Chapter 1 - Rose
I pushed myself higher and higher, the wind flowing through my blonde hair. This was my favorite park. There are never any other kids here. I get to play on whatever I want and never have to share. Mom calls me selfish, but I don’t care. I share enough at school.
As I brought my legs behind me, I could feel a pull within me. I stopped swinging, dragging my feet along the ground, coming to a stop. My heart was pounding in my chest. There was someone I should meet. And they were close. I searched around the playground, but the only person there was my mom, and her nose was stuck in a book.
Closing my eyes, I let my legs lead me. I knew they wouldn’t fail. I could hear my mom calling my name, but I didn’t care. Nothing else mattered. I opened my eyes, skipping closer to the song my heart was beating to. That’s when I saw them; the bright gray eyes. They were barely visible beneath the shade of a giant tree, but they were there.
I broke into a run, wishing I could run as fast as the wind. I was so close!
Just as I was about to jump over the log at the end of the playground, my mother snatched me to her.
“Just what do you think you are doing?” she yelled. “I have been calling your name and you act like I don’t even exist!”
“But mom,” I said.
“I don’t want to hear it. We are leaving.” She dragged me behind her, muttering as we made our way across the playground.
“Mom, there is someone I am supposed to meet,” I tried to say.
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” she replied. “There is never anyone here.”
Would she believe me? Someone was there for me. I saw those eyes. They looked right at me.
“Mom, I want to stay and play,” I whined, hoping she would calm down. “Don’t you want to finish your love book before we go home?”
She stopped, crossing her arms. “And just what would you know about these books, hmm?” she asked, a smile forming across her lips.
“Just that you don’t read them when dad is around,” I replied. “The only time you do is when we come here.”
She looked me up and down. “Fine,” she signed. “But no more running off.” She held out her hand, and together we headed back to our favorite spot.
I could still feel those gray eyes on me, watching every move I made. ‘Hmm,’ I wondered. ‘How do I get away from her?’ I glanced behind me, waving as my mother’s eyes met mine.
I knew it was impossible, but I really wanted to see the gray eyes. And I didn’t care if I got in trouble.
I sat in the sandbox that was closer to the woods. I knew the eyes were still watching me. The sand was warm against my feet as I wiggled my toes around. ‘I can leave the gray eyes a secret message,’ I thought. ‘But what should I tell them?’
I plopped down, mad that I couldn’t think of anything. I giggled to myself as I realized the perfect thing to put.
“Rose,” my mom called. “It’s time to go.”
“Coming,” I yelled back, standing and giggling at the words I put in the sand. Slipping my sandals back on, I ran to my mom as she stood at the far side of the playground.
“Did you have fun?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Why were you running towards the woods earlier?” she asked as we climbed into the car.
“I wanted to see the gray eyes,” I answered.
She turned to me. “The gray eyes? What are you talking about?”
“The gray eyes that were watching me.”
My mom stared at me, mouth wide. “There was someone watching you?” she asked, her voice stern.
“Yes,” I said. “They were calling to me. Like they wanted me to be with them. I felt really happy while they were there.”
“Rose, I don’t understand,” my mom said. “You are telling me someone was calling to you in the woods? Why didn’t you say something?”
‘Why was she angry?’ I thought. ‘The eyes weren’t going to do anything to me.’
“Mommy, why are you mad?” I asked.
“I am not mad,” she answered. “I am worried. We won’t be going back to that park.”
“NO!” I screamed.
“Do not raise your voice to me, young lady. We will not be going to a park where someone is staring at you while you play.”
“But mom, the gray eyes weren’t going to hurt me,” I said. “They wanted me to be with them.”
“Enough, Rose,” she yelled. “We won’t be going back. And your father will hear about this.”
Tears poured down my face. I didn’t want to be banned from my park. It was my favorite. It was all mine. And it was the one place the gray eyes were. I liked not having to share the space or toys. Now, if mom told dad, I would never be able to go back.
I turned to watch as the park disappeared, glancing back at the sandbox, only to see a boy standing where I had been.