It was the first day of the year and the last day of my life.
But we’ll get to that soon enough. Let’s rewind.
The day is June 16th, 2007. That was the first day I saw her. I was at the playground with my little brother, Toby.
“Higher, Maggie! Higher!” he’d shout as I pushed him on the swing.
It was always cute to hear him shreak as the swing lifted away from the ground. At 5 years old, he was the youngest of my siblings, and the only one I could tolerate for extended periods of time. I was 16 and my youngest sisters, Ariel and Jess were both 12, and they were as insufferable as they were filles with raging hormones.
Toby was a breath of fresh air. I loved bringing him to the park; I had always liked the idea of having kids of my own someday and it brought a smile to my face to see him playing.
But as I was sitting there pushing him and listening to him beg me to push him higher, I happened to look up and see a little girl in a pink dress with white polka dots and a yellow ribbon tied in her hair. She was sitting in the grass, pulling the blades out one by one.
Almost as if responding to my look, she glanced up at me and as her brown hair fell away from her face, I noticed a curious scar in the shape of a question mark that curved from her eyebrow, around her right eye and down to the corner of her mouth. She looked me in the eye, slowly put a finger to her lips and winked at me.
I was taken aback and blinked rapidly but as soon as my eyes focused back on where she was sitting, she was gone. I wrote it off as an off occurrence and went on about my day.
About a month later, I had just gotten my first car for my birthday, so I decided to take Toby and the girls to the pool. They were all playing in the kiddie pool, splashing around and letting Toby dunk them under the water. I was laying in a lean chair, trying to tan.
As I lay there, I heard the giggle of a little girl from behind me. I jumped up and looked toward the source. There was that same little girl: pink dress with white polka dots, a yellow ribbon in her hair, and the question mark scar on the right side of her face. Again, she was pulling individual blades of grass out of the ground.
She looked up, smiling, and shushed me with one finger as she winked at me. I looked around to see if anybody else had seen her, but as I looked back again, she was gone. This time, I felt a cold chill run down my spine. I grabbed the kids and went back home.
For the next couple days, I couldn’t stop thinking that little girl. Who was she? WHAT was she? And where did she come from? Why was I the only person to see her?
By the next time I saw her, it was mid-September and I was at a football game with my boyfriend, Caleb. We were sitting in the top row of the bleachers with my best friends Sadie and Danielle. We were cheering for our team when I heard a voice from behind. It immediately sent a chill down my spine as I recognized it.
I turned and behold, that damn little girl was there again. Only this time, she wasn’t pulling blades of grass. She was standing out in the field behind the bleachers, holding a knife that looked much too big in het tiny little hands. She was smiling at me and waving with the knife. She slowly dragged the knife in front of her throat as she smiled at me.
I was so terrified that I shut my eyes and turned around, knowing that if I looked back she would already be gone.
“Maggie, are you okay?” Caleb asked, a look of concern on his face.
“Yeah, just thought I saw something in the field,” I replied.
I went home shortly after that.
From that point on, I started seeing her more regularly. At first, it was once or twice a week. She always had some kind of sharp object in her hand; knives, scissors, even broken shards of glass. It eventually got to the point where I saw her every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I was scared shitless.
By Thanksgiving, it had gotten worse. As if that were even possible at this point.
My family was sitting around the table eating.
“Maggie, can you pass the cranberry sauce please?” my mom asked.
I picked up the half-empty bowl and as I looked up to hand it to her and the girl was standing behind her with a straight razor to her throat. I screamed at the top of my lungs and dropped the bowl, and it shattered into a million pieces.
“Maggie, what the hell was that?” my dad screamed.
“Didn’t you see her!?” I said.
“The girl behind mom!”
“There’s nobody there, sweetie. You must have imagined it,” he said.
But I know I didn’t. That damn girl was everywhere. All the time. I was starting to believe that she was haunting me.
After we finished eating, I went to my computer and tried to see if there was any information about this little girl in any obituaries. I searched and searched for hours but I had very little to show for it. I was just starting to lose hope when I found an article that looked promising.
It was dated from March of 2001.
The article read as follows:
‘The search for missing 7-year-old Casey Thomas continues with no end in sight. Law enforcement officials were only able to find her teddy bear, which was located 15 miles from her home in Richmond, VA where she was last seen. Sources say that a black Toyota Camry was last seen parked across the street from the Thomas residence the day Casey went missing. Anybody with any information and her is urged to come forward to the authorities immediately. Casey was last seen wearing a pink dress with white polka dots and a yellow ribbon in her hair.’
So now this little girl had a name. I scrolled down farther and found the update from a month later.
‘The body of 7-year-old Casey Thomas was found today 8 miles from the gate of Fort Belvoir, VA. The body showed signs of s****y and abuse, and a large cut in the shape of a question mark was found on the right side of her face. Officials have no other leads on who the assailant was but encourage anyone with information to come forward immediately.’
As I finished reading, I felt as if all the air had been sucked out of my lungs. This dead little girl had been haunting me now for 5 months, and I had a sinking feeling that it was only going to get worse. As I exited out of my browser and closed my laptop I heard a chillingly familiar voice behind my left ear.
“Now you know what happened to me.”
I spun around to see Casey only a few feet behind me, this time holding a little teddy bear. Only now there was dirt all over her dress, scrapes on her knees, and blood dripping from the scar on her face. Now she looked dead. I felt the air grow cold. She looked at me with cold, lifeless eyes.
“Now you have to be my friend.”
She smiled and revealed a set of rotting teeth and in the blink an eye she had disappeared.
I didn’t know what she meant but I knew with certainty that I was going to find out. And I was terrified at the possibilities.
For the next several weeks, Casey appeared several times a day, always in a various state of decay. She always whispered to me that she wanted me to join her so that we could be friends forever. She even began to touch me.
One night as I was sleeping, I woke in the dark to the sensation of something cold touching my leg. I reached over to turn on the light and I saw her sitting on my bed, her teddy bear in her lap and a butcher’s knife in her hand. I froze.
“Are you ready to join me, Maggie?”
I clenched my eyes shut and when I opened them, she was gone. But a small piece of paper was left where she had been sitting. It was slightly crumpled and covered in dirt. On it, the words, ‘We’ll be together forever. Let’s have a New Year’s party!’ in tiny, messy letters were as clear as day. My heart sank. New Year’s eve was tomorrow.
I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. I kept thinking about that note. What did it mean? What was she planning?
By the time the sun rose, I had reasoned that she was going to try and kill me. How and when exactly I wasn’t entirely sure. But I wasn’t going to let that happen. The rest of the day, I kept myself on high alert. Much to my surprise, I didn’t see Casey once. I was starting to believe that maybe she was gone for good.
Around 7 o’clock, I headed to Sadie’s for our New Year’s Eve party. Everyone else was already there. For the next few hours we sat around and ate snacks, played games and had a few drinks. I had forgotten all about Casey.
Around 10 I started getting drowsy so I told Caleb that I was going to take a quick nap but to wake me up in an hour. He agreed and I went and laid down in Sadie’s room. As my eyes were closing I saw Casey in the corner of the room and faintly heard her say,
“It’s almost time.”
When I woke it was dark. I could hear the sound of water droplets falling to the floor. The room was cold and smelled of stale beer and mold. I knew right away that I was no longer in Sadie’s bed.
I heard Casey’s voice somewhere off in the distance.
“This is where I died. This is where we can be friends forever.”
My heart sank and I began to cry. I looked around for any way to escape but all I saw was a small digital clock that read 11:59 PM. Oh god. A minute left.
I tried to get up but I felt something wrapped around my body, constricting my every move.
I was f****d.
Just as this realization hit me, the lights snapped on. When my eyes finally adjusted, I sae that I was in a small room with cement walls. There were blood stains on the walls and floor, scattered in different directions. I turned my head to the left and Casey was sitting on the floor next to me, holding a rusty blade that looked as if it was covered in dried blood. My heart dropped.
“Please don’t do this,” I sobbed.
She cocked her head to the side and just smiled at me. Her lips parted.
“Happy New Year, Maggie.”
She lifted the blade.
The last thing I heard before it all went black was my own deafening scream.
Some weeks later, a new reporter was on the air, talking a missing 17-year-old girl by the name of Maggie Hampton. She’d last been seen on New Year’s Eve with her friends before she mysteriously vanished, seemingly into thin air.
Miles away from said reporter, a young woman was walking through a park in Richmond when she noticed to girls, one very young and the other of high school age. They were sitting in the grass, plucking individual blades out one by one. They looked up at the woman to reveal matching scars in the shape of a question mark, running from their eyebrows, around their eyes and down to the corners of their mouths. They smiled as the put one finger to their lips and winked at her before vanishing.
That poor woman. If only she knew.