November 15, 2012
Mirabelle’s neck tingles as matted, ash brown hairs wisp across her exposed skin. She can sense herself shrinking with every minute that drags on. Confused as to where she is and wondering how she got there; she remains still and attempts to appear calm.
Then, she becomes aware of a distracting figure hopping under the falling stars and she stares, gaping through the red brick arch towering above her. A sub consciousness twinge alerts Mirabelle of the concrete box enclosing her seemingly weak body, serving as guard from the harsh elements just outside its concaves.
There is a single bench positioned square in the center, feeding her comfort and support. Its intricate backbone overflows with layers of soft, sapphire cloth as she wraps it around her quivering self to hide from the brisk snowfall, threatening to nip any bare skin left uncovered.

Not moments earlier, she opened inquiring eyes to find herself shivering on her family’s front porch, watching in amazement as white shavings illuminated the Michigan skies. She admired the brisk wind interrupting each flurry constantly in tight, angry spirals; only late to realize their mischievous plan… The unique snow stars began to charge forward on the hunt, before roaring in her exhausted face.

She longs to move about. To shift her weight the slightest bit. But she is frozen… Frozen in someone else’s foreign mind, while its anxious thoughts run in strange cycles of unrecognizable confusion.
Mirabelle’s hazel eyes lock on what dances in front of her: a young girl of about thirteen is positioned behind the crab apple tree in her front lawn, not twenty feet away from where she is located. The girl stands waving and giggling, prancing in place while reaching out to shake the lower tree branches hanging in front of her. Long, jet-black hair shades her face like a straggly mop and a striped shirt and jean shorts, smudged and soiled, are all that shadow her dirty, frail body.
Observing the bizarre girl with caution, she watches skeptically as thick snow accumulates around her ankles. Unsure as to why she is flouncing barefoot on a patch of wet mulch, instead of standing on the shoveled, red brick path near by.
The girl looks so familiar, thought Mirabelle. But how and where could she have seen her before? And why the heck is she here? Maybe she has seen her at school someplace… Or even maybe at the mall. There was just something so unusual about her. The way she skipped about, the way she cackled… Something so different in her being that was driving Mirabelle absolutely insane!

Then, a bright light flicks on behind her, temporarily blinding her dry eyes. She shuts them for a moment, eager to regain precious eyesight, before quickly reopening them in a haste hoping that the girl didn’t notice. To her astonishment, the eccentric child continued its odd gestures without hesitation, apparently un-phased by the intruder. Content with the reaction, Mirabelle loosens her strangling grip on the fringes of her shielding blanket.
Blazing interest sparks inside of her as she listens intently to the click of a dead bolt, then the rotation of the gold painted door knob. By oblivious decision, she keeps herself hostage in a statuette state, refusing to turn and feed the curiosity tugging at her ears.
Then, a booming voice whispered, “Mare… Th… That’s Valentinia…”
Confusion sweeps over her, for she does not recognize anyone by that name, and nor does her Father. But she feels comfort from the sound of his voice, and urges herself to stand. Continuing her gaze, she carefully places her feet on the ground, slowly lifts up from her perch and wraps the moist blanket into folds around her unclothed arms. Her meager pants and pink pajama shirt provide her with little protection against the parading snowflakes. Her light fabrics absorb precipitation, leaving behind a trail of bulging goose bumps.
Then, drifting slowly backwards toward the consoling voice, she watches as the girl, Valentinia, ogles wide-eyed as she inches in the direction of her liberator. She cannot see the ghostly face, but somehow, she knows that the girl is irritated.
With each new stealing step, she can tell that she is losing feeling in her poor, tiny toes. Icy slipper flip-flops -bright green with blue polka dots, now showing off a sicklier, sodden color- are all that offer to warm them. She dozed a little, dreaming up fuzzy socks and a blazing fire, before refocusing.
Keeping her eyes locked on Valentinia, Mirabelle reaches out to touch her wonderful Father. He stands a foot taller than her and weighs about twice as much, although many say they look very similar. His strong arm wraps around her shoulder and out of the corner of her eye she notices that he is dressed in the usual; a pair of basketball shorts and his large, orange and grey winter coat.
Valentinia stands quaking, anger and fury radiating from her small frame. One dainty hand grasping a bottom branch, and one clenched at her side. She listens attentively to Mirabelle’s Father’s gentle murmur.
“I’m gonna open the door slowly and yer going to try and catch ‘er,” he exclaimed. Mirabelle hesitated, uneasy at the thought.
“You got this,” reassured her Father. So - only because he seemed to know what he was talking about- she pushed back her shoulders and proceeded to follow his orders, never allowing her eyes to veer away from Valentinia’s rigid body.
“Should I use my blanket?” Mirabelle asked, beginning to carefully release its limber coat.
As she spoke, she listened to what sounded like a low rumble, seeping from between Valentinia’s inhuman lips. The snarling chime was enough to send chills running up and down her spine.
“Mhm,” her Father mumbled nervously in approval, hearing the grumble. Mirabelle dropped open the material then and grasped the two top corners with her ice-cold hands.
“One,” whispered her Father urgently, as Valentinia snapped her pitiable, unfortunate branch.
“Two,” Mirabelle spoke a bit louder, making both of them cringe.
“Three,” She called with confidence, daring Valentinia to come forth and approach her.
Mirabelle listens for her Father to swing open the door and then raises her blanket upward, poised to snag the disturbing adolescent. With a rush of chilly air, Valentinia charges her head on, delivering a stench so strong that its deathly juices lick the back of her throat and swell inside her lungs. The dark hollows of her eye sockets glisten in scarlet and arid lips part into emptiness, searching for devoted souls and lost in the world she once belonged to.
Mirabelle could feel a slight darkness enclosing her. As it grows, her Father disappears from her side and her blanket floats to the floor onto the hard, concrete surface. A thrusting force shoves her against one of the two slim windows on either side of the large front door. Something splits the top of her head and warm liquids elaborately weave through her knotted waves.
Her limp body is helpless against the invisible energy; no willpower is left to fight back. At this point, she feels like she is worthless. There is no clear reason to continue to try because she cannot even lift her thin eyelids.
Loneliness overwhelms her aching mind as she realizes she is gone. She can feel the world around her shrinking into the obscurity and she fears what she was losing more than anything else. She longs for her Father to come back, to feel his gentle strength, to hold his rough hands in hers.
Then, she can feel herself being lifted, by what is unclear, but a small bit of hope envelopes her. She tries and tries to open her eyes but finds to her disappointment that it is no use. She will forever be a prisoner in this lifeless body of hers.

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