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"Playing 'Skin the bitch'" By Thomas Stewart

To Samuel,

This story is just as much yours as it is mine, little buddy


The sun rapidly descends on the neighborhood. Every house across the block, all six of them along Willow Ln., begins turning out all of the lights within their houses almost in unison. The road’s quiet, for no one dares make a sound or step out of their front door. Nothing good comes from leaving at this hour.

No, the only thing out at this hour is her.

Out in the distance, closest to the opening of the lane, a small voice calls out to the empty street. “Ready or not, here I come…”

If anyone is awake, they’re simply huddling in cold terror. The voice calls out once more, slithering all throughout the lane, seeping through the cracks under the front doors and into the homes as though it were a torrential flood, threatening to waterlog the homes themselves. Anyone hearing it does so unwillingly, trying to cover their ears, smother their pillows over their faces, or even debate driving a nail through their ears, whatever it might take to get this foul sound out of their minds tonight.

They peep to see that the curtains or blinds on the windows are drawn. They don’t want to see what she looks like. Anyone in the past who has been unfortunate enough to spot her has never been found again in one piece.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are…”

Her shadow stretches across the road. With this, darkness falls upon each window prematurely. For the next minute, all that can be heard in Willow Ln. is her voice singing.

“Come out and play with me. I don’t bite. We can all have SO much fun together…”

Those still awake wince, clutching their quaking knees to their stomachs like they’d just been punched. Her voice is more than a haunting noise. It’s an omen.

“Why’re you all hiding? Why won’t anyone come play with me?”

Her tearful sobbing becomes heard by all. It pierces their defenses of muting the sounds and they can no longer deny her. “Why doesn’t anyone like me?” they hear her ask.

In each of their minds, they collectively ask themselves: When will she go away, and who’ll she take this time?

Hours roll by and the sun disappears further and further behind the horizon. The night all too soon envelops the lane and her footsteps begin echoing with each succeeding step. For the next thirteen hours, this sound is all they hear. This, and perhaps the occasional playful giggle.

***

James rolls his eyes as Mom, Dad, and little Tracy all sing “Go tell it on the mountain” in unison for its millionth-- no, trillionth-- loop. He looks at his phone, seeing the black screen, reminding him his phone was dead. Silently, his inner voice chides him, telling him: “Good going, dipshit. This is what happens when you forget the charger.”

He looks out of his window. There weren’t many houses passing by anymore. There hadn’t been any, in fact, for quite a while now. At least we’re getting close. Dad said this was a quiet neighborhood, didn’t he?

Finally, the noise dies down and Ma says, “Alright, I think that’s enough for one afternoon, Trace, whaddya say?” Tracy responds with a childish groan.

“But Ma…” she groans, “I like singing!” Ma chuckles.

“I know, sweetie, but Mama’s gotta rest a bit, plus you know what Mrs. Hindley said about practicing too much, yeah?” Tracy sighs.

“I know…”

“Don’t worry, I promise you, once we get all nice and moved in, we’ll sing together all you like, okay?” She looks back to be met with an unconvinced, disappointed Tracy. She extends her pinkie and asks, “Pinkie swear?”

The child reluctantly unfurls her own pinkie and interlocks it with her mother’s. Together, the both of them chant in unison, “Pinkie swear, pinkie swear, break you, I wouldn’t dare. Pinkie swear, pinkie swear, I hold you truthful and fair. If I break this vow, I know I’ll be shamed forever, and no more of my kindness will I share.” Following this, the two break from each other and Tracy slumps back into her booster seat.

James lets out his own sigh of annoyance. “How close are we now, Dad?” Dad merely grunts in response. Hadn’t he already told them not to bother asking that question? His exact words, in fact, were “We’re gonna need to make as few stops as possible of we’re gonna make it without running out of gas, so no asking for rest stops, food, or bathroom breaks. And don’t bother asking me “How much further, Dad?” We’ll get there when we get there, got it? Good.”

Ma looks through the rear-view mirror at him and replies, “Just comin’ up on the neighborhood now, hon. Just sit tight for a few more minutes, ‘kay?” James’s head slumps forward. Easy for her to say.

She doesn’t have to sit in the back, pressed on all sides by all manner of luggage, ranging from the back ends of boxes containing God only knew what, tupperware bins in the floorboards containing God only cared what, an excited, screeching child, and his backpack pressed against him on the right, with his door being at his left. No, she gets to sit up front, with all the air conditioning and all that leg room, given that she and Dad so conveniently decided not to utilize any of the space up there for any of the copious luggage they insisted on bringing with them for the immediate move. And the worst part, the vents for the backseat of their aged volkswagon had gone out several years back, and just James and little Tracy’s luck, fixing the damn things wasn’t high on their old man’s list of priorities leading up to this trip.

Unfortunately, too, with how much of their belongings were still loose, not having any sort of box or container, Ma and Dad strictly forbade the opening of any windows. James closed his eyes. Annoyance and boredom were rapidly inducing drowsiness within him. Maybe I’ll go out for an hour or so and wake up there… A dry, sarcastic smirk parted the right corner of his mouth as his head leaned back. Or better yet, maybe I’ll just STAY asleep.

Not but ten minutes pass when Dad’s voice rouses him, declaring “We’re here.”

James’s eyes snap open and he goes, “Huh?”

“Yep, take a look around, guys. This’s our new digs.” The three all look around, taking in the secluded and dead silent neighborhood they’re entering. James squints out his window while Ma and Tracy start oohing and ahhing out of theirs. “Look how pretty!” little Tracy exclaims.

Ma replies with “I know, right?”

“It looks like one of those places from one of your TV shows, Mama.” Ma chuckles at her daughter’s cuteness. Being the only other girl in the house back in Charlotte where they’d come from meant that Ma’s favorite bonding method was having her binge watch the Hallmark channel with her every Sunday afternoon after church. “So this is where our new home is, Daddy?”

Dad chuckles and replies, “That’s right, Punkin’. Think you can guess which one’s ours?” She squeals and replies, “Ooh, ooh, it’s this one! No wait, it’s this one, isn’t it?”

“Nice tries, but no.”

“Well which one is it, then?” Dad points his finger straight ahead.

“Ours is way down there.”

“All the way to the cul-de-sac?” James asks.

“That’s right. Give you a place to finally set up that basketball goal I paid over $100 for and hasn’t been taken out of the packaging once.” Ma sends a gentle, but firm slap against his right shoulder. He looks at her and sighs, seeing the “Oh, get off him” look she’d give him quite frequently whenever he’d rail on his son for various, usually minor, screwups. In this case, too, she had a point. Wasn’t James’s fault they didn’t have a place for his basketball goal in the city area. Just all the more reason they needed the change in scenery.

“Anyway,” Dad says dismissively, “Yes, our house is all the way at the end of the neighborhood here, where it’ll be the quietest, I believe.”

“That’s so cool, Daddy!” Tracy exclaims. James rolls his eyes a second time.

If you say so, kiddo…

The rattling bug smoothly drifts the rest of the way down the lane and stops in front of a small, yet cozy and inviting house just to the right of the cul-de-sac. “Welcome home, family!”

Instantly, Ma and Tracy begin hooting and hollering while James just regards it silently. It’s a nice place I GUESS…

Even his punk ass couldn’t deny the place was nice. Maybe not “pretty” like how Ma and little Tracy were constantly shouting it was, but it was definitely nicer than what he was expecting it to be. When Dad first talked to him of moving into the new house, he’d warned him that it wasn’t going to be anything real extravagant or nice. James simply translated this to mean expect the place to be in a trailer park or something of the sort; something that his friends-- all three or four of them-- probably would’ve laughed at him for if they’d known about. The bright side to this, though, was that he’d at least have his own room and bathroom.

The bug creeps into the driveway and then comes to a halt. The second it does, Ma and little Tracy bound out of the car and run up to the porch. Dad follows about a second or two after and heads on over to the back to unpack the car. James remains the only one still strapped in the car. He looks at the house, wondering just what about it could have the others so enthralled with it. Who knows, maybe it’s just a woman thing, right?

One of the boxes begins poking him in the side of his head and he turns to see Dad trying to shuffle loose one of the boxes closest to his head. “Yo big man, mind making yourself useful for a bit?”

“Yeah.” replies James reluctantly. He climbs out of the car with his backpack and starts walking around to the back of the car. Looking around, he notices all the blinds are drawn and, at least from what could be seen where he was, the lights are off in all the neighboring houses. Huh… Weird. They just sleep in all the time here or something? I mean, I know it’s a Sunday, but they DO know it’s three in the afternoon, right?

Finally shuffling the troublesome box loose, Dad slowly pulls out one of the longer boxes while James starts taking out several of the smaller boxes, piling them three high, and carrying them up to the porch with Dad following close behind. “This house looks amazing, Daddy!”

Straining, Dad offers a small, but still enthusiastic (or at least enthusiastic enough for his four year old to believe as being genuine) chuckle and says, “Glad you like it, punkin’, now you think you can let us in?”

“Oh, right, I have the key.” says Ma as she shuffles through her pockets. She pulls out the key fob and begins fumbling with the doorknob. Eventually, the knob turns and they’re let inside. The sight before them as the door opens is one that snatches the breath of all four of them collectively, including James. While the outside may’ve appeared as “good, but nothing special”, the inside is a completely different story.

Bright blue and teal paint line the walls of the living room and dining rooms respectively. Bright as it is, too, and with no immediate signs of chipping or decay, it’s apparent to them that this is a fresh coating of it, unlike what it’d be if the place was abandoned or rundown like they’d expected. The floor is what appears to be freshly glossed linoleum, with it being so glossy that the sunlight from the window refracts off it like it’s a mirror.

James’s eyes bug as his head continues turning about the living room. Another of this house’s facades is how small it appeared outside, compared to how spacious it appears now, from inside. “Big, isn’t it?” he hears Ma ask. He snaps back to attention and replies with a dismissive nodding of his head.

“Hey come on, big man,” Dad says, giving his son a playful punch to his shoulder, “still got a crapload of stuff to bring in, so chop chop.” He follows his father back out to the car and continues unpacking. A few minutes later, Tracy’s excited squeals are heard bounding out of the house and into the yard.

“Oh my gosh, there’s so much space to play in out here!” she shouts at the top of her lungs. Dad looks up for a moment and grins. Yep, he’s done it. A new home, a nice one, too, and it was all his. Tracy runs in circles around a small patch of flowers in the middle of the front yard, chanting “Ring around the rosies, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall--” she jumps up and falls back to the ground, smack in the middle of the flower patch. “Down.”

“Hey, easy with the flowers over there, Punkin’.” shouts Dad from behind the new, even taller box he was heaving out the back of the bug. Tracy ignores him and rolls out of them, only to jump right back up and repeat the song again. Kids… he says to himself while following behind James, the box slowly slipping from his fingers. Miraculously, they manage to make it back inside without dropping their loads until they get into the kitchen. Then they go back for the next round.

At some point, Dad hears a voice call from across the street. “Hey there!”

Dad and James both pick their heads up at the same time and look behind them. Approaching them now was a man who looked to be about six or seven years Dad’s junior, wearing the stereotypical TV dad wear: a button up polo, khaki shorts, ankle socks, and a pair of Reeboks that looked like he’d inherited them from his dad. The fucker even wears a sun visor-- as if this were the golf course or the country club.

The man crosses the street and calls out again, “New neighbors?”

“That’s right.” Dad replies with the same “enthusiasm” he’d earlier given Tracy. So much for “quiet relocation”, huh? First, they’d come and introduce themselves, then they’d start inviting you and your folks to their place for supper once a week, then before you know it, they’ll start asking you to help host neighborhood block parties and shit.

“Leonard Kronkite.” declares the man, outstretching his hand.

“Damien Vetter.” Dad says with his plastic grin, outstretching his own hand.

“Nice to meet ya. God, it’s been so long since we had new arrivals here.”

“No kiddin’?”

“Not at all. Hell, I wanna say the last time we had new neighbors was…” he pauses, scratching his chin. “Five, six, maybe even seven years back.” He chuckles and asks, “Can you imagine? Seven whole years since we had any new people.”

“No uh… No, I guess I can’t.”

“So where’re y’all from, anyhow?”

“Charlotte.” Dad replies dismissively while turning back to the trunk of the car and begins trying to shake loose another tall, heavy box.

“Ooh, the city area, eh? What’s that like, it real busy?”

“Sure.” Dad heaves the box out with a single, mighty jerk that just about has him falling flat on his ass.

“You want a hand?” asks Leonard eagerly. Dad doesn’t acknowledge him or his offer and instead opts to continue to the porch, straining. Leonard, not taking the rather obvious hint, decides to follow behind him and ask, “So whaddya think of the house so far?”

“Fine. Listen uh,” He pauses for a second, snapping his fingers.

“Leonard.” interjects the other.

“Look, I’ve still got a ways to go unpacking the car and all, and we’ve been on the road all damn day, so if it’s all the same to you, I’d like to get back to it in peace, okay?”

“Oh uh… Yeah, uh, sure.” Leonard nods his head and starts backing away back towards his house. “Sorry, came off a tad too strong, didn’t I?” Dad’s strained smile and sharp inhale serves to answer this question. With one last nod toward him, Leonard turns and walks the rest of the way back to his house. Before doing the same, Dad shakes his head, rolling his eyes.

Damn. Day one and I’m already wondering if we should just get back in the car and head for the nearest hotel tonight. Pretty sure THEY ain’t as annoying.

Dad and James finally finish unloading the luggage and James is excused to pick out his room. He walks down the hallway, long and bright, vibrant, until stopping in front of a room that looked like it could’ve fit their entire apartment room back in Charlotte twice. Yep, this one’s MINE now. He tells himself with a smirk.

Without wasting another second, he drops to the floor, unzips his backpack, and pulls out his charger for his phone and his airpods. Once he plugs in his phone and a little bit of juice brings it back to life, he stretches out across the floor of his room and closes his eyes, setting his Itunes to “Shuffle”. Finally, alone and quiet at last.

In the living room, Ma and Dad continue unpacking and stashing away what they don’t yet plan to or don’t want to bother unpacking yet. From the window, the light fades and with it, so does the radiance of the colors from the walls. “Getting late, isn’t it?” Dad asks his wife. “What time is it?”

Ma stops rummaging through the box in front of her and checks her watch. “7:30.” Dad inhales sharply.

“Think we should call this a night?” Ma chuckles dryly, looking at him with exhausted, baggy eyes. Mirroring her expression, Dad says, “Yep, thought so.” Ma starts rubbing her stomach.

“God, I’m starving.” She passes a glance back at the kitchen before letting out a defeated sigh. “I really don’t want to cook tonight, though.”

“Shit, I don’t want you cooking tonight.” Dad adds, chuckling. She looks at him.

“Oh yeah, and why’s that?”

“Well, last I checked, last time any of us got any kind of sleep worth a damn was about 6 hours ago; that long-ass nap on the interstate.” She chuckles at this and he moves in closer to her, gently placing his hands on her shoulders and beginning to gingerly massage them. “Pluus…” he continues in a sort of sing-song voice, “I’d like you to keep some kind of energy for tonight, if you catch my drift.” She looks back at him, craning her neck to look at him from behind and finds him smiling.

“Uh huh, I see.” she responds in a subtle, though sensual tone. “Well now, you keep working those hands the way you are and you might just make that wish come true.” She winks at him, prompting his smile to double in size. Before this can go any further, though, a knock from the front door arrests both their attention. Figuring it’s just Tracy wanting back inside, Dad jumps up and heads to the door.

When he looks through the peephole, though, his shoulders slump back down, seeing that, standing at the door with an obnoxious smile, wasn’t his daughter, but instead Leonard. His hand grips the knob, but refrains from opening the door. He’d just told this dipshit to piss off and now, here he was again. What’d he need now, his credit card number, his lawnmower, what?

Finally, after taking a cleansing breath, he twists the knob and opens the door. “Hey there, sorry to bother you again, know your busy and all, but I saw it was getting late out and your daughter’s still outside.”

“Yeah, and?”

“Oh uh… Well, you know, it’s nothing, just… We usually stay in once the sun goes down, ya know?” Dad cocks an eyebrow at his neighbor. He sees the way in which the man’s eyes dart all around in every direction, looking at everything but him.

“Uh huh… And?” he asks.

“Well, it’s just that…” His head turns to look back behind him.

“Just what?” Leonard looks back at Dad, eyes still twitching nervously.

“Well uh… It’s just that, at nighttime, well…” He cups his hand to his mouth, prompting Dad to lean in closer. Reluctantly, he does so. Whatever will get the yahoo to go back home and out of his hair.

In his ear, Leonard whispers, “At night, she comes through.”

“She?” he asks. “Who?”

Instead of answering, though, Leonard decides then is the appropriate time to take the “fuck off” hints and turns to head back for home. Dad stands in the doorway for almost twenty seconds, wondering just what the hell that was. “She comes out at night”? The fuck is that supposed to mean? Who’s “She”?

Some neighborly advice, he thinks, finally breaking semi-stupor and closing the door. “Who was that?” asks Ma.

“Just some nut from up the street.”

“Ooh, greeting from the neighbor!” she pipes up, excited. “What’re they like?”

“Annoying.” he replies bluntly.

“Oh come on, don’t be an asshole. They’re just trying to be nice.”

“Right, “being nice”, like telling me we can’t let our daughter play outside when the sun goes down?” Ma frowns.

“Yeah, apparently they got tradition around here that you can’t be out after dark or else “She’ll” get you or some shit.”

“Wait what?”

“Yeah, he was telling me that some bitch out here apparently comes out after dark.”

“They say who she was or anything?”

“Nope.” Ma’s eyes widen further with confusion. Dad’s only response is a shrug of his shoulders.

“Well, you think we should go ahead and call Tracy in then, I mean, it is getting dark and--” Dad holds up his hand, stopping her.

“She’s fine, I promise. I don’t want her growin’ up to be another one of these scaredy cats you see running around everywhere. Imma let her burn herself out for a while, let her come in when she feels like it. Plus, she’ll be gettin’ hungry here pretty shortly.”

“Yeah. Hey that reminds me, what are we doing about supper?” Dad digs his phone from his pocket and asks, “Pizza sound okay?” Ma answers with a wink and a click of her tongue.

***

Tracy dances around the tree in the backyard. Suddenly, she stops, only now realizing just how late it’s gotten. The sun wasn’t up anymore and the stars were already blinking to life above her.

Oh man… Night already? She looks back at the house. But I don’t wanna go in yet…

Her head slumps down as she hesitantly trudges to the house. From the distance, she hears a small voice call out: “Ready or not, here I come.” She snaps back around to see who’d said that. She sees the street, but not a person.

The voice calls out again. “Is anybody home?”

“Um… Hello?” Tracy calls out in response. Earth shaking footsteps are heard reverberating through the ground. Tracy’s little heart cranks up to mach speed.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”

Tracy’s knees start shaking. Her knees buckle furiously in accordance with each elephantine footstep that shakes from underneath her. “Who’s there?” she cries.

“Do you wanna play with me?” asks the mysterious voice excitedly. Tracy says nothing. Wagging her head around furiously, she couldn’t find anybody around who could possibly be speaking to her. Five more footsteps shake the ground until finally, Tracy falls to her knees. The air feels thick and hard to swallow, much like the yucky grape medicine Ma always makes her take when she has a cold.

“Will you play with me?” Tracy snaps around again to look behind her. Now, standing before her, is a little girl. She’s about the same height as Tracy and, from what little of her she could see, was about the same age.

Tracy, terrified, stammers out, “Wh-who are you?”

“I’m Lucy.” replies the little girl. Tracy cannot see her face, as her long, bright, ginger hair covers just about all of it. “What’s your name?”

“I-I-I’m… I’m Tracy.”

“That’s a pretty name, Tracy.”

“Th-Thanks.” Her eyes wander back towards the house. She really wants to go back in.

“Will you be my friend?” asks the little girl.

“What?”

“Will you be my friend?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know, “friends”, like someone I can play with, forever and ever.”

“U-Um… M-Maybe. What kind of games do you like to play?” To this, the little girl remains silent. Tracy then notices the way in which her body is shaking violently. Her head and shoulders begin trembling.

In a voice that, though still small, takes on a distorted quality that voids its resemblance to that of a child, she says: “I like to play “Skin the bitch!” Her hair parts away and Tracy shrieks at the horrific sight of Lucy’s face. What lies underneath the veil of ginger locks is not the face of a sweet little girl-- leastways not all of one-- but instead was a sagging pelt of flesh that loosely hung from her boney body like clothes that were too big. She doesn’t have any eyes, but instead just two empty sockets and a mouth full of piranha like teeth. In her forehead was carved an upside down cross.

Tracy spins round on her heels and makes a break for it but she’s far too late to escape. Lucy’s speed is unnatural and, in less than the amount of time necessary to blink, there she is again, cutting little Tracy off from making it back to her home. “Where’re you going, new friend?”

“P-Please…” she wails. “Y-You’re scaring me!”

“Oh, am I scaring you?” she asks, taunting her. “Oh, I’ll give you a reason to be scared!” She chuckles before rushing Tracy. Tracy’s screams echo throughout the neighborhood, yet all the same, still falls on deaf ears.

***

James is roused by the voice of his father. “Yo, big man, time to come out for supper!” He groans, not at all feeling like getting up. He stumbles through the door and into the hallway drunkenly.

“There he is, finally out of his cave. How was hibernation?” He shoots a look at his grinning father. “Hey, come on, it’s pizza, you can’t be mad at me.”

This gets a snicker out of James. It wasn’t all too often, but on the occasions where Dad and James could trade licks back and forth like a couple of bros hanging out in front of the corner store, it was truly something special to them both. James approaches and is just about to take a seat at the table when Ma pipes up.

“Whoa, hold on a sec, Damien, where’s Tracy?” Dad’s eyes double in size.

“Good God, that’s right! Shit, I forgot she was still out there, didn’t I?”

“Well don’t just sit there, go on and get her.”

“Come to think of it, I ain’t heard from her all day since she’s been out there.” Ma’s eyes now double as well.

“What’re you saying?”

“Nothing, nothing, I’m sorry. Just, seriously, though, I figured she’d have came running when the pizza man pulled in, you know?”

“I’ll go get her, Dad.” James chimes. Dad turns to look at him, raising his eyebrow. James turns around and walks to the door.

“Thanks son.” calls Dad from the dining room.

James walks out the front door and is welcomed to the nighttime sky. Immediately, he wishes he would’ve grabbed his jacket first with how cold it is. Just find the little brat so you can have pizza…

“Tracy!” he calls out. “Tracy, where are ya?” He gets no response. He sighs and rolls his eyes. Goddamn it, Tracy. Why do you have to make me chase you all the time?

He stomps off the porch, grumbling to himself. As he goes, he continues calling out her name, “Tracy! Tracy!” He stops for a moment when, from back behind the house, he hears small giggling. He turns then and takes off for the backyard. When he gets there, he doesn’t see anybody or anything in sight.

“Tracy?” he calls out again, now twice as frustrated. “Hey come on, man, this isn’t funny.” The giggling persists. “Look, come on in, we got pizza!” He emphasizes his voice when mentioning the pizza part. Still, this yields him no results. “Okay, fine then, I’ll eat yours all by myself!” The giggling ceases abruptly.

“Will you play with me?”

James spins back around. “Huh?” he asks. The giggling starts up again.

“Damn it, Tracy, this isn’t cool! Now come out right now or I mean it, I am going to eat all your pizza and leave you out he--” He stops abruptly. At the foot of the bushes, just at the edge of the floodlight’s illumination radius, he sees a mess of… something on the ground.

Slowly, he approaches it. When he gets about halfway to the bushes, he hears the same small voice call out to him, saying, “Do you want to be my friend?” James continues forward, doing his damnedest to block out the sound of the voice. It’s no use, though.

His legs shake while he walks, and he knew it wasn’t just the breeze either. This was everything about this situation, having to find his baby sister in the dead of night like this, in a neighborhood as quiet as this, with the voice of someone he was sure he doesn’t recognize taunting him. “We can play my favorite game!”

James reaches the bushes, where he immediately vomits where he stands. On the ground in front of him lays the discarded, shredded remaining pelt of flesh of his baby sister. Her skin looked like a balloon that’d been inflated to the point of bursting. No bones or organs are present, either, only her empty, tattered skin.

“What the fuck?!” he cries out. He begins backing up, only to be stopped with a body behind him. Spooked, he whirls around and jumps back. Somehow, the sight greeting him now is even more horrific than the one before. There was now a small girl, the same height and age as Tracy, but with longer, lighter hair and sagging, desiccated skin hanging from her face. “Let’s play ‘Skin the bitch’!”

She rushes him and, just as with his little sister, she makes light work of him. Once she’s finished with him, he’s discarded alongside his sister’s remains and her attention is then directed to the open door around the front of the house.

I wonder… she thinks to herself with a smirk that just barely lifts from the corner of her mouth. Will THEY play with me?







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