They found her early in the morning. The sun’s winter rays hadn’t reached the town, instead they peered over the tall pines sleepily. The sky was washed with grey. A cold hung waiting for bare flesh to be exposed to sink icy fangs into.
She was kneeling at the side of the road. Looking east to watch the rising sun with dazed, glazed eyes. The main road into and out of town followed the sun’s path. It was long and straight. Sheltered by a dense, thick forest that didn’t breathe.
A trucker had pulled over to take a call when he’d spotted the white shape 200 yards ahead. She was dressed in nothing but a white dress. The cold didn’t seem to bite her bare arms or her dirty, bare feet. The cold didn’t touch her, even as the damp from the ground rose up and stained her knees. Her dark brown eyes looked straight ahead. They never saw him. The man had walked towards her calling out to her. She hadn’t responded. He doubted that she’d even heard him. He called for help. She was cold when he gently shook her shoulder trying to get her attention.
She was trapped in a type of trance.
The man had called the cops so they could check if she was okay and if she was on the missing list. He looked at her. Maybe she was on drugs? She was cold and too still. He waited until a squad car pulled up. Officers Douglas and Randy climbed out of the vehicle.
“Are you Mr Pittson?” Douglas called out. The trucker nodded muttering, “Call me John.”
“Yeah, the girl is just up there.” He said pointing to her white shape.
“Didn’t you try to move her?” Randy asked.
“I tried to, but she isn’t responding to me and i didn’t want to scare her if she’s on something.” John admitted simply.
“Is she one of those kids that went missing?” John asked.
“We’ll see.” Randy said.
They stopped next to the girl. She didn’t register they arrival. She didn’t blink nor stir.
“Ma’am?” Douglas asked, but was only met with silence.
“She won’t respond. I’ve been tried for ages; nothing” John said. Douglas kept trying, he crouched down next to her. Douglas shook her shoulders gently. She didn’t respond or react. Her eyes didn’t even move from where they were focused.
“We need to get her out of her.” He said to the others. He went to pick her up. She turned to him and the next second he was flung back into a tree by some unseen force. He was knocked out cold. She went back to staring into the distance watching the road.
A gun was raised and pointed at her head. They scattered around in fear. Randy’s hand shook slightly but his gun was so close he couldn’t miss. John rushed over to Douglas.
“He’s okay!” He shouted back. “He’s just unconscious.”
Randy didn’t move his gun, too afraid to put it down. When he was afraid, he reached for his gun, like many cops he had met. She kept staring at the road. Randy kept his gun pointed at her.
“Lower your gun.” John said.
“What?” Randy spluttered.
“A gun won’t help her.” John explained calmly. Randy lowered his gun looking at the girl.
“Good, but who is she?” John asked.
“I don’t recognise her, which means I doubt she’s missing.” Randy said.
“So we don’t know who she is or why she’s here?” John questioned.
“We don’t know anything so far.” Randy said. He walked over to look at Douglas. John had put him into the recovery position. Randy started to pace. He was muttering to himself, his finger tracing the trigger.
“We just need to figure out what’s happening here, and then get her to safety.” John stated. Randy looked at him as though he’d declared that a funeral was the same as a christening.
“Get her to safety? She’s the danger!” Randy spat, almost foaming at the mouth.
“Sir, a girl doesn’t throw a cop twice her size into a tree with a look because she feels safe.” John addressed him politely. A silence settled between them. Randy couldn’t think, and John didn’t want to speak.
“Danger” She breathed out almost silent. They only heard it because the world was silent around them. The birdsong had stopped. The engines ran silent. The wind didn’t rustle the leaves. The girl then folded in on herself as she fell unconscious. John caught her, looking at her scared.
“John.” Randy said quietly. John looked ahead at Randy’s call of his name.
Directly where she had been looking non-stop, was the figure of something coming closer. Something that looked like a man. It definitely wasn’t. Randy dropped his gun. John just held the unconscious girl in his arms. Too afraid to check for a pulse.
Suddenly, the cold didn’t reach them anymore.