In early spring,
A secret needs to be confessed to someone.
The stream twisted down the side of the craggy hill, the constant rush of brown water almost mind-numbing. One could sit by the stream for hours and just watch the hundreds of plastic bags, glass bottles, and crushed cans rush past. Hardly anyone remembered the stream was still there; the town preferred to forget it, just as they did with everything that could tarnish their reputation. The only ones who still remembered were the ones that were left alone.
The first thing that was out of the ordinary that Monday was her.
In early spring, it was common for the lonelies to be at the markets looking for easy pay or scrounging around for dropped coins or spoiled food, but this one seemed to be different. Instead of running after the older ones, the girl who looked to be about 12 years old sat by the bank.
That was the second thing that was odd; she seemed to be laughing as she prodded around in the shallow water with a stout branch, stirring up the mud. There was no rhyme nor reason to what she was doing and I watched, bemused, as she continued to kneel in the mud and laugh.
Finally, after hours of just watching, it had gotten to the stage where the sun has dipped below the horizon, yet still illuminates the world with a cold grey light. The warm wind whistled through the tree branches as she stood up. I noticed then the third thing: her dress should have been covered in the slime from the bank, yet the only blemishes seemed to be red stains on the cuffs and around. She crossed over to the clump of bushes on the other, daintily skipping through the freezing water. When she did, she knelt, crawled into the middle, and began to pull a long log-like object out. It seemed to take all her effort, and afterwards, she set upon the shape with a small paring knife, gouging shapes into it. I knew by know it wasn’t a log. She turned suddenly on the spot and looked straight at me, her gaze piercing, almost accusing. I moved forward unconsciously until I was standing less than a metre away, staring into her cold eyes. I was about to reach out and grab her when she held out a small, pale hand to me. It was a small gold hoop earring covered in the stains of dried blood and flecks of dirt. She looked down at her hand, almost as if she regretted showing me. I reached out to take her hand…
The sun the next morning rose just as it had any other day; slowly, lethargically, and with the air of normality. The town rose lazily at ten just as they did the Tuesday before. The only difference was that the stream was no longer filled with garbage, it held… something else. A small body with a bloodstained dress and stringy hair was floating face up in the brown water