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Promise You Won't Tell?

A small girl watched the snow dance outside without her. Her whisper fogged the glass, “I can’t tell you.”

Allie scooped her daughter onto her lap and murmured something imperceptible.

The girl shrugged, “He gave me presents. He likes it when I sit on his knee too.”

A police officer crouched beside the girl, “Do you know him?”

Tears welled, “If I tell you, he won’t be my secret Santa anymore.”

The social worker squeezed the doll in her lap, the bulging eyes mirrored her own; her moment had come, too soon as always.

“He was nice. Can I play now?”