I was always a lonely child. My parents were shut ins by most standards. They raised animals, grew their own food, and only went to town to buy essentials like tools. Occasionally they’d splurge on a treat when I went with them, but until I was 6 I never really knew anyone.
See I was a late born kid. October 13th to be exact, and I didn’t start school till I was 6. That was the only thing my parents would go to town for on a normal basis. Dropping me off at the schoolhouse and picking me up.
It didn’t take long before I made a new friend. Her name was Alexa Rowen. She was practically my opposite. Flawless tanned skin, straight Raven hair, and brilliant green eyes. Me, well I was a blonde with wavy curls, I was always pale no matter how long I stayed outside, and I had baby blue eyes. But we got along really well. She told me her birthday was September 15th, so she was only a bit older than me.
We met on my first day during recess. Everyone was playing games in the small field, well, everyone except me. See, being the new kid no one wanted to play with me so I just sat alone by the fence. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up to see Alexa. She asked me to play, and we ran around playing tag till class resumed. But she wasn’t in class. I didn’t think much of it, since the school had 4 classes in my age group, so I though she must be in one of those.
After school that day, I sat on the curb waiting for my father to pick me up, and looking for her. But I didn’t see her come out. I saw a few kids running off, and some through the field to go to their nearby homes, and thought I saw her Raven hair, so I assumed it was her.
The next day we played again, and after a week I told my parents about her. But the same night I chose, my mom told us I was gonna get a little sibling. I was more excited then ever before. Not only did I have a friend, but I’d be getting a baby brother or sister during the next summer. It couldn’t get better. But they listened patiently to me talk about Alexa, and my father told me the next day, he’d ask the teacher for her parents names so I could maybe see her for a playdate during the holiday break coming up in the next months.
So on Friday, my father parked and walked up to the curb to get me so we could talk to the teacher. I’d already seen Alexa run off through the field headed home as usual, but was smiling brightly as I led my father to my teacher. As they talked she asked me if I’d like to color, so I went to my seat and drew on some blank pages she gave me. I drew myself and Alexa playing in the rain.
Turning to my father after sending me to play, she moved a bit towards the door and away from me and said to him, “I’m not sure how little Gracie knows of Alexa Rowen, but the girl she described to you has been dead for over 4 years. She attended in my 8th year teaching here, but died in an accident with her mother.” She gave him the address of the father in case he’d like to go and speak with him. But my father shrugged it off and told her he was sorry to hear. Collecting me we went home.
Over dinner, I asked him excitedly when we could visit Alexa and I could pay with her. I remember him looking sad as he knelt down to look me in the eyes. I’d never seen my father look that way. He spoke to me very quietly and gently, like any parent would to a child of my age. “Gracie, I need you to tell me how you met Alexa.”
I looked a bit confused, because I’d told both my parents all about my first day of school. But I recounted to story to him anyways, and then asked again when we could go see her.
He picked me up, and moved to sit in our special chair, and I cuddled against him as always when he wrapped his arms around me. “Honey, are you sure someone didn’t tell you about Alexa and you just imagined playing with her?”
I shook my head quickly, “I’m sure daddy. . .We play everyday, and I see her leave school through the field going towards the bridge on the creek, then she’s out of sight with the other kids behind the apple trees.”
He watched me as I explained, knowing me to detail everything I could, and I’d been taught the difference between real and fake. He patted me on the head, placed a kiss on my forehead and got up to tuck me in. Telling me we’d go see Alexa and her father the next day. I went to sleep with a smile, but my father did not rest that night.
The next morning we headed into town to the address my teacher gave. It was a lovely house with a green garden. Filled to the very brim with playthings. A flowerbed in the far corner, and dog house by a swing set, and to my excitement I saw Alexa playing with to dolls on the covered porch. I ran up and greeted her and we started playing. My father gave me the oddest look, but said nothing and knocked on the door. I didn’t see the man, but he greeted my father and soon they disappeared inside. Leaving me and Alexa alone to play.
Now, I don’t know for certain what they spoke of, but my father came out a few minutes later and the man was crying. My father picked me up and I dropped the doll I’d been playing with. Carrying me towards the car, I saw the man sobbing, and Alexa looking shocked and a bit angered. I didn’t say anything but waved solemnly to her as my father put me in the car. But she ran after us and got in with me.
My father now silent, and seeming to be thinking of something began to drive us home. I was so excited to be playing with Alexa in the backseat with me. I don’t quite remember what happened, but I remember my father turning to me with a horrified look as we went off the bridge over the creek.
When I woke I was laying on shore, and my mother was there, sobbing. She cradled me to her chest, and I kept asking where my daddy was, but no one had an answer. Everyone just looked at me sadly. We went home, and I saw Alexa waving from the bridge with a bright smile.
I never did see my daddy again, and it wasn’t until much later, that I realized he’d died, and I began to remember what happened. I tried telling my mommy that Alexa had done it. That she’d grabbed the wheel and caused daddy to go off the bridge. But she never believed me. She just kept telling me Alexa wasn’t real.
A few months later when my baby sister was born, the first thing I noticed was her resemblance to Alexa. I hadn’t played with Alexa since the accident, and my mother taught me at home, too afraid to drive me to school. My mother named my sister Rowena, in memory of my father’s mother.
It wasn’t until Rowena was about 2 years old, that I saw Alexa again. She’d come to visit me, and we played in the garden by a small river near my house. When I heard my mother call me in for supper, Alexa smiled at me, and pushed me into the water, saying if I got all wet, my mother might let me out longer to dry off.
But, that’s the last I remember. Now I just play everyday with Alexa. Sometimes I see daddy coming to the field to pick me up, like all the bad things were just a dream. . .
I can still remember it like yesterday. It was the summer I turned 7, my younger brother was 5. We had moved because my dad got a new job offer in a different city. My mom had passed when I was 2, it was in giving birth to my brother.
It was mid summer, July 15th to be exact, and I remember being in the car for what seemed like a whole day. But later I came to find the trip between houses and cities was only 2 hours, which meant I could still see my old friends on holidays and over summer if we planned things.
When we finally reached the new house I realized it wasn’t too different from out old one. Two stories and my dad said it had an attic and basement. So as all the adults my dad had paid to move us began unpacking ours things, me and my brother went to explore. First the basement where we found a bathroom and a small room that my father said would be a game room for us to play in. Then we picked our bedrooms and went to explore the attic so we’d be out of the way as furniture was brought inside.
We found the attic was covered in boxes and old toys. So we of course started going through the toys. What surprised us though was that in a small room branching off the attic we found a little girl and boy playing. The girl have beautiful blond hair and was having a tea party, the boy and unruly red curls and was playing with toy soldiers. They seemed to be our age, and we joined them.
It wasn’t until that afternoon when my father called us for a late lunch we even realized how long we’d played. We ran down to eat, our friends forgotten as our stomachs were growling. During lunch we ate and played, and remembered our friends. Telling our dad about them. He brushed it off as us having imaginary friends since we were in a new place. But he gave us some snacks and sweets to share with them and sent us off to play so he could keep unpacking.
We did just that. We played all afternoon in the attic with our new friends. When bedtime came, we all slept on blankets on my dad’s bedroom floor since we still had yet to get the beds inside. He said tomorrow we’d be in our own rooms, and we went to sleep. The next day was the same. My brother and I spent the day playing in the attic and the grownups unpacked.
The week continued like this until everything was unpacked. My dad had hired us a sitter and told her to just make sure we’d eat, and that we played all day in out secret hideaway, the attic of course.
So he went to work, and she came up to get us. But for the first time our friends came with us. What we didn’t know is that what would follow was truly horrid. We didn’t see anything until our babysitter went tumbling down the steps. Our friend claimed she fell, but she was okay. They said we should just keep playing. So we did. We left her sleeping on the floor and went back to play.
That evening we heard a scream when my dad returned and ran to him. Me and my brother freezing when we saw him standing over the babysitter while she still slept. He yelled at us to go back to our rooms, and we did. He never yelled at us so we knew something was wrong, but we listened.
Soon we heard more people and voices walking around. But we stayed in our rooms and waited. After an hour my dad came to speak with us. He asked us what happened. And we told him about her falling and ours friends saying we should let her rest and get better. He nodded and told us to go to sleep, that we’d go to daycare the next day instead of having a sitter again.
But the next morning when we woke our dad was still sleeping in his bed, We tried and tried to wake him but he wouldn’t get up. We went running for help, but when we reached the stairs that would lead us to the front door, all I remember is falling with my brother in my arms.
When we woke, dad was gone, and so we just played with ours friends. We just kept playing, and playing. We still play everyday, all day long. . .