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The Girl Next Door This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Sara watched excitedly as the moving van pulled into the driveway next door. She had never been this happy in her whole life. New neighbors! A family of three, living right across the way! No more spending afternoons alone while her parents worked. She watched a figure in the yard direct the moving men. A girl, maybe 10 or 11, (the same age as Sara,) with long black hair and a red dress. Sara desperately wanted to go introduce herself, but her parents had said not to go anywhere near the new family until they had met them in person. Sara sighed. When were her mom and dad going to realize that she could take care of herself?

Suddenly, the girl in the front yard turned around and stared directly at her. Sara almost jumped out of her seat, but then the girl smiled and skipped over, rapping her delicate fingers against the glass. Sara quickly lifted it.

“Hi!” The girl exclaimed. She stuck her hand out. “I’m Ruby. What’s your name?”

“Uhh... S-Sara.” She grabbed the offered hand and shook it. “Welcome to the neighborhood.”

“Thanks,” Ruby said, taking her hand back and swishing her dress around. She looked up curiously. “I’m really bored. Do you wanna come out and play?”

Sara had been dreading this question. She did, desperately, but her parents had already told her no.

“Sorry, I can’t My parents won’t let me come over until they meet your parents.” Ruby’s eyes hardened and she frowned.

“Why did they say that? We’re the same age and my parents let me do anything I want. Why aren’t your parents like that?” Sara looked down.

“They’re never around to talk about things much.” She said Ruby grabbed her hand.

“I have a great idea!” she cried. “You can come and play with me and my parents, then you can come home and tell your parents how nice mine are! Please?” Sara hesitated for only a moment before deciding that was the best plan she had ever heard. She quickly climbed out the window. By then the moving van had vanished, so the girls were free to go inside. Ruby took her hand again.

“My parents are upstairs. Go in the door at the end of the hallway, I need to get something down here.” Sara nodded and climbed the stairs. It was much darker up here. She reached the door and walked in. The curtains were drawn, but she could see two figures sitting next to an empty fireplace in the corner. She cocked her head. She had entered loudly, but they hadn’t moved at all to see who it was. She heard Ruby come in behind her and shut the door.

“Ruby, are your parents okay?” Sara turned. Ruby stood by the door. The light escaping from the blinds caught a steel object held in her right hand, and she smiled, but it wasn’t the nice smile she had used to get Sara to come over.

“Oh, them?” Ruby asked, gesturing. The light revealed the thing in her hand to be sharp, too. “Don’t worry about them. They’re fine. We’ll all get to play together in a little bit.” She caressed the thing in her hand lovingly, touching it with her fingertips, before looking back at Sara.

“Ready to have some fun?”




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