Astoria, OR

February 19th, 2019

Her kids were screaming for her, the apparition to her front was hissing in obvious anger, and within her chest her heart was beating so hard it felt like a caged beast wanting to escape.

And she had no idea what to do.

“NO!” she cried, trying to break her temporary paralysis as she darted to the right. Her muscles cried out in protest for only a second, and then she was free. Stumbling forward she barely caught herself before looking back to where she’d been standing, only to see nothing. There was no ghost, no woman, no strange thing in her house. But her children were still screaming for her, and without thinking she ran upstairs, her mind perhaps rationalizing that Caden was outside, he could run, and that the two upstairs were younger and might need her more.

As she reached the top of the stairs her footfalls were loud in her ears as she thundered down the hallway into Aiden’s room.

He was fast asleep.

She half-stumbled, half-tottered towards Alan’s room, fully expecting him to still be yelling for her despite the lack of any noise from that direction. Instead, as she opened the door, Alan looked up at her from a book he’d been reading, another science fiction novel that he’d bought with his allowance. He looked rather sheepish, but as though he was in any real danger.

“Aiden woke up,” he said quietly, “But he went back to sleep. Sorry mom.”

She just nodded, making her to the stairs as she felt discombobulated in that moment, unsure of where her moorings were. Hadn’t she heard her kids screaming for her? As she got closer to the bottom of the stairs she heard the unmistakable sound of the sliding glass door opening, and there came Caden, walking around the dividing wall without a care in the world. He gave her a look as he raised his eyebrows in his customary fashion before plopping himself on the couch once again with the remote control.

There were no words as she watched him for just a moment before making her way back to the kitchen, feeling a bit foolish but also quite confused. That feeling went away quickly however as she saw what was waiting for her.

(to be continued)

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