It needed to slip away, and then I would be out of luck completely.
“Hey, you! Stop!”
The voice yelling at me was male, but younger than I was expecting. I didn’t turn to look, even though my mind told me it might be that boy with the brown hair.
We reached the end of the hallway. It turned left – the only way to go. I followed and almost ran into a wall.
Dead end. But It was gone. Through the wall, I supposed. I hated the fact that It could do that.
I banged my already bruised fist against the wall, anger swelling through me, just as my pursuer caught up to me. It was that boy, and his eyes were light brown, just like his hair.
He took advantage of my momentary stupor and grabbed my wrists. He pulled me back down to the first floor where the rich man, his wife, and the rest of the boy’s family were waiting. Pushing on my back, he made me fall towards the man.
I let out an involuntary grunt as I stumbled forward. I stood there, all eyes watching me, as the man inspected me with a scornful eye. Not for the first time in my life, I felt ashamed of how I looked, and the man’s disgusted expression showed he didn’t approve of my ratty clothes and unwashed skin either.
“Who do you think you are,” he said, “to barge into my house like that and track dirt all over?”
I looked down at my bare, dirty feet. “You’re in danger.”
“Your secret. It’s about to be revealed.”
“Who? What secret?”
“It. It knows. And It will kill you if It has to.”
“We have no secrets!” the man scoffed.
I raised my head and met his eyes. They were dull grey, I noticed. Just like his personality.
He gasped and staggered back a step. In a mirror on the wall behind him, I saw what frightened him.
Ignoring my dirty skin, matted black hair, and ratty clothes, I noticed my pupils were white. Not black. I had seen my reflection only a few times before, and my eyes had been normal. I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong with me, but I had a feeling it was caused by It.
It walked past me; gloating, teasing. They didn’t believe me – they thought I was a freak – and It knew that.
It moved in front of me. My muscles started shaking. My breathing became heavier and shallower. It was too close to me. My body was reacting.
“Ten days,” I said. “You have ten days. Then It will reveal your secret if you don’t admit to it. Ten days before your lives will end.” I wasn’t worried about the time limit for them to come to their senses. It often looses track of time and forgets how many days ago It decided that. Just so long as I didn’t think about it, It wouldn’t remember.
“Out,” the man with the eyes to match his personality said, his voice weak at first but stronger as he went on. “Get out of my house, and never come back here. If I ever see you near my property again I’ll call the police. Go!”
The father of the visiting family grabbed me by the shoulder. As he opened the oak door, I caught a glimpse of the boy. His expression showed he was frightened by me and my white pupils. The man with the grip on my shoulder thrust me outside. I fell down, flying over the two cement steps and landing on my knees.
Before the door closed, It followed me out, not ready to reveal the secret yet. It moved past me. Angry, I ran after It. If I had to, I would follow It all the way across the country. But It wouldn’t go that far – the secret wasn’t revealed yet.
Late that afternoon, as I was running after It, I heard a dog start barking behind me. Someone – a female – yelled something. I ignored them and soon it was lost in the hum of street conversation.
It turned into an alleyway. So did I. This time, I saw the wall before me. I skidded to a stop before I slammed into it.
The dog was still barking. The person was still yelling for the dog to be quiet.
It passed over the brick wall. I looked up. The wall was too high for me to easily climb over. Maybe if I jumped. . . .
“You!” It was the same female voice that was yelling at the dog.
I turned around. Standing in the entrance to the alley was the same tall, dirty-blond girl that had been with that family that morning. Next to her was a panting golden retriever on a leash.
I just stared.
“W-what were you doing?” she asked, a tad bit suspiciously.
I didn’t answer.
“I’m not going to hurt you. I’m Kayla. What’s your name?”
Looking down at my feet, I said quietly, “I don’t have one.”
“You don’t have a name?”
I shook my head.
“Your parents never gave you one?”
“I have no parents. They died right after I was born. I grew up in an orphanage.”
“Don’t you have any relatives?”
“I don’t know. I don’t have a name. It would be impossible to find them if they existed.”
I nodded in agreement.
“What is this . . . It?” Kayla asked after a moment.
“It’s just It. No one knows what It really is,” I explained.
“There are others like you?”
“I’ve never met anyone.”
“Earlier today, your pupils . . . they were white.”
“I didn’t control that, if that’s what you want to know,” I said. “It’s not something I chose to happen.” I was beginning to feel claustrophobic in the tall, dark alley.
Kayla’s dog started pulling on the leash impatiently. “Do you want to get out of here?” she asked. I could tell she was feeling the same way I was.
I nodded. We left the alley. As we walked down the empty streets, she casually asked me, “So what’s the secret that the Jenkensons have?”
“Is that the man and woman from this morning?”
“I don’t know their secret. But they do have one. And It knows what it is.”
“Will It really hurt them?” Kayla looked at me with a worried expression.
“It’s possible. Are they your family?”
“Practically. They’re really good friends. I’ve known them all my life.”
“Oh.” I really didn’t care. I just wanted a yes or no.
The dog started barking and pulling on his leash.
“Jake!” yelled Kayla. “Quiet!”
Jake continued to bark. Then he started running, pulling his owner who was desperate to keep up.
I broke into a run also. Jake was on to something. It was nearby.
Kayla was frantically trying to stop the big golden retriever. She looked at me. “What’s going on? He’s never acted like this before.”
“Just let him run. I think he can sense It.”
“Yes. It is nearby.”
A look of horror spread over her face. “Is It close?”
I stopped. So did Jake. All three of us were breathing hard. My muscles started shaking again. It was in front of me.
I think Kayla said something to me, but I didn’t hear. It moved closer, now five inches from the tip of my nose and getting closer every second.
I couldn’t breathe. It’s presence was suffocating me. Something – a human hand I think – grabbed my arm. A cold existence handled my other arm. It was touching me.
The grip on my right arm loosened and went away. But It tightened It’s hold on me. The blood flow in my lower arm went away as It cut my skin.
I was gasping for air. My muscles shook. My arm hurt. Blood flowed down my arm. Black dots began to flood my vision. My head spun. I needed air. I couldn’t feel my left arm anymore. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t see. It was too strong . . . too powerful. . . .
The next moment someone was shaking me and saying, “Are you okay? Wake up. Girl, please, wake up.”
As my vision came back into focus, I saw Kayla standing in front of me, her face worried, hands on my shoulders.
My feet were still firmly on the ground. That was odd. I blacked out. Shouldn’t I be lying on the ground?
“Are you okay?” Kayla asked.
I nodded. My mouth was too dry to make a sound.
“What happened? You passed out on your feet. I was afraid you were going to fall.”
“It. . .” I managed to say in a hoarse whisper.
“It? It did this to you?”
Again, I could only nod. My arm hurt – stung actually. I looked down at it. A good deal of my upper arm around the fresh cut was purple.
Kayla gasped. “Did It do that to you?”
“It has done this before. Causing physical harm to me is something It does often.” My voice was almost fully back now. “I guess if It can kill, It can destroy.”
“It’s destroying you?!”
“Maybe not right now, but It might one day. It does enjoy It’s victims to know It’s there and It could kill them, though. And I’m the only one that can do that.”
“Will It kill the Jenkensons?” Kayla asked.
“It killed the last people, if that means anything.”
She didn’t respond and I didn’t feel like talking. So we started walking in silence.
“Have . . . have you ever thought of giving yourself a name?” Kayla asked quietly after a moment.
“Oh, I’ve thought of it, yes, but it’s not who I am,” I answered.
“But then that makes you a no one.”
“Exactly. That’s who I am – a no one. Left to follow It until It either kills me or I die of other causes. Besides, if I had a name, It would probably somehow find a way to use it against me.”
“Oh. . . . That would be horrible; to spend your whole life chasing after some . . . thing only you can see that goes around killing people.”
I shrugged. “I’ve known no other.”
She thought for a moment. “You said something about growing up in an orphanage. Do you remember any of it? Could you still do all this back then?”
“I don’t remember it,” I said, shaking my head slightly. “It erased all memories of mine from the time before I first sensed It. I don’t even know how old I am. I have no idea if I could do all this before then because It never came to me before that time. I don’t know if my parents could do this or I’m just a freak. To me, this is all normal.”
“You look to be about Kevin’s age,” Kayla said, referring to my lack of knowledge on the matter.
“My brother. The older one.”
“The one who chased me.”
“Yes, him. He’s sixteen, almost seventeen. You look about . . . seventeen or so. Maybe a little older.”
“Hm,” I said, not really actually caring. Age is just a number, right?
We stopped in front of a huge, Victorian style house. It looked just like any house belonging to a family with apparent money should look like – spacious but cozy, homely but intimidating. There was a small porch, which I imagined they sat on drinking tea and discussing the economy, before going inside to recline and look out one of the many windows. Kayla unhooked Jake’s leash. He ran up to the porch and through a doggie door.
“Is this where you live?” I asked.
“It’s a nice house.”
“Yeah. I like it. My parents had it constructed special. They said they couldn’t find a house that fit their image right. They needed a house that would impress people, but still look friendly. I think it describes our family perfectly.”
Yeah, rich and stuck-up, I thought.
A boy opened the front door and stuck his head out while she was talking. His hair fell in his eyes. He flicked his head to get it out. To me, it looked like a neck spasm, but there’s probably some name for a haircut that involves doing that constantly. “Kayla, dinner’s almost ready,” he called.
“Okay,” Kayla replied.
He stepped outside. “Who are you talking to?”
I looked down. He would recognize me; I was sure of it. And the huge blood spot on my tattered sleeve or my lack of shoes probably wouldn’t help my cause.
I glanced up. He didn’t even need to see my face. The look on his face that I saw told me he knew exactly who I was. Turning to his sister, he said, “Kayla, how many times have Mom and Dad told you not to associate with people like her?” He spat the last word.
“That’s not nice, Kevin!” Kayla told him.
“Well it’s true.” He lowered his voice but I could still hear him. “She practically broke into the Jenkensons’ house.”
“They’re in danger!” she protested.
“You don’t actually believe her, do you? She’s just some nutcase off the streets that only wants attention. What secret would the Jenkensons have?”
I turned and started walking away. Kayla saw me.
“Wait! Girl!” she called.
I ignored her and kept walking.
“C’mon,” I heard Kevin say. “I think you’ve hit your head.”
If most girls were told they were nutcases off the street only looking for attention they would cry. Especially if it was said to them by one of the people she most needed on her side. But I didn’t cry. I couldn’t. I’m just not able to cry.
Just as I was wishing It wouldn’t show up, there It was; standing – or hovering, I couldn’t tell which – between me and the house.
Then there It went, through the doggie door and into the house.
I wanted to leave. These people didn’t want me here. I didn’t want to be here either. But It loves those who don’t believe in It. It has ways of making them believe – horrible ways.
A boy was moving towards the front of the house. I felt It move towards him. I took an involuntary step towards the house. I had to do something, but I couldn’t do anything.
There was an ear-splitting scream just then. Something thumped against the door. The floppy doggie door was moved by a small hand that now hung outside, the body it was attached to on the other side. There was blood on the hand.
Someone else screamed – this time a woman. “Kile!” somebody yelled. “What happened?” another said.
I just stood there, sensing Its pleased emotion. Through a window, I could see four people, Kayla, Kevin, a man, and a woman, rush to the door. Kayla glanced out the window and saw me. The look in her eyes was full of pain and worry.
A larger hand pushed the translucent plastic door away and pulled the little hand inside. Splattered blood covered the plastic.
The wood door opened and Kayla stepped outside. “What happened? Do you know what happened?” Tears streamed down her face.
“It . . . It pushed him,” I managed to say.
“Because they don’t believe. It hates people who laugh at It.”
“But Kile didn’t do anything!”
“It was your other brother,” I said. “It wants him to believe.”
“Someone close to the person who doubts It. That’s how things have been before.”
Kayla was still crying. Kevin walked out the front door.
“You caused this, didn’t you!” he accused. “You’re the reason my little brother is unconscious and bleeding!”
I shook my head. “Not me. You.”
“Me?! You’re saying I did this?!”
“Not you directly. This happened because of you. It did this.”
Kayla grabbed his arm. “Kevin, listen-”
“No, you listen,” he interrupted harshly.
She turned to me. “You should just leave.”
“Don’t ‘just leave’, go away. Far away. And never come back. You’re a threat to not only the Jenkensons, but now to us also.”
The pained look was still in Kayla’s eyes as she watched me turn and walk away. Kevin’s expression was one of anger.
I was angry, too. I had failed to protect It’s victim. And so, like every time when I fail, I ran. When I run, I seldom stop.
The last family It had disrupted did not have a very major secret. Their secret was just the fact that the mother – I believe her name was Molly – had another life under a different name and an additional family that she no longer cared for. They had thought she died. Molly had forgotten all about them, but It wouldn’t let the secret remain buried.
Like the Jenkensons, Molly ignored my warning. She told me she had no idea what I was talking about and I was crazy. She even hid my visit from her current family. But It would only wait so long. I had told her she had less than a week to tell both her families, except she never did anything about it. This Molly was like every other Molly, or Mark, or Kevin before her – she refused to believe in what she couldn’t see. And that is what brought upon her death.
Early the next morning I was still angry. They had probably gone to the hospital and not been able to explain what happened. When Kile would wake up, whenever that may be, all he would be able to say was that something pushed him. Maybe Kayla would explain to him that that “thing” was It.
Would he believe her then? He was still young enough to have an imagination. He might even be able to convince Kevin. I doubted myself on that, though. Kevin was being really stubborn.
I leaned against a tree. I was in a small area of trees, but I didn’t know what state I was in. I never knew. I never knew anything other than what It wanted me to do.
Kayla’s gone to school, lived in a house, and had a family. She’s never known any other life. I didn’t know any other life besides the life of chasing after It. I’m not envious of Kayla, however, because I believe that we all have our own lives that we’re meant to lead, some more glorious than others. Mine just happened to be the less glorious.
But still. . . I couldn’t always help but think about what my life would be like if It hadn’t killed my parents. I liked to imagine we would live in a nice but small house somewhere in the country, just us and maybe a dog. We would travel all over the world and while we weren’t traveling, I would go to school. I would have a proper education and I would be top of my class.
I smiled to myself, but it quickly faded. My life would never be like that because It did kill my parents. I would never live in a house, travel the world, or go to school. All because of It.
Yet . . . I couldn’t help imagining the way I wanted things to be.
Distracting me from my thoughts, It appeared on the edge of the trees. I looked up. It started moving. I wove my way through the trees towards It. Then I followed It for hours, running nonstop.
I ran past homes, parks with laughing people. Past Happy families enjoying the sun. Past signs with words that I couldn’t read. I may have learned to read at the orphanage, but when It erased my memory of that time, It also erased my knowledge.
I stopped. The ground under my feet changed. For the first time in a while I actually looked around myself. I was standing in sand. It was warm beneath my feet. Ten feet in front of me there was water for as far as the eye could see.
The ocean. I think that’s what I had heard someone call it the other time I had seen it many years ago in a different place.
More happy families surrounded me. A Frisbee flew by and a panting golden retriever chased after it.
He looks like Jake, I thought and had to stop myself when I realized I was hoping it really was him.
It wouldn’t make sense, I told myself, for them to be at the beach when Kile was attacked last night.
I looked up at the sky. A single crow was flying by. I watched it as it went. It was free – free to fly wherever it wanted to, and free to do whatever it wanted to whenever it wanted to. It had never known the barriers of a cage or the boring life of always doing everything for someone else. This crow knew exactly what freedom was, and it took advantage of that.
People were starting to notice me, so I turned and ran away. They gave me looks of disgust and disapproval. They looked at me the same way everyone looked at me. Hatred. Disgusted. Appalled. Disappointed.
Hating me for the way I looked. Disgusted at how I acted. Appalled at how I had no family or home. Disappointed at how I couldn’t even try to have a “normal” life.
I was used to all that. I had spent all my life earning those looks. I had learned to expect them from people. No one ever looks upon the cut up homeless girl with compassion. Especially when they think she’s insane.
I kept running. I didn’t pay attention to anyone around me. What was the point? They didn’t care about me, so why should I care about them?
The sky was darkening now. I found myself standing in front of a house. A big house. The same house. Their house.
Through a lit window I could see a man and a woman eating together. They silently talked. Quietly they laughed and drank from their wine glasses. He took her hand. She looked at him. They may be older, but their love had not dwindled.
I had to look away. Love was never something I felt comfortable with. I had never experienced it. I doubt anyone even loved me in the orphanage, and I didn’t love anyone. I guess when you spend your life chasing after something only you can see, and everyone treats you like a freak, love just isn’t something that comes naturally, especially when the thing you chase brutally killed your parents.
It came. Just as I thought It would. But It didn’t go inside. The current time was too soon after It’s last visit. It likes It’s victims to forget about It a little before It returns to kill them.
I looked back at the house. More food was on the table for the two of them to eat.
The more time I’d spent following It, the more I’d noticed my body changing because of It. I no longer needed to eat; I could run all day if I wanted and not get tired or sore, and I didn’t feel cold or hot. I’d slowly become less and less human the longer I lived my life this way, but when all this is ordinary, I hardly notice until I’m around “normal” people, then I really feel like the freak I am.
It was getting bored. I felt It’s disinterest seeping over me. I began to want to leave also. So I did.
I went to stand and placed my foot on the ground. By doing so, I stepped on a stick. Crack! My breath caught in my throat. I froze and looked at the house.
They had heard it too. The man looked out the big window. He stared right at me. He shouted something unintelligible and pointed straight at me. The woman dashed for the phone nearby and started frantically dialing. The man disappeared from view. The front door opened. Light poured out into the darkness. Time to run.
As I ran down the street, the man followed me. He shouted at me, causing neighbors to turn on their lights and open their doors. But I just kept running.
I could feel It’s happiness at my human clumsiness, which only made me angrier.
“Call the police!” someone shouted.
“They’re on their way!” another said.
Oh great. I think I could already hear the sirens. For the first time, I glanced behind me. The street was filled with people. The night was illuminated with light from a dozen houses with open doors and lit windows.
Sure enough, colored lights were blinking in the distance and the siren was becoming louder.
I looked forward. I had to keep running. Just running. Nothing else. Not thinking, not seeing, not hearing, and barely even breathing. All I could do was concentrate on the rhythm of my feet on the cold, hard pavement.
Something wet hit my forehead. Another hit my arm, one more, my foot. Pretty soon I was being pegged with little drops of water all over. The rain turned everything around me into a misty blur. I put my head down and watched my bare feet slap against the ground.
The siren continued to grow louder. I couldn’t tell how close it was, but I knew I couldn’t outrun it.
It was enjoying every minute of this. It knew that if the police got me, I wouldn’t be able to explain anything. And if I did, they wouldn’t believe me. I’d be like Kile once he woke up in the hospital – lost and confused. The police may even lock me up. Or possibly throw me in with the others who were just like me. Either way I would no longer be able to follow It.
I stopped my train of thought for a moment. Not being able to follow It seemed like a good thing, even if it did mean living in a padded room. But then, I’ve tried walking away, going my own direction, except I can’t get very far before It finds me and makes me follow It. What if It no longer wanted me to follow It? Maybe It was tired of always having me ruin It’s plans. The only thing I’m good for is to warn the victims – make people believe in It. It could do that on It’s own, but It enjoys watching me struggle to convince them. It is a very mean thing.
I was suddenly aware of someone running beside me. I snapped back to the world around me. They were yelling at me.
“Stop! Stop running!”
I didn’t listen.
“If you stop now the charges will be less severe than if we have to chase you down.”
That still didn’t make me stop.
“You’re giving me no choice, girl.”
I looked over just as a man wearing a blue shirt and matching blue pants jumped in my direction and tackled me to the ground. I skinned my right arm on the pavement.
The man picked himself off me and pulled me up. Not gently either. Blood began to run down my arm.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
I didn’t answer.
“What’s your name? What is your name?”
Still I said nothing.
“Are you daft? What’s your name?”
I hadn’t noticed the other police man that had joined us until he spoke. “He asked you a question. Answer him!”
“I don’t have one,” I finally said in a quiet voice.
I repeated my answer.
“Speak up, girl,” the first man said.
“I don’t have one!” I nearly shouted in frustration.
“Sir,” the second man corrected.
I remained silent.
Why? I wanted to ask. Why is he so special that I have to call him sir?
“She’s not answering,” the one who tackled me said.
He’s a genius, I thought sarcastically.
“Let’s take her to the station.”
They grabbed my arms and shoved me into the back seat of their car. So “I don’t get blood on the seat” they handed me a tissue to hold on my scrape, even though it wasn’t bleeding that badly.
Five minutes after the car started moving, we stopped. The door opened and they pulled me out just as gently as when they shoved me in. Then they walked – or pulled me along while I stumbled – to a room with a desk and two chairs.
One man pointed to a chair and I sat in it. I had a feeling they were about to question me.
The man who tackled me sat down in the remaining char on the other side of the table, while the other man stood behind him.
“What were you doing?” the sitting man asked.
“Nothing,” I said.
“Then why were we called?”
I shrugged and didn’t look at them.
“You know why. What were you doing?”
“Protecting them,” I whispered.
“Protecting them?” the officer repeated in non-understanding.
“Harold,” the standing male said, “this one’s got problems. Mental problems.”
“Just hold on, Gerry,” Harold said. To me, he added, “What were you protecting them from?”
This was the moment It had been waiting for. It had stayed beside me up until now, taunting me. Now It was going to get what It came for.
“It,” I answered.
“It? What is It?”
“I don’t know. It’s just It. Not human, not ghost, not anything. Just It.”
“And what does It want to do to that family?”
“It wants to kill them. . .”
“That’s crazy,” Gerry said. “This one deserves to go to the loony bin.”
I looked up at him, which was probably a bad idea. Both men gasped as equal looks of horror spread over their faces. I guessed my pupils were white again.
“I don’t think she’s human,” Gerry whispered to Harold.
“I agree,” Harold said. “Y-you can leave now,” he told me.
I stood and left the small room. It happily followed me as I left the police station. As soon as the ground under my bare feet became rough I broke into a run. I didn’t follow It. It could leave me alone right now for all I cared. It had done enough to my life.
Don’t just leave, go away. Far away. And never come back.
I think I ran in a circle because by the middle of the next day I was back in that town of non-believers. Why did I continue to end up here? I didn’t want to be here; I hadn’t been following It. I had just run on my own, not paying attention to where I was; only concentrating on the rhythm of my feet pounding the ground. I could leave this place a hundred times and a hundred times I would return.
A dog started barking at me again. I kept running.
“Hey! You, girl!” Kayla’s voice called.
I turned. She was being pulled by Jake towards me.
“Whatever you heard it probably isn’t true,” I said when she got close enough.
“So you didn’t try to break into the Jenkensons’ house?”
“Then what were you doing?” There was a hint of accusation in her voice.
“I was leaving. I followed It there and went to follow It away. I stepped on a stick and that snapped. They saw me. I had to run, there was no other option.”
“You were arrested.”
“I didn’t chose to be,” I pointed out.
“What are you doing here?”
“I didn’t choose to come here either. . . . H-how’s Kile?”
“He’s doing well.”
I realized that was all she was going to say on the subject. “That’s good,” I said.
There was a pause. Then Kayla said, “I’ve got to go. I’m sorry but if I’m seen with you my parents will kill me. And then Kevin would bring me back to life just to kill me again.”
The look in her eyes was apologetic, but she ran away from me, calling for Jake to come.
Go back to your life, where nothing bad ever happens in your perfect little world. Back to the family that cares for you. Back to the life I would never know.
I spent the rest of the afternoon just walking around. Everywhere I went I got looks from people telling me I was on the wrong side of town. They didn’t even know me, but they judged me by the dirt on my face. For all they knew I could have millions of dollars in the bank, but all they saw was the dirt. Maybe I had just played in the mud. But there were bruises on my arms. Not every rich life is a good life, though.
I would choose my life over the life Kayla had any day. Her parents expected so much of her; she had so much to live up to, and every little thing she did was looked upon and judged. At least I could run away from it all any time I choose. There’s no one holding me back, no one to keep me in one place. The only thing I ever had to worry about was It. And that wasn’t an issue.
For all of my life that I remember, I’ve never known anyone for more than a few weeks and they always end up dying. Most of the time I thought it was nice. There was never anyone to wonder where I was, ask me where I’d been, and if I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t have to. But sometimes . . . I got lonely.
I was never lonely during the times when It was going to the next secret holder, but mostly it was when I was in the new town or right before the person died, and they were begging me to spare them because they had a family. Seeing the hurt in their eyes when I told them there was nothing I could do because It had already made up It’s mind was something I never got used to.
I didn’t know if I ever could get used to something like that. I’ve been seeing that for ten years now, but I still wish there was something I could do to help them. I try; they just don’t listen. Especially when I was younger. They always just thought I was playing a game with my imaginary friend and told me to go home before my parents got worried. So I always told them my parents couldn’t worry about me because they’re dead. I constantly got the same response to that; “So who do you live with?”
“No one,” I would tell them. “It’s just me and It.”
Usually right about then I would tell them I knew their secret and they would freak out and get even more worried than they were before. To make it more bearable, I would always try and guess what they were thinking about as their final thoughts. Most of the time I thought it was their family. Or maybe it was regret that they didn’t listen to the little girl with the imaginary friend. But people never seem to learn.