The little girl stood in the middle of the park, staring at the grass. Around her, other children played on monkey bars and swing sets. They played chase and kicked balls and laughed. She stared at the ground, not moving, not speaking.
Sometimes, the other kids would bump into her then reel away in fright. It wasn’t that she was hideous to look at; in fact, she was a cute little girl, with long blonde hair and stylish clothing. But something about her made their skin crawl, made their hair stand on end. They would back away quickly and run off to their parents or to join the other children and pretend nothing was wrong. She gave no notice, made no response.
Eventually one of the mothers standing around the park walked over and kneeled beside her.
“Are you sorry that you spoke to me so disrespectfully?” the woman asked in a gentle voice.
“Yes, ma’am,” said the girl. “I won’t do it again."
The woman shook her head. “That’s what you said the last time. How do I know you’ll remember this time?”
The girl stared at the ground. She didn’t move. She whispered.
“Please, mommy. Please may I have my soul back?”
(c) 2010 by Tony Simmons
from the '366 Days' project