“Mommy, mommy! Look what I found! Look, look, look!” A small child ran up to her mother as they were spending time together in the neighborhood park. She was holding a simple diamond necklace that reflected the radiant sunlight beautifully, almost hypnotizing its viewer.

“Honey, where did you find that?” asked her mother hesitantly, “It looks expensive.”

The little girl held the necklace up to her mother while pointing toward where she found it, “I found it over there mommy! Can you try it on me?”

Her mother took the dazzling necklace from her as she sighed, “Alright, but then you have to take it back off so we can turn it in to lost and found…”

“Okay, mommy!” The child exclaimed as her mother placed the necklace around her neck and attached it in back. She spun around three times, excited that she got to wear something with such a sparkle.

“You look like a princess,” her mother’s voice came softly, “and so mature,” she continued under her breath. Just as every mother is cautious about her little girl looking too much older, this mother resented the idea. She did not want her baby to look that old. “Okay sweetie. It’s time to take it off and take it to some sort of lost and found.”

“But mom. I found it. Can I keep it? Please, please, please?” the girl begged.

“No, Alex,” her mother suddenly became firm in her speech, “You need to take off that necklace because it belongs to someone else.”

Alex straightened the look on her face and blankly stared at her mother, “My name is not Alex, and this necklace does not belong to anyone else. It is mine.”

Alex’s mother was speechless in response to her sudden change of behavior and overall conduct, “A.. Alex?”

The little girl looked around cautiously and the look on her face turned from one of absolute confidence to one of fear. Six-year old Alex began to cry profusely as her mother picked her up and started toward the family car.

When they were close enough, Alex’s mother urgently opened the rear passenger door of the vehicle, set her daughter in the seat, and commanded her to buckle up. She then walked quickly to the driver’s side of the car, stepped in, started the vehicle, and backed out of the parking space.

Alex began to speak under her breath as her mother drove toward their house. It sounded almost like a conversation between two people, but Alex was the only one talking. Her mother listened surreptitiously while pretending to give her full attention to her own driving.

“Why are you here?” came the first whisper, only it was too soft to even be classified as a whisper.

“You have a great future ahead of you.”

“I just want you to leave me and my mommy alone.”

“Can’t we just be friends, Alex? All of the others kids have friends that they can’t see?”

There was silence within the vehicle, aside from the sound of the wind hitting the side of the car, which had increased in power significantly since Alex and her mother had left the park; and aside from the sound of the tires rolling across the surface of the blacktop road.

After a moment, Alex said one word, “Okay…”

Her mother pulled into the driveway, “Okay, Alex. We are home. Can you go straight up to your room? I need to talk with your father.”

Alex stepped out of the car, “Okay mommy!” She went into the house, ran upstairs, and closed the door to her bedroom as she entered.

Alex’s mother walked up to the front door, which Alex left open, and went inside. Her husband was there to greet her.

“Dwaine, we need to talk,” she stated with great urgency.

“Baby, don’t do that to me. Make it sound like you gonna ask for a divorce,” he smiled jokingly. When he saw that his wife was serious about needing to talk, he quelled his expression, sat down, and replied, “Alright. What’s goin’ on, Trace?”

Tracy sat down beside him on one of the couches in the living area, adjacent to the kitchen, “It’s about Alex.” She then began to tell her husband everything that happened in the park and on the way home.

Meanwhile, Alex was in her room standing and staring into the playhouse mirror her parents had placed on her wall. “Where did you come from?” she asked as she turned around to sit on her bed. She spoke again, seemingly in response to her own question, “Well, I guess I have been around for a long time.”  Still sitting on her bed, she asked another question, “Okay… What is your name?” Alex stayed silent for a few minutes, and then answered her own question again, “My name’s Gentry. We should go see what your parents are saying about us.”

Alex crept silently to the bottom of the stairs and hid behind the guardrail while she listed closely to her parents’ conversation.

Her mother sounded more distressed than before, “I. I just don’t know what to do, D. She’s never acted this way before.”

“Well,” said Dwaine, “we can’t jus’ let her keep that necklace. It isn’t hers. I’ll be the bad guy, Okay?”

Tracy nodded while wiping away her tears, “Okay…”

“You can come out from behind there, honey,” Dwaine insisted as he motioned toward Alex. After she stood and approached him, he began to speak to her very sternly. “Alex, we cannot let you keep this necklace.”

Alex looked toward the ground, knowing that there would be no disagreeing with her father. She allowed him to remove the necklace from around her neck.

“Now, go to bed, sweetheart,” her father commanded and she went.

Alex fell asleep as her parents continued to talk downstairs.

She woke up to the smell of smoke and the sound of the approaching fire department emergency vehicles. She jumped to her feet as she realized that she was lying on the front lawn and that her house was the house that was on fire. Young Alex looked around in a panic, and realizing that her parents were not with her, she began to scream for them, “MOM! DAD!”

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