Mia ran out of the house trembling in fear. Her heart was beating fast while sweat and tears flooded down her little rosy cheeks. She felt calmer once the suns rays seeped into her skin. Outside has always been Mia’s escape, it was her safe place. She ran into the woods in fear that he would chase after her. When she knew she was hidden and no one followed, she started to slow down to a leisurely walk and looked up into the treetops. She found comfort in the squirrels thoughts she could hear around her. All they were concerned about was finding their nuts; and to Mia, that was refreshingly innocent.
Mia was an extraordinary girl who was very intelligent. Although, there was one thing that made her different than most people. Mia had two secrets that made her feel afraid and different. Her first secret didn’t make her feel afraid but she knew she couldn’t tell people about it because they would call her crazy. If Mia told her second secret, her father would get angry. There was nothing she hated more than when her father got angry.
Mia’s first secret was her power to hear animals and insects thoughts. If she was near them, she heard them clear as day. Sometimes if there was a whole group of gnats, her head would fill up with tiny little squeaky voices and she would get very dizzy. It never actually caused her any pain, but it was annoying, confusing and overwhelming at times. She didn’t have any way to turn it off, or at least she didn’t know of any way to turn it off. But she didn’t really want to anyways, it was her own little secret superpower that she got to have all to herself. Even though at times it was scary, at least she didn’t feel completely alone with her power. She didn’t have very many things that were just her own, but this was definitely one of them. She only wished that her superpower worked on people. Then she could maybe understand why people at school didn't like her. Or she could find out why her father was so mean to her.
She walked through the woods and came out on the other side. There was a huge field and her heart filled with peace as the tall grasses brushed across her fingertips. She had never made it out to the other end of the woods before and the beauty of the field overtook her soft blue eyes. It was around twelve o’clock in the afternoon so the sun was at its fullest. It shined over everything, sort of shimmering in a way.
Mia stood there appreciating the beauty when her thoughts were interrupted by two voices. One talking low with drawn out slow words and the other talking high pitched and really fast. Mia looked around, she couldn’t seem to pick out where the voices were coming from. She saw a bird on a rather faraway tree, but she knew that she couldn't be hearing him from where she was. That was all she could see, no other creature was in sight. The voices started talking again and she located the sound to be near to the ground. Curious, she very carefully took a few steps in front of her, making sure not to squash any insects. Then she saw them, two swallowtail caterpillars moving at a slow pace. Trying not to frighten them, she tiptoed till she was about six inches away from them and then she crouched down onto her knees. They must have heard her because both of them stopped cold in their tracks and fell very silent. “It’s okay,” Mia whispered, “I’m not going to hurt you.”. The caterpillar on the right side slowly inched around until he was facing her. The caterpillar knew that he should be frightened because humans are predators, but for some reason when he saw the girl's face he felt at ease. He believed that what the girl had said was true and he didn’t feel like she was there to harm them.
“Alphonse I think she is telling the truth. It’s a young girl, turn around,” Oscar said.
“I don’t think I should, remember last time when,” Alphonse rambled nervously.
Oscar interrupted, “I know, I know what happened last time, but it won’t be like that this time. I have a good feeling.”
Alphonse very hesitantly, turned around and looked Mia in the eyes. He too felt instant relief when he saw her welcoming, big and happy blue eyes.
“Hi I’m Mia,” she smiled, “Did I over hear you guys say that your names are Oscar and Alphonse?”
“Wait you can hear us?!” questioned Alphonse who was startled by her response.
Mia responded, “Yes I can, do you guys want to be my friends, or at least just play a game with me?”
“Yeah that would be super cool,” Alphonse replied.
Oscar agreed hesitantly and then they all started to brainstorm what type of game they could play. They couldn’t think of anything to play and then Mia got an idea. “Hey guys do you hear that noise? I think something's coming! I think it might be a bigfoot-like creature! A ferocious beast!” Oscar and Alphonse didn’t hear anything but were still panicked and wondered what it could be. Poor little Alphonse trembled in fear that the beast would come and get them. Mia grabbed Oscar and Alphonse and cupped them into her hands. Then she stood up, looked around and started running.
“Where are you going? Can you see the beast Mia?” Oscar asked. Mia slowed down and stopped running.
“TIME-OUT!” she yelled, “There isn’t really a beast, I’m just pretending. But you guys have to pretend too!” She sighed and then yelled, “Alright! TIME-IN!” And she was back to running again. “Quick Alphonse I’m going to hold you up and you tell me if you see him beyond those trees!”
“Ahhh yes, he is there, I see him! Go back the other way, go back, go back!” They continued to run back and forth getting chased by this imaginary ferocious beast. A half hour had passed by and Mia laid on her stomach in the tall grasses exhausted from all that playing. Alphonse and Oscar were laying right in front of her face and they let her catch her breath before they started talking.
“Who knew you could have that much fun in such little time?” Oscar question.
“Yeah, who knew?” Mia answered solemnly.
“Wait, you don’t do things like this all the time?” Alphonse asked.
“No, I never had any friends to play these sorts of games with,” she said, “until now of course.” And she got the biggest smile spread across her face just thinking about how she made friends.
“MIAAAA! MIAAA!,” a voice shouted. Mia jumped at the sound of her dad’s voice echoing through the earth.
“Oh no,” Mia said and almost started to cry. She knew it was time to send them back.
“MIAAA! MIAAA!,” Her dad’s voice boomed and everything shook including the caterpillars.
That’s when Mia got the greatest idea. She put Oscar and Alphonse into her coat pocket and whispered, “Shhh just don't move or make any noise you're going to be alright. I'm not going to leave you.” Then Mia started to take off, she started running toward her house as fast as she could. She had left her house in the first place because her dad was drinking again and he started getting violent. She hates when he gets drunk because he starts slamming around the house breaking things. She didn’t want to go back but she knew if she waited to go he would be even more mad once he found her, especially because she had left without his permission.
She came through the last row of trees in the woods and entered her back yard. She saw her dad standing in the back door of her trailer fuming. “Where have you been young lady?!” he slurred. He wasn’t going to pause for an answer, he was on a roll. “You are nine years old and you think you can just prance around and go wherever you like? Huh? Is that really what you think? Well, let me tell you something, you make me SICK! I give the orders around this place. Get in this house right now!” he said as he grabbed her by her short blonde locks and drug her into their kitchen. The phone rang just as he was slamming the door shut and turning around. Perfect timing for Mia to turn around and run into her room.
Crying, she sat on her bed and pulled out Oscar and Alphonse. They were a little shook up from the run and she read their thoughts and knew they were frightened. “It’s okay now, I promise. Look around, this is your room too now, do you like it? I know it's a little small but I think we can make do.” Before they could answer, Mia’s door flung open.
“Hey! You think you can walk away from me when I’m talking to you? I was not done yelling at y- eh what... what is on your bed?” her dad asked disgusted.
“M-my friends dad, they are my friends. I found them. Their names are Oscar and Alphonse.”
“Their names are dead and deader, hand them over!”
“No! Don’t touch them I promise you they won’t hurt anything,” Mia pleaded. Her dad not listening grabbed both caterpillars walked through the kitchen and out the back door. Mia followed him shouting, “Don’t hurt them!” over and over. He through both Oscar and Alphonse onto the cement steps and squashed them at the same time.
“There, I hope you learned your lesson, I’m going out for a while, I’ll be back by sundown and don’t go anywhere, alright?” He left through the front door without waiting for a reply. Mia heard his engine roar up and fade away. But that was it, that's all she heard. Everything else in Mia’s mind was silent, empty. Who would she talk to now? Even if she figured out how to talk to the dead, Oscar and Alphonse wouldn’t want to be her friends anymore.
There was only one thing now that she could do to help the matter. She dug two holes with a kitchen spoon under the front tree in the woods. The holes were extra big because she wanted them to have extra room. She placed Oscar down first in the hole on the left and then Alphonse in the second hole on the right. She cried as she buried them and gave some words to how much she loved them and would miss them. “I am so sorry this had to happen to you, you were my best friends and now you're gone. I shouldn’t have taken you into my house and risked your life like that. I am truly sorry. I hope you are in heaven having fun and I hope that you can forgive me, goodbye friends. Goodbye Oscar and Alphonse.”
Mia’s life went back to the way things were before she met Oscar and Alphonse. But Mia wasn’t the same, she didn’t have any hope or curiosity anymore. She didn’t even succeed in school. She stopped trying to make friends because she was scared it would end up like when she made friends with Oscar and Alphonse. She was afraid her father would ruin it like he ruins everything that’s good. And the most disappointing thing of all, Mia had lost her super power. It just shut off on its own and she couldn’t find a way to turn the voices of any creature back on. She never understood another living thing again. The only thing she was left with was her other secret, the secret that made her feel sick, the secret that her dad was mean to her. She lived the rest of her childhood in a lonely silence, that is of course not including her dad screaming at her.