Josiah figures that her hands must be rough, considering the days she spends tightly holding on to the chain of the swing.

She doesn't swing as much as she just sits and lets her big, grey eyes take in everything. Or possibly nothing at all, since they do look a bit glazed over most of the time. She just sits there and the children look at her, wondering when she's going to let them have a turn on the swing. Josiah has never cared much for swinging, so he never wonders this. He just likes to sit in the grass and watch the girl sit on the swing.

Josiah thinks that sometimes she sees him during those rare moments when her eyes dart frantically around the park. If she does, she doesn't say anything at all. When trying to imagine what her voice might sound like, Josiah realizes that he has no desire to talk to her whatsoever.

The girl is sitting on the swing for the aesthetics, Josiah figures. This park is otherwise bleak and not very inviting, but those cascading curls, weak arms, and scrawny legs are incentive enough for Josiah to make a daily visit. The girl's pallid face and elegant hands that are undoubtedly rough from the rusty chains motivate Josiah to actually go somewhere after school lets out. Sometimes he doesn't go to school; he just sits and wait for her to take her place on the swing. Just like he knows his favorite TV show will always come on at the same time, he knows she will always be on that swing.

She mostly wears sundresses even though the weather is starting to change. This exposes just enough of her pale, flawless skin to satisfy Josiah's tastes. He doesn't care much for the idea of touching her, but he likes to observe the curves and contours of her painfully thin body. The dresses always dip down enough for Josiah to see her protruding collar bone and hint at those small breasts that are so perfect for her small frame. She wears these dresses often, even as the weather gets colder and colder. She never even brings a jacket.

What Josiah enjoys the most is when she wears the short skirts with the stockings that reach her slender thighs, the only part of her body that Josiah would ever entertain the idea of touching. He doesn't know why; there's just something about those stretches of snow-white skin between the skirt and the stockings that make Josiah's hand twitch from the urge to touch, stroke, touch, stroke, touch...

But he'd never touch, stroke, touch, since she's there and he's here. Josiah knows not to bother things that are there for the aesthetics; he wouldn't want to disrupt the only constant thing of beauty he has ever known. So he leaves the girl and her white thighs and her black stockings alone. He watches her from a safe distance and wants to count the curls that fall over her shoulders. He can make out a few distinct ringlets--- one, two, three... and then she carelessly adjusts her hair. It is normally at this point that she gets up leaves. If her skirt is short enough, the wind will sometimes blow it up and Josiah will try to convince himself that he looked away.

Josiah always leaves a few minutes after the girl leaves. It's just a cycle, like recording your favorite movie and watching it over and over again.

He doesn't quite know how to react on this certain day when she's actually not in her usual place. It's never happened before, so there's a bit of shock. Her body, that ethereal, exquisite body, isn't sitting on the swing.

It's time for a walk, Josiah decides. A walk to take his mind off of the missing girl, the missing body, the missing piece of art that's always there for him to enjoy at his leisure. He needs to walk to forget about those curls and those wrists and those thighs. Fifteen minutes have passed on the walking trail when he sees a body huddled against a tree. Skinny arms wrapped around knobby knees, there she is.

A strange noise is coming from her throat; Josiah thinks that maybe it's a sob. He notices that her shoulders are shaking violently and her hands are trembling as she moves them to her lovely locks of hair. Something is wrong, Josiah assumes very calmly. Something is most definitely wrong.

It's quite a beautiful thing, seeing how her cheeks barely even change color as she sits there, panting and sobbing and gasping. Her hands are still trembling as she tangles them in her hair, screams from behind gritted teeth, and senselessly pulls, pulls, pulls her perfect curls until there are black strands sliding down her dress, landing on her thighs, mixing with the leaves on the ground.

It's not so beautiful anymore, Josiah realizies as he watches her tear her hair from the roots. He's even more offended when he sees her dig her nails into her thighs and scratch at the porcelain skin through her stockings. It's as if she's purposely destroying everything he enjoys about her.

When she finally turns around and sees him, she opens her mouth as if she wants to say something. Her lips are chapped. "Just go!" she wails, placing her hands on her head. "If you're not going to help me, you need to just go!"

Josiah goes without question and is relieved when he can't hear her pathetic sobs anymore.

The next day, she wears a hat. Her hair is a bit shorter. She's wearing her torn, tattered stockings and her thighs are marked from her fingernails. Her big, grey eyes are still taking in everything and nothing.

Josiah takes his place in the grass and watches her. He decides not to look at her thighs until they are fully healed.

It'll be quite a shame if they scar.