hiding in the closet with dad and younger brother. there is something special about him and there is a… something, outside, trying to get to him. dad is holding the door shut as I try to hide little bro under the clothes and boxes. there is, for some reason, a small sliver of a window at the back of the closet, the kind that opens on an old fashioned hand crank. the thing outside has managed to wedge it open just a half inch, and, thinking quickly, I start stuffing blankets and old laundry into the gap. it pulls them through almost as fast as I can stuff, but it seems to be delaying it some. then, abruptly, it stops.
then the neighbor lady’s voice comes through the door, asking if we’re alright. she and dad have slowly been developing a relationship over the years after our mom died and her husband left her. i know it’s a trick, but he’s already opened the door, she’s already inside. the thing that looks like the neighbor lady sees my brother’s foot sticking out from where I’ve tried to hide him and grins. dad hesitates, doesn’t want to attack, in case it is using her body somehow, doesn’t want to risk hurting her. i have no such compunctions, and I charge her, swinging my fists as hard as I can in the confined space. i rain blows upon her face and body, putting all my strength and desperation behind each punch, but she doesn’t react- doesn’t even blink. she throws me to the back of the closet with a casual backhand and my body leaves a hole in the drywall as I collapse to the floor in a heap of boxes and dusty linens. she shoves dad to the floor contemptuously and steps toward my brother.