It was a particularly dark night as Maggie made her way down the empty country road in her patrol car. Her mind was on her relationship with PJ but she would always remember this night for a very different reason. The road lay on a very desolate part of the countryside just outside Mt. Thomas. It was coming to the end of her shift when she had responded to a call from a nearby resident about a prowler lurking on his farm. Of course by the time she got there the prowler had long since departed and after assuring the farmer that she would continue to look into the matter Maggie made her way back to the station.
While the call itself was just another standard call out for a Victoria Police officer Maggie's mind wouldn't have been any more committed if it had been a murder. Her mind was still casting back to the kiss she had shared with PJ just a few days earlier. Her mind was racing with emotion. On the one hand she was attracted to him. She could sense it was a very real and deep attraction but she recited her own policy on the matter - work and relationships don't mix! As the lights of her car snaked down the road they fell upon a white figure walking with her back to Maggie's car. As she approached the figure she slowed the car down and strained her eyes to see just who the figure was. By now the car was practically at the same pace of the person in the road just a few feet behind. Maggie could make out that it was a young girl dressed in a long white night gown. Only her long jet black hair interrupted glow of angelic white.
Maggie was mesmerised by the girl and yet she couldn't explain why? Maybe it was concern? Afterall why would a young girl, whom Maggie reasoned to be around eight years old, be wandering out here in the night? The young girl didn't seem to take any notice of Maggie. She continued onward along the side of the road. Maggie knew she couldn't just leave her out here and so she flashed her blue lights and pulled up in front of the girl. Maggie climbed out and turned back towards the girl who was now standing still behind the car, her head bowed pathetically.
Maggie made her way to the back of the car and kneeled down in front of the little girl to look at her face. It was perfectly clean with puffy white cheeks and large marble green eyes that just stared vaguely.
"Hello sweetheart," said Maggie gently. "What are you doing out here all on your own?"
The girl refused to answer. In fact she didn't do anything that indicated she was even aware of Maggie's presence. Maggie's concern grew. She had seen this kind of behaviour before. The girl had all the indications of an abused child. Maggie guessed that somehow she had escaped the abuse hence why she was out here alone. In her mind Maggie pictured all manner of terrible things that might have happened to her before pushing them to the back of her mind. She composed herself in the face of an unfortunate truth as any good cop should.
"What's your name?" she asked. There was no answer. "My name's Maggie. Do you live near here?" There was still no answer."Well you cant stay out here on your own. You'll catch your death. Why don't you come with me in my Police car?" Maggie held out her right hand for her to take it but the girl didn't move. Maggie repeated "What's your name?" with the same blank answer. Maggie put her hand on hers and her skin felt cold and dry. It was so cold that it sent a shiver up Maggie's spine. Holding her hand the girl didn't flinch and offered Maggie no resistance as she lead her to the back seat of her stationary patrol car.
Following procedure Maggie radioed the station explaining that she had found the girl before beginning the journey back. According to the dispatcher there was no report of a missing child as of yet. Maggie started the car and pulled off. Carrying on down the road Maggie continued to try to question her young passenger but the girl stubbornly refused to even acknowledge that Maggie was there. As the journey progressed Maggie had felt the temperature in the car drop significantly despite it being quite a mild night and she turned on the heaters to try to warm it back up.
Maggie reached a crossroads and a sign indicated that Mt. Thomas was to the right. Maggie indicated right and looked both ways. It was clear of any traffic. She pulled out of the junction in quite a leisurely and unexciting fashion. Her heart jumped suddenly as the girl gave out a shriek of terror that seemed to curdle Maggie's blood. She slammed on the brakes and the car juddered to a halt.
"What?" gasped Maggie. She spun her head around to look on the backseat. There was no one there! Maggie's startled eyes ran around the backseat of the car and the surrounding area. The was no sign of the little girl and she was certain that she hadn't heard the car door open. She was completely alone sitting in her car that was now stationary across the middle of the crossroads. Maggie fought to compose herself and her emotions. She realised she had to move the car and she pulled over to the side of the road. She got out of the car again and stood beside it still looking for the little girl. But she was nowhere to be seen.