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Christina C. Franklin | Alankrita Amaya

Jack watched as they came in droves, skipping down the street, laughing with joy.

What is there to laugh about? he thought, looking out into the evening sky. Devoid of stars due to a thick cloud cover, the atmosphere mirrored his mood. Jack couldn’t wait for tonight to be over.

Although Jack was smiling, he felt aflame with hurt from his fresh wounds. There was nothing he could do now, except keep his stagnant pose. Thinking back to the previous evening, he couldn’t believe how long it took Jonathan to work on him. He never felt so hollow and confused as he did now.

Again he heard more steps approaching.

“Look at him!” a boy said pointing in Jack’s direction. “He’s funny looking.”

His ego stripped raw, Jack thought the same thing about the boy seeing him now who was standing just a few feet from Jack’s current perch. Jack didn’t move an inch as the boy’s friends approached. He hoped that they wouldn’t take too much notice to him. One was a big football player. Jack didn’t like football players. They always kicked around his friends.

After a few moments, they finally moved on. Just like all the rest had done.

Jack was tired. All he could hear was ringing surrounding him from all directions. My head feels awfully hot, he thought, as a rock star walked by this time dropping a Tootsie Roll inches from his face. He wanted to smell it, but could not.

Then suddenly he saw it — his reflection on the side of a silver bag a little girl was tightly holding onto with both hands. He was shocked at his appearance and wanted to cry. The little girl was no more than five or six years old. She cocked her head to the side and walked over to him. Oh no. What is she going to do? Jack felt panic set in as he wondered what the little girl was going to say to him.

“Hello, Mr. Jack-O-Lantern,” she softly spoke looking into his eyes, “I love you.”

It was the sweetest voice he had heard all night.

She was a princess.

About Christina C. Franklin

Having never lost her passion for writing, Christina Franklin always found ways to flex her creative muscle by writing website content, newsletters and business litigation blogs during her 20+ year career as either a legal and/or executive assistant. A reader of many genres and an incurable fan of the heat miser and snow miser, on a typical day, Christina can be found sitting under a pile of black and white fur in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, while attempting to pen her first novel. Currently, several of her short stories can be found on The Story Shack.

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