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Our neighbour was a creepy dude. The kinda dude who always hangs about in his driveway peering over his hedges at us when we were kids and used to cycle up and down the pathway in titchy tricycles.

He had the most beautiful daughter.

I knew well in my heart that i shouldn't mess around that man's family... He was viciously protective of his only, golden-haired, angel-eyed daughter. He would have gone to any limits to stop her from going to school even... only the compulsory school law prevented that.

So everyday she would step onto the bus with me to school and everyday I would sit in the seat behind her usual spot next to the driver, with bated breath, inhaling her dizzying girlie smell.

Only one time did she really pay me any attention at all, one time when she fell down the school steps and I rushed gallantly to help her...

Only this one time had I ever managed to look her straight in the eye as she gripped my offered hand and rose up, eyes so brightly blue, so rabbitly trapped in her sheltered life.

And from that day on I could never rest, so riddled was I with thoughts of that girl. For hours on end would I stare from the hallway window that overlooked our neighbour's tiny garden, in hopes of spotting the young damsel of my dreams... but all I ever managed to see were the beady upturned eyes of her pig-like father. Once or twice he spotted me,.. and those beady eyes would linger a little more, as if attempting to break my spirit with his snarling look.

But I, determined knight, grew only more set on saving his beautiful melancholic daughter from a fate worse than death.

My friends would ask me over to their homes, would invite me to go out with them to some pointless little place like the mall or the bowling alley... But I would always politely decline. My young, enthusiastic.. and yes, jaded mind, was quite intent on saving that girl, so every afternoon I would spent at the window, drawing plans, making schemes and plots that would have bested Wilee Coyote's grandest sequences.

Then one day I plucked up the courage and went for it. I walked up to that damn door and knocked.

They say the simplest plan always works best.

In retrospect creeping through the chimney would have brought about much better results than this.

Her father was the one to yank the door open, and his red pig eyes fell on he in a crimson glare, and his voice growled as he asked me what i wanted.
My starved eyes were more intent on the ghostly pale angel that flitted behind in the corridor semi-darkness, than on the mountain of flesh that barred the wsy to her.

I asked him for his daughter.

The noise that followed was similar to that of an erupting volcano. I saw the pale figure skitter away at the frightening noise, and I too scrambled away from the front door and tore back to my own house.

That night I scarcely slept, and kept my ears all pricked up for sounds... I was alert to maybe some ominous screams, or to the creaking of our front door opening. it was the night I peed in my pants, the night I prayed, the night I wished I could creep into and sleep in my parents' bad. All I could heard was a weird undecipherable chugging sound, methodical, determined... frightening

In the hazy misty following morning I glanced in fear down at the neighbour's garden...

To my astonishment, there in the centre of the garden he had dug a hole, a crater of some sort. Remnants of the night's physical endeavour lay scattered all around the scattered turf in bits and pieces of disturbed soil.

I too, was indeed disturbed.

I waited and waited, that day... and let not one, but two school buses pass me by. But the sweet girl next door never appeared. With guilt riding heavily in my heart, I tried in vain to convince myself it was merely a coincidence... maybe she was sick, yes?

That day i had to run away from school. By mid-morning I was too nervous, too worried to be able to sit down and listen to the drone of the maths teacher's voice. In a fit of guilt and concern, I took off and ran out of school at break-neck speed, and only stopped whenI had reached the neighbour's house, that sat like a squat dark eyed monster. All fear leaving my heart, I walked round the sombre building and went through the back gate, and with my heart beating a thousand times faster than usual, i went over to the hole and peered right in.

I will never ever forget what I saw. The limits of human madness, and the sheer atrocity at how such madness was living merely next-door, where condensed and titrated to that single moment.

That man, that devious spawn of satan had built a brass-barred prison in the hole, and there within was my sweet locked up angel. I could see her sitting from between the glistening bars, and thought I imagined i could hear her sobbing... though in retrospect I suppose it was just my imagination.

It was time to call the social services, i knew.

I am sad that with Him, they took Her away too... and to this day i do not know what happened to that mysterious sad-eyed girl. Is she a neurotic now, is she normal, has she forgotten her past.... does she remember me, the inky-fingered dreamer boy next door?

In a way, I wish she forgot it all..

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