Hide and Seek

Lullaby

"Oh? Didn't you say you wanted to die? This will just speed up the process." The man said calmly. He was right in front of her. His cool, water-on-glass voice sent shivers up her spine. All her instincts screamed-Get away! Get away!-but her hand would not move.

Slowly, the man bent over.

The girl trembled. "Why are you doing this to me? I'm not worth anything, you have nothing to gain from hurting me!" She cried desperately, now eye-to-eye with the strange man.

He grinned wickedly, twirled one of her stray locks around her finger. "What if your cries of pain excite me?" His grey eyes held a level of insanity in them, made the girls' knees shake and her lower lip quiver. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore, and the tears came.

Quietly, staring into space, silent tears streaked down her face. She made no move to remove them, letting them gather at the base of her chin and slowly dripping down onto her new dress. For some reason, the man was not moving. The girl didn't care anymore. She was alone.

Dead.

To the world, and to herself.

And there was nothing she could do to stop it.

"Little child, why do you cry?" The man's tenor voice broke out. She looked at the man's blurry figure, trying to make sense of what he was singing. "I have this here sweet lullaby. There's a world out there, for all to share. All to share in happiness. The ocean's far, and wide. The little seagulls fly. Fly free, little child, fly free of your memories. Clear your mind of thought…"

Still crying, her high voice cracking, she joined in. "Little one, why do you cry? Don't you see the happiness? There's always the great unknown, little one, it's calling to you. Wipe away your tears, leave my arms, grab your star and hold on... For you will find your happiness."

She didn't know why the man was singing, or why she joined in. The haunting lullaby her mother used to sing to her just tumbled out of her lips on their own accord. The bittersweet notes caused her to feel tiny pains in her heart-was it regret? She didn't know.

"I'm sorry, little girl," She had almost forgotten his presence, and it caused her to jump a little in surprise. "That was the only way I could think of to get you to cry."

Slightly self-conscious now, the girl wiped her tears away with her sleeve. "Why would you want to do that?"

The man smiled a little bit. "Because tears are a good way to cleanse your soul."

The little girl was not, under any circumstances, stupid. While the man was being nice now, she could not forget that cruel glare, the insane look in his eye, or that calm, smooth voice that set her teeth on edge. She would not let her guard down. "Cleanse my soul?"

The man nodded. "Yes, cleanse your soul. It helps you forget all the bad things that have happened, makes you feel better."

"I don't feel any better," The girl said. "And I don't want to forget. Not ever."