Warning: this story is very saddening. Continue reading if you are ok with that. Are you sure? Ok. Well here’s the story. This story starts at a small elementary school. Two little girls, Abby and Ingrid, run around the playground at recess, laughing and screaming. The two of them did everything together, and they were best friends. They were inseparable. ...or so they thought. One morning before school started, Ingrid patiently waited for Abby to arrive, but she never did that day. She wasn’t worried because she was probably just absent. Until she arrived back to school, she was alone, because she didn’t talk very much to anyone else in her first grade class. The next day she was absent again. She kept counting off the days until Abby came back, which turned into weeks. Ingrid grew worried for her friend, so she asked her mother if she knew where she went. Her mother replied, “Ingrid, sweetie, Abby... moved away.” She was fairly upset at saying that, but Ingrid just assumed it was because she was sympathizing with her. It had been one month since Ingrid last saw Abby. With each passing day, she grew more introverted and more withdrawn. At recess, she sat alone on a curb, playing in the dirt with a stick. She couldn’t bear to face the playground, because she would be reminded of Abby. When she thought of anything related to Abby, she cried. Not only did her best- and only- friend leave her, there was no way she would be able to make any new friends. All the other kids picked on her as well, telling her that she was too smart and antisocial, and that her name was weird. Some people started spreading rumors about her, one of them being that an evil fairy stole her voice and smile. Not many people comforted her, outside of her parents, who offered not much comfort. She felt invisible to everyone, even to her parents. Later that day, when Ingrid got home, her parents asked her how her day was. They knew she would proceed to cry, but asking her that question was a habit. Ingrid was greeted by the large-screen TV, which had a news channel on. Just then a new story came on the TV- “Tragic car accident results in the death of a small family...” and the news channel showed a picture of the people in the family. Ingrid disliked the news and was about to leave the family room until she saw the picture- it was Abby and her parents. She stared blankly at the TV, horrified. “Abby...” she managed to mumble. “I never said goodbye...” Ever since Ingrid learned of the tragedy of her friend, she trusted no one, not even her parents. Every action she did was with much less energy and much slower than she had maybe a week ago, before learning of the tragedy. She barely had enough energy to lift her head up. There were streaks of pale skin on her face where the tears fell. Her eyes were always watery and bloodshot. She stopped putting her hair in cute little pigtails, and her hair tangled easily. She was constantly blowing her nose, which made it red as Rudolph’s, and she smelled like strong cherry medicine. This was rock bottom for her. She didn’t think it was possible for anyone to feel any lower than this. Yet somehow she went unnoticed by everyone. Later that evening, as she cried in her bed, hugging her pillows and blankets and stuffed animals extra tight, she eventually settled down and went to sleep. She had a dream, the first one she had in months. In it she was just as depressed as she was in real life. She was walking down a sidewalk and stopped at a busy intersection, when all of a sudden, she hears someone calling her name. “Ingrid! Ingrid!” She’d almost forgotten her name, but hearing this, she remembered. She looked up and around to see who it was. “Over here!” the voice called out. “I see you across the street!” She looked across the street, and she saw a little girl, about her age. “Ingrid, it’s me, Abby!” Ingrid’s face lit up, and all of her sadness flew away. She was ecstatic. “Abby! I can’t believe it’s you! I haven’t seen you in forever!” She ran across the street to see her. “Ingrid, be careful!” Abby shouted. “There’s cars everywh—” Ingrid’s dream was cut short, and she sat up with a jolt. “Oh, it was just a dream,” she said to herself. She went back to sleep. The next morning her mood improved significantly. She wasn’t completely back to normal, but there was a huge difference in everything about her. Just seeing Abby for a few minutes was enough to get her to look up more often and to not cry as much. It was recess again, and she went to her usual spot, the curb by the large oak tree. She heard rumors viciously spreading around her, about her, more than it had ever been before. “Did you hear about that girl?” “Girl’s been crying so much I thought she was a water fountain.” “What a loser. I bet she can’t go one minute without crying.” That was enough to upset her to the point of tears. She muttered to herself, “Why do people hate me?” She stared at her legs. Something was off-putting about them. It was bright as anything, but it didn’t look like she was casting a shadow. However, she did have tears blocking her vision, so she couldn’t tell if she actually had a shadow or not. She came home from school again to see that the news was on again. She groaned and rolled her eyes. Another news story came on- “Another tragic accident, here in the town of Constellation. A little girl was killed by incoming traffic.” She didn’t know who the girl was, but she felt sad for the girl. They were interviewing one of the drivers, who was being arrested for hitting the girl. “It wasn’t my fault, she was running so fast that I couldn’t see her until it was too late.” Something about this story intrigued her. She stayed to watch the rest of the segment. There was a video of the accident caught on a traffic camera. The little girl ran across the street, yelling something inaudible over the car horns. Ingrid looked closer at the screen and made the shocking discovery that the little girl was her. Her dream was real. But how did she see Abby?