The Pink Bag
The second Susan walked through the front door of her house at 7 a.m., she felt a shift in the normally pleasant atmosphere of her middle class neighborhood. The sky was a hazy gray with just a few slight speckles of rain painting the ground. With her pink bunny slippers slapping the wet pavement and still wearing a robe over her red plaid pajamas, she sluggishly walked to the edge of her yard and assessed the neighborhood. Children were already out playing, riding bicycles and throwing footballs in the street. Susan bent down to grab the end of the plastic covering of her newspaper. As she stood up to stretch out the night through her arms, she noticed her 9-year-old neighbor, Becky, across the street standing in her driveway.
Becky was a pretentious little girl and always with a sunny disposition. She was a neighborhood favorite with her willingness to volunteer her precious playtime to help carry in groceries or entertain bystanders with idle chit chat. Apart from discussing trivial fourth-grade affairs, Becky enjoyed talking about her brother, who was a regular topic of discussion in every conversation. Her brother, Dylan, was born just 4 months earlier, and with an ever-watchful eye she looked over him like a mother hen. It was obvious to anyone first meeting her that she earnestly loved and admired her brother. A rather outdoorsy child, Becky was consistently running and cavorting with the other children. However, today was different. Susan noticed Becky wasn’t moving. Her body stood stiff, motionless, and with a wide-eyed stare.
“Good morning, Becky.” Susan called across the street. Still, Becky remained without a glimpse of movement and without a sound.
“Becky. Are you okay?” Susan became a little unsettled. With a slow and cautious gait, Susan moved across the slippery road and reached the edge of Becky’s driveway.
“Becky. Did you hear me?” Again, no movement, no sound. Becky stood solid, her feet planted firmly together and arms at her sides like a fresh-out-of-boot-camp recruit. She was clutching a dusty, pink purse tightly in her right fist. Susan wasn’t sure of how to handle Becky’s lack of verbal response, so she tried a more cordial approach.
“That’s a pretty bag you have there. Where did you get it?” Susan asked in anticipation, hoping for a blink, a glimpse in her direction, something. However, Becky maintained her stance. Susan walked over closer to Becky and poised herself a few feet from her. She tried again by bending down and meeting Becky eye to eye with an affectionate smile.
“Can you show me what you keep in that bag? I bet there are lots of neat stuff like lip gloss and toys. Maybe a My Little Pony?” Still, nothing. Susan’s facial expression turned uneasy as she slightly cocked her head to the side.
“She’s been like that for a long time,” Jeremy, a neighbor boy, called from behind Susan. She stood up and looked behind her right shoulder at Jeremy.
“How long is a long time?”
Jeremy shrugged his shoulders. “I dunno. We tried to get her to play, but she just stands like that.” Jeremy turned around and ran towards the other children in the street and joined the group.
When Susan turned around to face Becky, she was caught off guard to find her gazing up and looking straight at her. Becky’s face held a calm yet mysterious look, robotic and without emotion. This isn’t like Becky, Susan thought. Becky blinked, and her stoic gaze softened. With a delicate voice, she began to speak.
“Would you like to see what’s in my pink bag?”
“Well, yes, Becky. I’d like that.” Susan stayed wary. She wasn’t used to seeing Becky act this way, and she didn’t know if she should alert her mother and father of her odd behavior. While Susan was deliberating the responsible step of action, Becky slowly bent her head down and with her left hand reached over to the bag and unzipped the top zipper. With a smooth execution, Becky pulled apart the sides of the purse and reached out her arms to expose the contents.
Susan peered into the bag. She couldn’t quite discern exactly what she saw, but it looked like a rounded ball of white cloth splotched with red paint.
“Becky, honey, what is that?”
“I got bored taking off my doll heads. Those were just practice anyway.” Becky answered.
“Oh, so those are doll heads wrapped up in a cloth?”
While keeping her head straight, Becky shifted her eyes up to the eyelids and to the right where Susan was standing. The corners of her lips turned upward in a deviant grin. She gave her response in a breezy whisper.
At that moment, Susan could hear muffled movement inside of Becky’s house. The front door swung open, and Becky’s mother, Anne, rushed outside holding a bundled blanket with the same red-colored paint that was in the pink bag. With tears streaming down Anne’s face, she began to scream hysterically and fell to the soggy ground.
“Who did this?! Who in the hell did THIS?!” Anne yelled out in the damp air.
A piece of the blanket fell, and cradled in her arms was a headless body of a small infant dressed in onesie pajamas. Blood was slowly spilling from the stump onto Anne’s elbow, and the lifeless limbs were swaying with her every move. Susan immediately turned white, and an icy fear washed over her. She glanced over at the pink bag and then at Becky, who sustained the devilish grin. With a look of horror and disbelief, she could barely get the words out of her mouth.
“Becky. What have you done?”
Tears began to well up in Susan’s eyes. With small steps, she began to back away from the driveway, and she could hear sirens moving closer in the distance.