A big wet stain

by Sarah
(New Jersey)

"Hey! Hey, hey, hey!" Robert Paladino just managed to miss the girl standing on the street as he swerved sharply to the left on Ridgedale Road. His heart still beating, he parked his car on the side and stepped out. Why would a little girl just stand in the middle of the road? Approaching her, he grabbed her by the arm and demanded,
"What are you doing in the middle of the road? I could have hit you and..."

"No one drives down this street. No one ever drives down this street." she moaned, not looking Robert in the eyes.

Kids these days, thought Rob. "Look, where do you live? I'll drive you home." he asked, as he led the girl to his car.

The girl's eyes remained glassy and her face blank. She looked like she was around 11 years old. She had wet hair, as if she'd been standing in the rain, but it was the middle of summer, and it hadn't rained for two weeks.

Robert shut the door of his car. "You still didn't answer me. Where do you live? What's your address?"

She paused, then mumbled quietly, "784 Helen Avenue. 784 Helen Avenue. My address is 784 Helen Avenue."

Robert rolled his eyes. What was up with kids? He checked to make sure the girl had buckled her seatbelt in the backseat, and then drove off to Helen Avenue.

"So... What's your name?" he asked. "Selene... Selene... My name is Selene..." she grumbled.
Were all children like this? Looking over his shoulder, he saw that the girl's hair was still sopping wet.

"Hey, you don't lean your head back. I don't want any big wet stains on my new seat cushions." said Robert. He received no reply. Selene continued to stare blankly ahead.

As Robert turned the corner onto Helen Avenue, he found that it was a relatively empty street, with very old houses. He continued down the street until he found a house with a rusty metal plate bearing the numbers "784".

"Wait here, 'kay?" Robert told the blank girl. He walked up to the old house and knocked on the door, which was answered immediately. He was surprised to find an elderly couple who seemed lazy and grumpy, rather then insanely worried about their missing daughter.

"Uh, hi. Is your daughter named, uh, Selene? 'Cause I found her on the street and..."
"Selene? Oh... She's our daughter." grumbled the old lady, lazily.

"Ya? Then don't you think you should check if she's still in the house more often? You see I..."
"Selene is gone." interrupted the old man.
"What? Where'd she go?" asked Robert.

"She died. 14 years ago, on a rainy day, in a car accident on Ridgedale Road. Today would have been her 20th birthday. You see, she was dared by a bully to stand in the middle of the road, and the kid told Selene that nobody ever drives on that road. When the police came, well... The kid told 'em that she went out onto the road to get a kickball. And... they believed 'em."

The old man started to get tears in his eyes, as he explained the story to Robert, who had a face of disbelief.

"But I have her... She's.. She's in my car, I drove her here and..." Robert made a dash back to his car, but looking into the backseat, nothing was there.

All that was left was a big wet stain on the seat cushions.

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