When someone who’s covered with blood and carrying a knife asks me politely, I’ll usually say “yes”
[TW: Blood, murder, implied abuse.]
I found her on the highway. She was wearing what had once been a pink, teddy-bear nightie, but was now a rich, blood red and soaking wet. Poor kid looked like she’d bathed in blood. And the big kitchen knife clutched in her white-knuckled hands didn’t do much to help the image.
She was so tiny. I guessed her age at four or five. Daycare age. She should have been watching cartoons and playing with dolls, not wandering the roads in the middle of the night and covered in blood.
Of course I stopped. I’m not a monster. I might as well have been by the way she cringed and wept.
“Are you okay, kid?”
“…i’ve been a bad chimunk,” she whimpered. “…i killed th’ big bad wolf… an’ then i killed the sheep who let him… who let him…”
I didn’t advance on her. I just hunkered by the side of the road with her. Keeping my hands where she could see. “It’s okay,” I cooed. “I bet the big bad wolf hurt the little chipmunk; she’s not bad if all she was doing was making him stop.”
Best to keep to her own distancing language. Best to sound reassuring.
“…some of the sheep went through it before,” said the blood-soaked little kid. She had a pretty pink bow on top of her head. Well. What used to be a pretty pink bow. “…and one knew it was happening… but they let it… they let him do–” She stopped looking at the ground long enough for me to look deep into eyes that had already seen Hell. She was four. “…chipmunks shouldn’t tell lies…”
“Are you running away? From the big bad wolf?”
“Where are you headed?”
“…mexico… canada… where the bad people go.”
Ah. “Well… the bad people go to the police first. I can take you right to them. It isn’t safe to go walking on the highway.”
She had killed her family. And an exam showed that she had been trying to tell the truth about her father. And her brothers had suffered before her. CSI obtained evidence that the mother was battling depression and mixing her self-medications.
Her name’s Clarissa. She’s in therapy, now. Talking about all the ‘lies’ that the bad chipmunks tell. If all goes well, she might be better by the time she’s eighteen. I visit her every day and teach her more ways to keep the big bad wolves off of her.
I just wish I’d gotten to that scumrat of a father before she did. I’d have made that human garbage suffer.
 For full details on this poor mite, check out Clarissa by Jason Yungbluth. TW: ALL THE TRIGGERS. http://www.whatisdeepfried.com/2000/12/31/clarissa/