Sonic the Hedgehog
Strange Things Happen in This World
By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: Nackie is copyright Sega. The song that this story was based on, "Strange Things Happen" by Dickey Lee is copyright ????

I laugh to myself as I turn Ike Malconi over to the local police and collect the reward money. That varmint had been foolish enough to think he could kill me—but he was mistaken!

"It takes more than a hand grenade to take me out," I tell him, and the police sergeant—both of whom are surprised to see me still among the living. My black cloak is more tattered than it had been before, and I have a few cuts and bruises, but the grenade hadn't got to me.

About three blocks from the police station, I notice a young human girl attempting to cross the usually busy intersection, which is unusually quiet and deserted right now. . . .

Without warning, a car comes zooming by from the other direction. She'll never be able to get across in time . . .

"Watch out!" I yell, leaping into action and pushing her out of the way just in time. Crashing down on the pavement across the street, I fall backward and wham into something hard and metallic. Everything goes black.
I feel a cool hand touch my cheek, and suddenly I hear a female voice, whispering softly to me. I can't make out the words, but I like the sound of them.

Prying my eyes open, I find myself looking at the girl I saved.

"You are alright?" she says, with a slight French accent.

"I'll live," I reply with a rueful grin, realizing I must've hit my head on the lamppost. "How about you, little missy? You nearly got run over by that car!"

"I am alright, too, thanks to you!" She gives me a little hug.

When she pulls away, I study her thoughtfully. She has dark hair in what looks to be a forties or fifties style, and her bright violet eyes are dancing. She's wearing an attractive red party dress and carrying a handbag.

"What are you doing out this late at night, little missy?" I ask curiously. "This ain't such a good part of town." That's why there's a police station in the area, I think, because it's so full of crime.

"I was coming back from my school prom," the girl replies softly, "and I took a wrong turn somewhere."

"How come your date didn't walk you home?" I slowly stand up, swaying slightly. I grab the lamppost to steady myself, and the girl also lends a hand.

"Oh . . . he was . . . not nice, and we parted before the prom ended," she says, looking down.

I frown, having a purty good idea of what kind of jerk her date was. "I'll walk you home, little missy," I tell her.

"Oh, you don't have to do that," she says, but I catch a trace of hopefulness in her eyes.

"It wouldn't be any trouble," I reply, "and besides, I don't like to see little missies walkin' home late at night all alone, especially in this part of town."

She agrees, and we start out. Along the way, I learn that her name is Betty Poitier and she and her family just moved here from France two years ago.

"What do you think of America?" I ask.

Betty smiles. "It is a magnifique country," she proclaims, shivering.

"Are you cold?" I look at her.

"A little," she confesses.

"Here, take my cloak," I say, undoing the snap and wrapping it around her before she can protest. "I know it's kinda beat up, but it'll keep you warm."

"Merci beaucoup," Betty says softly, pulling it tighter around her.

Now we're nearing the classier section of Salt Lake City, called the Avenues. Betty lives on J Street, she told me earlier, and now she points out a large, old mansion.

"Well, I guess this is goodbye," I say.

"Merci again, Nack," Betty whispers, kissing me on the cheek and hugging me goodbye.

It's only after she goes inside that I remember about my cloak. I go up to the door and knock. An old woman comes to the door, her hair piled up in a bun, and a tired, world-weary expression on her face. "Oui?" she asks.

With the use of the French language, I decide that she must be Betty's grandmama or something. "Howdy, ma'am. Is Betty Poitier here?"

The woman's eyes narrowed. "How can you be so cruel?"

I am confused. "Huh?"

"Betty was my daughter. She was hit by a car walking home from her senior prom in 1956," the woman coldly explains. "I don't appreciate jokes, young man!"

"But I wasn't jokin'," I try to explain, but the woman shuts the door. I can hear her crying behind it. Before I can decide what to do, the door flies open again, and an old man is standing there now.

"Sonny, you're not the first," he says softly. "This is the forty-sixth anniversary of our Betty's death, and almost every year, someone has reported seeing or saving a girl of her description in the area where she died so long ago. My poor Fleur doesn't believe any of it is real—heaven knows she wants to—but I believe you really saw Betty."

I don't quite know what to say except "I'm sorry for your loss."

"Thank you, sonny," he says, smiling.
Somehow I find myself walking through the Salt Lake City Cemetery at three in the morning, my thoughts tumbling over themselves, all screaming to be heard at once. I walked a spirit home?? It seems too strange, too surreal. I believe in the supernatural and all that, but still. . . . I must still be unconscious. Yeah, that's it. I got hurt worse than I thought when I rammed into the lamppost, and any minute I'll wake up and find myself lying on the sidewalk, alone, with no one in sight. . . .

All such thoughts come to an abrupt halt when I find myself standing in front of a simple grave with a wooden cross for a marker. "Betty Poitier, Beloved Daughter: 1939-1956"is written across it. But what I've found particularly shocking is what's underneath the marker.

Folded up neatly in the grass, with a lone tulip across it, is my tattered cloak.