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No One is Safe!

The room silenced when the door closed behind the last attendant. Even the air conditioning sighed deeply before it decided to stop breathing for the moment. The loneliness grew into something quite uncomfortable in Doctor Carter’s mind.

“Do you mind if I go get something from my desk?” asked Doctor Carter.
The little girl did not answer her, so Doctor Carter got up to get Mackenzie’s file. She hadn’t been able to look at all of them yet. It was her first day and already felt both fearful of and worried about some of her patients, though she couldn’t let her fear appear in their presence. Once she found the file, she returned to her seat. Mackenzie still did not look at the doctor; she stared at the large squares on the floor dotted by the specks of small cracks.

Doctor Carter unconsciously tucked a loose strand of dark hair behind her ear while looking at the file clipped to the board. It read: Mackenzie Rhodes; eight years old; delusional and very dangerous. She looked from the file to the girl and back again. ‘She doesn’t look very dangerous to me,’ thought Catherine. The little girl’s golden curls covered her arms where she buried her face. She secured her feet beneath her with a small bounce before she propped her chin on her forearm.

“Mackenzie,” the doctor said with a smile, but the little girl didn’t look at her. Instead, she looked past Doctor Carter to something that dwelled inside her mind. Those deep chocolate eyes focused, beneath their curtain of curls, on the cinnamon colored teddy bear wearing a pink dress and the black choker with its signature ‘W’ pendent in the corner of the room. “Is that your bear that Jocelyn was talking about?” That caught Mac’s attention. She turned to face the doctor; the look in her dark eyes was too grave for Doctor Carter to bear, or for any child to possess, so she had to turn away from the little girl for a moment. When she gained the courage to face the little girl her features were blank again, so she ventured to ask about the toy bear again.

“That’s Willow,” the little girl whispered. Shivers crept down Mackenzie’s spine, but she wouldn’t let the doctor see it. Her voice chilled the doctor to her bones. Mackenzie knew deep down she wasn’t crazy. “She’s not a toy.”

“She looks like a toy to me,” the doctor forced a smile before asking softly, “Would you like to talk about her?”

Mackenzie shook her head viciously, sending her golden curls flying around her head like a soft halo, in response.

“Why not?” The air conditioner kicked back on causing both the woman and the little girl to jump slightly; Mackenzie startled a little more by the sound than the doctor didn’t notice the woman’s fretful features. The little girl’s eyes settled on the floor again while she thought about her answer carefully. “Mackenzie?” Doctor Carter asked after a long pause.

“She hasn’t talked in a long time,” Mackenzie repeated her earlier group statement. “I don’t want her to talk again. I don’t like when she talks to me”

“What kind of things does she say?” The doctor scribbled something on her clipboard.

“She didn’t like Jazz. I promise, she never hurt Willow, but Willow told me she did; she said I had to fix it. I didn’t want to do it, but she made me.” Mackenzie rocked in her chair tears coming down her cheeks. She loved Jazz, but Willow didn’t. The shaking she tried so hard to hide only got worse. Catherine wrote another note on the board.

“What’d she tell you?”

“Kill the cat.” The little girl’s eyes darkened. Her voice changed. Desperation filled the stale air. “Mommy didn’t like that.”

“No, I imagine she wouldn’t.” Carter agreed. “Why did Willow want you to hurt the cat?”

Mackenzie’s eyes lost their focus. The fear on her face made the room colder. She stopped rocking. Her feet slowly touched the floor. Those tiny fingers pushed the thick curls out of her pale face. “Willow didn’t like Jazz. Mommy tried to get rid of Willow after that.”

“How did that make you—?” Carter started, but the little girl kept speaking as if the doctor wasn’t in the room.

“Willow couldn’t leave me. Mommy couldn’t take her.” Her eyes gained focus again as she looked at the doctor. “And because Willow couldn’t leave me Mommy had to die. Willow said that Mommy wasn’t going to come between us… ever. ”

“What?” the doctor looked at the little girl wide-eyed.

“Daddy didn’t like that. I knew he wouldn’t but I couldn’t go against what Willow told me to do.” The little girl nodded as if what she said was perfectly normal behavior. “He took Willow from me. That was punishment for throwing rocks at Mommy.”


“That meant Daddy had to go too.”

“How long has it been since Willow spoke to you?”

“She stopped the night Mommy and Daddy found me in their room with the knife she gave me. She told me to use it on Jazz when I could get the drawer open, but Mommy took it away and locked the drawer. Willow showed me how to open it when she told me to use it on Daddy. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t open the latch on the knife drawer.”

The doctor stopped. She watched the little girl tuck her feet beneath herself again. Her eyes trailed back to the teddy bear in the corner. She rocked her body back and forth as if nothing happened.

“Mackenzie?” Carter asked softly, “Would you like me to get rid of the bear?”

“Don’t say that!” Mackenzie yelled. Her voice shouldn’t have been that loud, but there was a hint of desperation in her voice that made shivers run down the doctor’s spine.

“Why not?” Doctor Carter’s eyes trailed toward the ominous teddy bear.

“Willow will make me hurt you.” Mackenzie said. Her voice quivered with each word forcing the doctor’s eyes to return their attention to her. “I don’t know if I can say no to her like last time.”

“Listen, I want you to understand that you’re safe here.” Carter put a hand on the little girl’s shoulder to reassure her. “Willow can’t hurt anyone here.”

“You don’t know her like I do,” Mackenzie sobbed. “No one is safe!”

A knock started both the little girl and the doctor. They stood abruptly. The tall attendant in the puke green scrubs motioned for Mackenzie to follow. “I am sorry to interrupt. She’s got to be in class in five minutes, so let’s get going.”

“We’ll talk more about Willow next week, alright?” Carter asked rather than stated.

The attendant laughed. “You must be imagining things, Doc. That little girl won’t go within ten feet of that bear, and she sure as hell doesn’t talk about it.”

Carter smiled at Mackenzie. “You made progress today, then. I’ll see you next week.”

Mackenzie stole one last glance at the bear in the corner. Its head fell into a cocked position so it looked like Willow was smirking. “Bye for now, Mac.” Willow’s laugh echoed in the little girl’s ears. Mackenzie shuttered as she left the room.
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Here's my chapter for Mac. I don't know if you guys can tell, but she's definitely my favorite. Rachel's writing Jocelyn next, so beware :). We'll have something for you hopefully really soon.