The young girl pulled her wagon behind her as she walked with purpose down the sidewalk toward the little grocery store that was only a few blocks from their house.
Jostling and clattering along the concrete, the little red wagon was empty save for its lone passenger; her stuffed teddy bear, Sam.
Sam the bear bounced haphazardly as she continued on her journey to the store with the determination of a child set on a mission.
Unnoticed by the girl, passersby smiled to each other at the adorable child with her stuffed animal and toy wagon on her errand.
Arriving at the quaint food market, the little girl entered and went unseen by the busy cashier as her head barely peaked over the edge of the partition that separated the entrance and exit doors.
Taking out her list from the front pocket of her overalls, written out in coloured pencils, the child went up and down the aisles gathering the grocery items printed with careful penmanship on the lined paper.
Once Sam the bear was crowded with apples, crackers, milk, cereal, and an odd amount of meats from the butcher's counter, she trundled her wagon up to the check out and began arduously lifting each item up onto the conveyer belt.
The teenaged cashier had to peer over the counter to see where the groceries were appearing from, and smiled a little unsure at the small girl unloading her wagon-full of food stuffs to be scanned.
The little girl looked up from her task and smiled brightly back at the wary grocer.
"My mom's not feeling very good, so she sent me to pick up some things while she rests in bed." She offered matter-of-factly.
"Oh, I see." The cashier responded, a tad dumbfounded, but began scanning through the assortment of items as they moved along the conveyer.
The total came up on the display screen and before the teen could ask how she was going to pay, the little girl dutifully held up a fan of bills to cover the cost.
After making change and bagging the groceries, the cashier helped load the wagon back up; being careful not to squish Sam the bear in the process.
The little girl thanked them and tugged on the wagon handle roughly to start off on her way out to the exit and back outside.
Making her way back home, the girl trudged a bit heavier-footed with the now full wagon, but with the same steadfast determination she had had at the start of her journey.
Reaching the big house with the wrap-around porch her mother and her called home, the girl turned up the walkway and stopped the wagon at the foot of the wooden porch steps, letting it bang against them to a halt.
Leaving Sam alone in the wagon, she slowly lugged each plastic bag full of food up the stairs and brought them all into the foyer of the old, yet well-maintained house before beginning to unpack them and put each item into their place, either in the cupboards or refrigerator.
As she put the last of the groceries away and was bunching up the plastic bags into the bag holder under the sink, a noise from the floor above made her look suddenly upwards with a worried look upon her youthful face.
A noise like someone moving across the wooden floor in the room directly above; her mother's bedroom.
With a heavy sigh, the now weary little girl went back to the fridge to pull out a package of bloody hunks of meat she had purchased from the store.
Slopping the red meat chunks into a clean bowl, she carried it out to the hall and up the creaking stairs that led to the second floor.
The noises grew louder as she neared the closed door of her mother's room at the front of the house, along the narrow upstairs hallway.
Sounds of someone moving cumbersomely mixed in with a strange metallic noise came from behind the door as she put her hand on the knob. As she turned the antique crystal doorknob, the noises cut off abruptly and the door opened upon creaking hinges into the dark of the room.
The opening door let the sunlight in from the well-lit hallway windows; a slowly widening wedge that revealed a heavily scuffed and scratched hardwood floor. Marks made by heavy metal chains and sharp animal-like claws.
Standing silhouetted, the girl's figure was tiny and small in the doorframe.
"Mommy?" She spoke barely above a whisper. "I brought you dinner. Are you feeling any better?"
She held out the bowl of meat and cautiously peered into the still dim corner of the dark bedroom. The smell of rotten meat filled the room and the girl tried not to gag as she took a timid step forward.
Movement in the shadows at the far side of the room stopped her advance and she bent down, never taking her eyes off the darkened area where something waited, watching in the shadows.
Placing the bowl on the floor and slowly pushing it along the marred wood, the little girl tried to move it as far into the room as possible without actually moving closer herself.
Instantaneously, an inhuman screech came from the shadows and a hideous figure lunged out with skeletal arms and razor-like fingers that no longer resembled human hands, but a creature's claws.
The monstrous creature was a twisted nightmare of how her beautiful mother had once looked. Her skin, grey and almost translucent; her once lush, dark brown hair had all but fallen out, leaving only patches of thin wisps on her otherwise bald head.
Gaunt and wiry, her soiled clothes hung off of her in rags; ripped and torn with slashes upon her skin showing underneath. Slashes and cuts that were self-inflicted as though she had been trying to ripped her own skin off.
Yet it was her eyes that held the most terror for the young girl. They had always been a bright emerald green, but now they were a solid black that seemed to seethe with hatred and rage toward her from the darkness of her maddened mind.
Jumping back outside the door, the little girl narrowly missed being snatched by the monster who had been her mother before the chain around its neck ended and stopped the thing in its tracks.
Swiping and gnashing its sharpen teeth at the girl, the creature continued to struggle against its chain shackles, wildly trying to attack its only daughter.
"You eat your dinner, mommy." The little girl stammered, "Eat it and maybe you'll get better soon, okay?"
Snarling madly, her mother knocked over the bowl with her stamping feet and she noticed the bloody meat for the first time as it spilled out over the floor.
Ravenously, she attacked the chunks little a starved animal, as her daughter watched on with tears welling up in her own green eyes.
"Please get better, mommy. I love you." She said as she closed the door upon the monster as the noises of it eating grotesquely in the dark masked the crying sounds from the little girl as she slumped to the ground on the other side.