grey sky hung low over the city of Townsville, as the children made their daily morning trek to Pokey Oaks Kindergarten. They
all arrived in a
roar of laughter and chatter as the children took their seats obediantly as the bell rang for class to
"Well, good morning, class," Sandra Keane said, standing in front of her young charges.
"Good morning, Miss
Keane!" the children replied, in a chorus of young and sprightly voices.
Far, in the back of the room, sat a small girl,
with sapphire eyes and chestnut hair that grew past her shoulders. She sat submissively in her chair,
However, unlike the rest of the children, she was reticent and appeared to be mute.
"We have a special guest today," miss
Keane stated, getting a cheerful responce fromt he children, obviously celebrating the fact that lessons
would be shortened
At the PowerPuff Girls' table, Buttercup leaned over towards her sisters.
"I hope it's not the Dancing
Carrot guy again," she mumbled, getting vigorous nods of approval from her siblings.
"Today, we have with us an ex-ghost
chaser, and a good friend of mine from way back - please welcome miss Daphne Blake!"
The entire class began to clap as
a slender young woman, about Sandra's age, walk into the classroom. She had shining grey eyes, and a
flowing red mane
of red hair. To top this off, the redhead seemed to dress casually for today, wearing a lavender sweater and a pair of black
capri pants, the outift topped off with a pair of white tennis shoes. The redhead smiled.
"Good morning, children,"
she stated. A slight twinge of an Irish accent hang in her milky voice.
The presentation had gone smoothly, as Daphne had
the talent of being a very good storyteller and told them a few of the tales about her
adventures with three other people
and their dog.
"...and as he was dragged away, Mr. Jenkins said,
'And I would've gotten away with it too - if it wasn't for you meddlin' kids!'" Daphne ended her
tale, chuckling as she
concluded the sentence.
The children clapped, and even Buttercup threw in one of her celebratory whistles to enlighten
the moment even more. Daphne bowed
"Thank ye, thank ye," Daphne replied. She then took a seat in her chair
beside her Sandra's desk as Sandra concluded her claps, stood up, and
looked out over the audience.
"Okay, class, get
out a sheet of paper."
The groans of disgruntled youths followed this as they got out their notebooks.
"On that sheet
of paper, I want you to ask our guest here a question. Ask her anything," the teacher said with a smile.
the students got out their pencils and eagerly began to scribble questions on their papers.
As she read through the notes,
Daphne answered to the class each question. Most of them asked of her family life and her job.
Where were you born?
was born in a small town called Killarney, in the country of Ireland."
Do you have any children?
"I do have
a child. A little boy, named Sheridan. He's about your age."
Why don't you chase ghosts anymore?
"I don't chase
ghosts anymore because I felt that I wanted to do something else with my life- though the gang and I solve a mystery or two
now and then." She followed that reply with a smile.
She answered a variety of general questions, Daphne came across
the last one, a question that made a lump catch in Daphne's throat:
Did your parents ever hurt you?
Daphne stared, enthralled at the small handwriting.
She was unable to answer this question. Clearing her throat in a somewhat queasy manner,
the redhead shuffled the papers
into a neat stack and placed them in her lap.
"Thank you for the nice questions," Daphne said brightly; though she was
unable to get her mind off of that one question that had remained
Time for recess.
of the children dashed outside, and both Sandra and Daphne noticed the small girl from the back of the room trailing behind.
Daphne looked worried. "Who is that?" she asked her friend.
"She's Robin Schneider," Miss Keane replied. "She's
quite shy, and I'm hoping she'll come out of her shell. She's a very sweet girl, but is also
scared of social contact."
nodded at her friend's explanation, but Daphne sensed something terribly wrong. She watched the girl walk alone across the
cutting through the hustle and bustle of romping classmates as they played in the mild weather. It wrenched
the young woman's heart to see
Robin take a seat at the base of a tree at the edge of the play area.
her throat, standing.
"I'm going to get some fresh air, Sandy," she said, starting for the door.
Sandra was correcting
papers. "Alright, Daphne - don't have too much fun," she joked.
Daphne chuckled, walking outside onto the play field.
smiled, scanning her eyes over the various children, scurrying about her. She refocused on Robin, however, and walked silently
slightly wet grass. She came to the tree, and took a seat beside Robin.
"Is there something wrong, honey?"
the soft voice said, taking Robin out of her reverie. She looked up at the concerned elder woman, and her
eyes were wide
as she bit her bottom lip and trembled a little, unnoticable to Daphne. She shook her head.
"N..no.." she said softly,
speaking for the first time that day. She looked sharply away from Daphne, focusing her eyes on her shoes, then her
dress, the dress she had worn yesterday...
"Are you sure?" Daphne asked.
"Yeah.." Robin replied,
still refusing to look at Daphne.
Daphne sighed quietly, patting the child on the back. Reluctantly, Daphne stood and started
back to the building.
Watching Daphne go, Robin held back tears, wishing she could have a mother who actually cared, like
she did. Robin looked down at herself
again, seeing the reminders of her reasonless "punishment", showing up on her arms
in the form of red lines and purplish-blue splotches that
blemished her pale skin...