Charlotte draws her attention back to the present. Lenita has disappeared. She must have been stood there for a few moments but it felt like an hour the way the dream replayed in her mind. I must tell someone. Is Charlotte’s first thought. She doesn’t care anymore if they think she’s crazy. She must tell her parents, even if it means being taken to the place where the screams come from. How did it have today’s date on it? I really must be crazy. Many thoughts are running through Charlotte’s head as she scurries towards home, hoping her parents will be there. Reaching halfway across the field, Charlotte isn’t sure why she does it but something compels her to look back. The familiar sight of Lenita is walking out of the park and speedily walking, almost jogging, straight towards Charlotte with what looks like a large kitchen knife in her left hand. Horror grips Charlotte’s heart and she runs. Her feet drive her forward to the closest place where there might be people, the new park. She isn’t the fastest runner so she knows she won’t be able to make it home or even to town before Lenita catches up with her. The park is her only option. She tries forcing thoughts of her dream and its resemblance to reality from her mind as she runs but the date on the newspaper terrifies her. Reaching the park, she tries to look for anywhere to hide other than the wooden climbing frame but she has no time and she can feel Lenita getting closer. Clambering in as quietly and quickly as possible, slight relief befalls her shoulders when she finds it empty. Crouching in the middle of the box shape, Charlotte forces her breathing to slow down as she hears footsteps crunching on the bark covered playground. This park is smaller than the old one and the footsteps are getting closer. Charlotte holds her breath and covers her mouth. 1,2,3,4,5,6. She counts in her head to stop herself from screaming in panic. The footsteps begin to sound further away and she relaxes.
A long, cold arm pounces through one of the gaps in the climbing frame and grabs Charlotte’s arm, causing her to hit her head on the roof. She screams in alarm and grapples at the arm, pulling at the fingers and the death hold they have on her. Somehow managing to free herself Charlotte climbs through a connecting tunnel and jumps off the climbing frame and onto the floor. Stumbling as she falls, she quickly scurries to her feet and carries her weight forward. Running as fast as she can without paying attention to where she is going. She’s most focused on getting away from the sound of the loud ‘Thump’ of the footsteps behind her. Within five minutes she runs back up to the familiar sight of the derelict park.
“No! This can’t be happening!”
Charlotte breathlessly shouts in a panicked acknowledgement of her dreams substantial resemblance to her current situation. Reaching the rusty slide, she stops and turns to see if Lenita is behind her. Not yet, she still has time. She looks for somewhere to hide but unlike the new park, this place is just a foundation of what it once was. Charlotte weighs her options. If she runs for home Lenita is sure to catch up with her. She could possibly make it to some of the shops on the outskirts of town but they’re a bit further out than she would feel comfortable running. Her only option is to hide, she thinks to herself as she spots a selection of shrubs to her left.
Lenita’s voice floats in a wave of terror towards Charlotte’s ears. Looking up towards the sound, Lenita is walking towards her with a haunting expression of calm on her features. She still carries the knife in her hand. Charlotte tries to run but her legs are stuck as if she isn’t in control of them. She can’t drive them forward. She focuses her attention and all her efforts on trying to move her feet. They feel like stone, so heavy under their weight. Charlotte feels her fight fading and her grasp on what’s real begins to fizz into the air.
Charlotte shouts at the looming figure. Crying, large tears splash onto the ground in waves.
“Why are you doing this! Please stop!”
Lenita’s steps toward Charlotte don’t hesitate. A target in mind. She has her victim in her sights.
Charlotte looks around for help, screaming at the top of her lungs in what can only be described as a child’s plea for help but it’s too late. She feels a sudden pressure in her chest like she has been punched. Looking down, Charlotte can see the knife being forced into her chest. It takes a moment for Charlotte to feel the pain. It’s excruciating, like nothing she’s ever felt. Her life ebbs away as she tries to focus. Blood is on her hands, dripping from her fingers as she tries pulling the knife. It’s futile, Lenita is strong and pushes it further in, forcing Charlotte to fall back on the ground. Her mind becomes filled with a fog. Things begin to darken. Vaguely aware that someone is knelt over her she focuses her attention. Lenita is looming over her. Her cold eyes are focused on Charlotte’s as if sucking the energy from her. Charlotte begins to feel tired. She can smell death and decay. She can also smell iron as a taste of metal fills her mouth. The last thing Charlotte remembers is the feeling of silky hair on her face as Lenita whispers in her ear.
Charlotte’s World – Chapter 6
“Girl commits suicide in abandoned playground” The newspaper header would read.
“Parents reported Charlotte Evans missing after three days without an appearance. After an afternoon of searching, police find the decaying corpse in an old playground next to a dilapidated slide. The single stab wound was categorised as being self-inflicted due to the lack of evidence and the young girl’s previously diagnosed problems. Parents are distraught over the loss of their daughter. School friends of the deceased, Dorothy, Hannah and Tony tell of Charlotte’s creative and beautiful personality”
The article became front page news that week. Charlotte’s parents made sure to keep a clipping of their 5-minute fame for future boasting opportunities whilst the girls that bullied Charlotte became more popular for being able to tell so many stories of the girl who committed suicide.
Charlotte’s life and death became nothing more than a leaf in the breeze. There was never any mention of Lenita, the blonde girl with no teeth. If anyone had taken the time they would have noticed other newspaper articles with worryingly similar characteristics. One tells of two boys who committed suicide in an abandoned house, three towns over. Nobody ever knew of the others, just like they never knew the truth in Charlotte’s sad ending, and with Charlotte’s death, the stories end.