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Not Good With Children

kirasderek submitted:

I live in a pretty rural, poverty-stricken part of Louisiana. My parents always did the best they could to buy me anything I wanted, taking out Christmas loans and the like, but sometimes my gifts were…..impractical. When I was about ten or eleven, I demanded a pair of roller blades – it was the era when you weren’t anyone if your birthday party wasn’t held at the skating rink, and I was pretty good at it.

Problem was, our land is a bunch of uneven grass and woods with a driveway of loose rocks. We live right on the road, but I was a kid and it’s a pretty well-used highway. None of my friends really had concrete around their houses either, and they all lived on the same types of roads – stretches of highway in the middle of nowhere that got enough traffic to worry parents. I had nowhere to skate but the occasional birthday party.

A few months later, my grandparents moved out of our trailer’s spare room and into a house about ten minutes away. I was very excited when I realized the place had been a combination store and home before and had three large square concrete porch areas, all connecting a bit at the corners. I’d finally have a place to skate! At that age, even making laps around the same 60 feet or so didn’t get boring.

The trailer next door was a really common type of household around here: several underfed, loud kids and their single mother in a home about a year from falling apart completely. My grandparents were nice enough to the kids, but I didn’t get along well with children even when I was one, and they were all at least four years younger than me, a huge gap at the time. I’d sometimes wave at them if I saw them playing in their overgrown yard, but otherwise I kept to myself, practicing skating backwards, kicking and pushing like I was on a skateboard, and anything else that might make me look cool in front of my friends.

One day I’d been making laps for about half an hour, just about ready to give up and go inside for a snack. I rounded the corner farthest from the door we used as the entrance and had to lean back on my heel brakes hard to stop from crashing into a small girl sitting cross legged on the part of the porch closer to the next door neighbors. She couldn’t have been more than four or five and looked unkempt – stained white sundress that looked like it probably belonged to an older sibling before her, greasy hair, and grubby hands. I remember that most, her dirty fingernails resting just above her eyebrows as she held her head in her hands and cried.

I assumed one of her brothers had pushed her into the dirt or stole a toy, but I couldn’t be sure, and I’d just almost run the poor thing over. Awkwardly, I tried to ask her where her mom was, but it didn’t seem like she’d heard me. I asked what was wrong, worried she was hurt or something, but I got no answer. Nervous but feeling protective, I carefully crouched, skates wobbling, and reached to touch her arm.

Something stopped me. I can’t say I felt a chill, or anything like that, and she hadn’t stopped crying or said anything. But I pulled my hand back before I’d even come within a few inches of her, as fast as if she’d burned me. I rationalized it as not being my place, since I didn’t even know the names of these kids or how she might be hurt. I scrambled a little trying to stand up, but once I had I quickly skated around to the front door, glancing back to where I’d come from, as if I thought she might follow me.

I quickly went and told my grandmother, the Designated Adult, since I thought that was the responsible thing to do. The girl really could be hurt, after all. I described the girl to her, figuring she’d know which one it was and could maybe use her name and talk her into going home and telling her mom what was wrong.

The children next door were in Rapides Parish on the other side of the state for two weeks with their father for the summer. The oldest of the children were all boys, in fact, and the rowdiest ones – always screaming. I guess I was taking the sudden silence for granted.

Was it a ghost? I don’t know. I know at least two people died in the house, one in the bath and one in the room that had once been the store, but they were both elderly. The nearest things to the house besides our directly next door neighbors were a large horse farm and a convenience store perhaps a mile away. I can’t imagine why anyone’s child would have wandered so far from either, or why she would have chosen to plant herself on the hard concrete when there were lawn chairs and lots of grass a few feet away. But I do know that from then on, I felt a sense of dread rounding the corner to that side of the porch, and quickly decided that lining mattresses up in the storeroom to practice tumbling runs was Much Cooler than rollerblading anyway.

FYNK James: 7/10 The writing in this one’s interesting, I forgot  I was reading a ghost story partway through. Thanks for sharing the scares!




by cnkguy
Not Good With Children

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