DARKNESS on silent wings shrouded the small village, hush whispers and stealthy shadows crisscrossed the night for not everyone was asleep past the midnight hour.
She stood deep in the shadows, the little girl with head bent, her long black hair partially covering her face.

Her shoulders shuddered as though she was crying, then slowly, she raised her head and pushed back the hair from her face. Her coal-black eyes held a deep sadness as she looked at the small white house further down the street. Light glowed through the window, meaning someone was still awake, and slowly, she walked to her home, an unseen being leaving behind invisible footprints.

Max, her pet terrier sensing her, jumped up, barking and wagging his tail wildly. She put a dirt-stained finger to her lips and he eased to a low whimpering. He could see her spiritual form and she bent down and hugged him,
“I’m sorry, boy,” she said sadly, “I can’t be with you now.”

She walked up the short stairs into the house and she whispered,
“Mom? Dad?”
The couple sitting on the chair, sleepless in grief, couldn’t see or hear her, their little daughter missing for two days.

“Where more can we look?” her mother asked, her voice weak and trembling.
“I’m here, mom,” the little girl said, tears she couldn’t feel rolling down her cheeks.

“We have to wait on the police,” her father responded, his voice broken.
The little girl felt helpless to see such deep pain and not being able to comfort them. She went to her sister’s room. She, too, wasn’t sleeping, staring at the blank TV screen, hugging her little sister’s teddy bear.

“Please come home, Sonia,” she whispered.
“I’m home,” the little girl said.
She went to her room and lay down on her bed.

“What do I do?” she wondered, “They have to know what happened to find me before it’s too late.”
A loud screech of brakes on the road startled her and she sat up, sudden realisation in her eyes, for she knew now what she had to do.

She had been such a happy little girl, always a song in her heart with a deep love for dancing and drama. She rode her bike to and from school with her two best friends and each day, coming home, they would stop on a lonely stretch of the road where huge trees on its border formed a canopy. There in the shade, they would rest a little and marvel at the colourful birds that lived in the trees.

But that fateful day when neither friend was with her and she was riding home alone, tragedy struck.
She had stopped to rest, enthralled at a mother bird feeding her chicks, when a loud revving sound scared her and the birds. A red car came around the bend at a breakneck speed, losing control on the turn and hit her, tossing her high in the air.

She screamed and fell on the hard earth and in those deadly seconds, her world turned dark.
The car had braked a distance away and the two boys running back had looked at her in shock. They had argued about whose fault it was, about what would happen, how their lives would now be over.

It was a lonely road, no one had seen what happened, so they decided to cover the accident scene and hid her lifeless body. Neither of them noticed the shallow breathing as they carried her deep in the brushes, covering her with dirt and shrubs and drove away, dumping her bike in another overgrown area. In the dark night, she stopped breathing and found herself in a strange place. She couldn’t understand what had happened and what she was doing there, she had to go home.

She tried to find a way out, then a sudden pull took her back, for the breathing had restarted and life had returned to the little broken body lying under the shrubs. The breathing stopped again hours later and the little girl suddenly understood. She had to find a way out, for someone to find her.

She found her way home but there wasn’t much time and she began her search for the two reckless, guilty boys so they could confess their crime so the police could find her body.
She searched until she found them at a car show, which was now her show time. The first time they saw her was in the rearview mirror of the deadly car.

That spooked them so much that they almost caused another accident on the road and she followed them everywhere as the body recalled her soul less because the heartbeats had slowed. She haunted their lives to a breaking point, for she could not be left in that dark place. She had to be found.

The haunting broke them down and they confessed, leading the police to where they had hidden the body. The paramedics applied oxygen to the limp body recovered with just one heartbeat. The little girl faintly heard baby birds chirping as she was brought out of the brushes and a tiny smile touched her lips. Beautiful life returned.

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