The Veiled Girl :
In 1998, I was in grade 7 of school and undergoing a disorienting move from Manitoba to a small town on the boarder of Arkansas and Oklahoma. I wasn’t used to the lack of buildings, and in turn, lack of places to go. The town’s main road led straight through it’s center and consisted of a few restaurants, a shanty motel, and some shopping centers. Beyond that, the only source of entertainment was a bowling ally and a movie theatre that always seemed a few months behind.
My refuge as an only child from my parents were the mounds of dirt and half-built houses that were strewn throughout my developing neighborhood. I would jump from hill to hill as a giant monster or act like I was on the moon. The houses served as secret lairs, caves, and space stations. Every day was a new adventure and going home was simply a reset. The next day always held new things to discover. I tried to enjoy this as much as I could because I started school the next week. I wasn’t sure why my family had to move in the middle of March break, but at least I got a fresh start.
That Saturday, we invited over the family across the street. The dinner my mother spent an hour on consisted of a roast with vegetables. We all happily enjoyed it. I sat in on the conversations that conspired later that evening. The family involved the mother and father of a recently adopted child, a girl of 12. She stayed home due to the fact that she was still adjusting to her new life. And that was the end of it. They went home without a word more of the mysterious girl as if they were offended in her mentioning. One would think, an adoption is something worth talking about. No such case.
Sunday came about, and church came with it. A morning where silence and good behavior were expected and I had to wear my scratchy, button-up shirt. We sat in the third pew on the left. The family we met yesterday was there. They sat in the back corner against the wall keeping their heads down while constantly surveying the room. Between the two of them sat a third, smaller person. They wore a short yellow dress and little black shoes that shimmered from the light coming in the window. It was the girl, or so I assumed, she was covered by a white, embroidered blanket over her head and face. I continually looked back at them tying to be as inconspicuous as possible to get a good look at them. The couple seemed to be clenching the wrists of the girl, restraining her from getting up, though she wasn’t struggling to break free. She didn’t even seem phased by the sheet that segregated her from the world. She just sat, stone still. I heard murmurings from behind me saying she was a demon spawn, but I disregarded this, it being church and people can be overly superstitious. They didn’t twitch as the congregation left the chapel. They were waiting to see the priest for something. As I walked by, however, I took a final glance at them. The mother was looking at the front of the church, the father stared at the ground, and through the sheet that separated us, the girl was looking at me.
After dinner that Sunday, there was to be another hour of light and my mother allowed me outside for a short time. As usual, I ran to my favorite house. It was different in that it’s spindly frame supported a solid ceiling and thus an attic I could climb up into. There were a few cracks between the plywood boards that sealed the attic from the cooling Spring air, allowing razors of light inside. I had only found it two days ago, but I hadn’t been anywhere since. Upon my initial entry that Friday, it was a little creepy having so little light inside as opposed to the other houses, but it quickly became an atmosphere where my imagination could run ramped.
This day, however, returned me to that initial feeling of something watching me in the dark expanse. This was partially due to the time of day, but mostly the days experience with the girl. Her hidden stare gave me chills from the thought of being seen by one who could not be seen. I would not sleep that night, not because of what happened but what was to happen yet. I went to the attic. It was dark, very dark. There were slivers of soft blue light that entered the cracks and they obstructed my view of the opposite side of the room. However, without the visual evidence, I could hear something across from me. It was the sound of… squishing, crunching, popping.
At my feet, there were shreds of white cloth crawling around my feet in the eddies of wind. I backed against the slanted wall on my left and began to get closer. My visibility slowly grew stronger as I approached, one by one breaking through the moonlight walls. I couldn’t see fully until I was only a few feet away. I passed through the final beam of light to reach the dark corner. I should have ran away from the start to shield myself from the evil I was about to witness. But how was I to know? The thing that was there in the corner was small, yellow and had long black hair running down it’s back. I call her a “thing” because she did not look fully human. Her face was the most terrifying thing I had ever seen, and to this day. A wide, darkly rimmed mouth was spread across the bottom half of her head. The lower portion of her nose was gone; ripped off and gushing blood. And above this mess, lay two gaping holes where her eyes once rested. Disturbing further was her lower half. Her legs, her legs were gone; torn from her body in a brutal manner. It was horrible that someone would do this to her. At least, I wished someone had done it contrary to the horrible fact that she did it to herself.
That sound I initially heard had stopped the moment I saw her. Between her chewed-off fingers was a leg, one of two. As it dripped and oozed it’s blood in a shimmering pool, the girl was turned away from it. She was looking at me again. Hollow head. Smile wide.
I don’t know how long I stood there, but I ran home. I didn’t utter a word to my parents as I charged by them to my room. I just went to bed and cried. The paper the next morning reported a maimed girl being found.
The story was altered, but I knew the truth.