The Sandbox



I was playing in my sandbox with my best friend, Jean Marie, just after dusk on a warm summer evening. We had plenty of light from the patio. We were eight years old, and Jean Marie lived next door.

It was a quiet neighborhood. Nice houses, all of them white, we lived in a development. Some people referred to the houses as McMansions. Daddy made a lot of money, and so did Jean Marie's Daddy. Well, her Mommy worked too, but mine didn't.

My backyard was half an acre large, and arbor trees surrounded it like a fence. All the houses were like that. We didn't have a dog, but I couldn't believe that in 28 families, no one had a dog. There were no fences, I guess dogs weren't allowed.

Jean Marie was sleeping over my house for the weekend. Her Mommy and Daddy were away for the weekend, some retreat or something. Next month, I would stay at Jean Marie's for the weekend so my Mommy and Daddy could go away. The six of us were like family.

My Mommy called for us to come in. We asked for a few more minutes, we were having so much fun. Our plea was met with silence, which meant Mom allowed it.

Those last few minutes turned into my worst nightmare.

I was sitting outside my sandbox, digging with a shovel. Jean Marie was sitting in the box with a watering can, trying to sculpt a castle.

I didn't see it until Jean Marie screamed. Her cries were like bleats from lambs being led to slaughter. Two mangled, yellow hands reached from under the sandbox and grabbed her. It was over in an instant. Jean Marie, and the yellow arms, were sucked under the sandbox. I screamed as loud as I could, and with the most bravery an eight year old could muster, I furiously dug with my hands, trying to find her. She was gone.

My Mommy and Daddy ran out to the yard. They repeatedly asked me what happened to Jean Marie. I told them, but they didn't believe me. They weren't mad at me, they just thought I repressed the kidnapping, and in its place, I was telling them this wild story about the arms.

The police, then Jean Marie's parents came to the house. Her Mommy begged me to tell the truth. I was telling the truth, but even the police didn't believe me. Later that night, an ambulance was called. They said I was in hysterics.

Of course, no one ever saw Jean Marie again. Well, I do, in nightmares. She bleats like a lamb and has mangled, yellow arms and yellow eyes. She beckons me to join her, but I can't.

I live in a room with pillows for walls. The room is square, and I have no windows. Well, there is one, high up on the door, shatterproof glass they say. I never leave this room, only to be taken to shower once in a while. They bring me meals and sit in here with me until I am done. I sleep on a mattress on the floor, with no sheets. It is safer that way. Most of the time my arms are free, but when I dream of yellow Jean Marie, they put me in a backward coat-like thing until I calm down.

I do not understand time. I have little boobs now, and hair under my arms, but I am underweight, so I've not gotten a cycle. I don't know what that is, and I don't care.

Jean Marie's family had come to visit me earlier, but they were not allowed to visit me anymore, because all they could talk about was Jean Marie, and then I'd have to wear the coat again.

Mom and Dad used to visit, but now, Mom just comes. I ask for Daddy and she says he is busy at work, but that he loves me very much.

Once in a while, I will ask her how old I am, and she'll tell me, but I forget. Everything leaves my mind after the Jean Marie dream.

The End


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