Sybil was a rebellious young girl who never listened to her parents. When they would tell her to eat her carrots, she turned up her nose and bolted from the kitchen table, the exasperated voice of her reproving mother trailing after her. When she was caught sneaking carrots to the family of rabbits in her yard, her parents would chasten her as if she had committed a crime, shooing the furry hoard away while dragging a discouraged Sybil back inside. When they would tell her not to jump in the puddles, she would spring into every puddle she could find with great theatrics, laughing as she became soaking wet with glee. When they would tell her to not eat her candy all at once, they would find her lying on the floor in the midst of wrappers, the evidence of chocolate on her face, hands sticky with sugar.
It was not as if Sybil had contempt over her parents, nor was she deaf or stupid. She was rather a fearless girl who simply desired excitement in such a dull world, her heart craving adventures while her parents thought it best to conform her to what they thought best: an obedient, classy girl who would take life with more caution and seriousness. Her parents couldn’t help but worry over their wild card of a child. However, with every action, there was a consequence, and Sybil would find herself soon reprimanded by them– yet she still couldn’t resist the rush that came with rebellion.
So when their car rolled up the driveway that led to their new home, Sybil’s parents turned in their seats, serious expressions looking at their daughter, who looked as if she would burst out of the car at any second as she beheld their new home. And most excitedly, a forest out in the distance, only seconds away if she were to go bounding away. It called to her like no other place called to her. A fantastical place in a child’s mind.
“Now Sybil,” her mother started, her emploring voice regaining her daughter’s lost attention, “You must stay close to us.”
Her father added sincerely, “Yes, all you have to do is take your things into the house, okay?” At the look of desperation from Sybil, he acquiesced just a tiny bit, “When you’re done, you can explore– but I want you staying near at all times.”
At that, Sybil nodded contently, her face brightened once more, and off they were to their duties. When she jumped out of the car, all she could do was observe her new victorian home, rooted in place while the movers and her parents began unloading the truck. To a little girl, such a house was as enchanting as a palace, something that could only be depicted in books. However, it took only a few seconds until she was once again on the move, grabbing box after box and placing them inside the hollow house that was soon to be filled with new residents.
It didn’t take long before all the boxes she could manage were brought inside, she began running from room to room, up and down hallways, dodging stationary boxes, half-vigilant parents, and bewildered movers who cursed at the girl who moved like a speed demon, appearing and then disappearing. However, after fully exploring the house, even going to the most outdated and unfinished part of the house, the cellar, she wanted more. And once again, she couldn’t help but look to the forest.
She took a step, then another, then she ran, her short legs taking her as fast as possible until she found herself nestled in the forest, the natural hum surrounding her. Sybil looked back once to make sure her escape was undetected, then began her stroll through the forest, wonder and awe exuding from her.
Soon after, Sybil felt the sky darken a bit as the wind picked up. A following burst of wind made its presence clear, seemingly nudging her along until she was deep within the shadowy clutches of the forest, where, to her amazement, a featherlight mist began to develop on the forest floor around her ankles. Without realizing it, she felt goosebumps all over, the slight chill making her shiver. And yet she lacked caution and fear, curiosity abuzz and keeping her warm enough to continue on without a thought– until she saw the dark-haired girl dressed in snowy white perched by what seemed to be a pond.
Sybil paused, her head cocked in confusion as she looked at the girl who faced away from her with her head bent, who seemed to be aimlessly staring at the pond, a thin veil of mist swirling above.
Before she could take another step, the girl’s head lifted up with a certain otherworldly grace, “Who’s there?”
“Just me?” Sybil replied with a small voice unlike her, unsure how to answer such a question.
She laughed, although it sounded strange, yet enchanting as it carried throughout the forest, “What is your name?”
“My name is Sybil,” the young girl answered. She took another step forward, still puzzled, “What’s your name, and why are you here?”
The girl in white still didn’t move, but her voice seemed to hold utmost fascination as she spoke, “My name is Sybil too, and I’m here to pray, for I deem this site powerful and holy. When you look into this pond, the possibilities seem endless.”
Sybil thought it a strange answer, but she asked, “What are you praying for? How is your dress not getting wet and dirty? How are you not cold?” She then added, feeling a bit guilty herself, “Are your parents worried about you?”
The girl in white still did not move, saying, “You’re such a curious girl, aren’t you?” At that, Sybil couldn’t help but smile, thinking it such a compliment, but the girl in white continued on, “My dress is made of the strongest silk, so it cannot get wet, nor dirty. I find that the cold does not bother me at all, and have become rather accustomed to it. And my parents, well, I don’t have a home. But I wonder if my parents would be just as worried as yours. I pray for forgiveness, a future where I am loved and cared for.”
“You don’t have a home?” Sybil exclaimed.
The girl in white shook her head, “I lost my way some time ago. I miss the way things were, where I had three warm meals everyday, parents who fussed over me, a bed to curl into.”
At that, Sybil took two more steps, curious about the story of the girl in white, as well as developing a slight panic as the shadows that began to leach the light of day away, “I’m lost too, but I think I might know my way back home. Would you like to come with me? Maybe my family and I can help you.”
The girl in white still did not move, staying in place, and silent this time– until Sybil heard a stifled cry.
Sybil stepped closer, so close she could reach out and touch the cascade of ebony waves, however the girl in white hid her face away. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” she asked softly.
“I don’t think your parents would accept me. I couldn’t possibly be as perfect as you,” she sniffled, her shoulders caving in.
“I’m sure my mom and dad would be okay with having you, at least for a little while. And you don’t have to be as perfect as me. Just be you.”
The girl in white seemed to pause her sniffling. Sybil felt great relief, for hopefully she could help this girl. Yet Sybil, curious as always, dared to look into the pond, to see what was so fascinating about the pond.
However, when she looked, she gasped at what she beheld. Before Sybil could move, she was seized and yanked underneath the freezing water, the murkiness distorted with the disturbance of a girl fighting for life. However, her childish thrashing was no match for the strength of a creature well seasoned in its deadly craft. As she was held under, all she could do was behold the face of her killer, a face no one could understand nor love, for there was no face at all.
When Sybil’s thrashing began to subside, the girl in white said simply, “I couldn’t possibly be me if I could be you.”
At last, the once curious Sybil released her final breath, succumbing to death as she stared into the face that once belonged to her.