I could never forget that day. There was an eerie stillness in the air as we stood there, waiting. Chills dimpled deep into my skin, and I swore it was watching me. It was watching all of us. A thing too far away for us to see but close enough to feel the slimy chill of its gaping stare. Like the unnerving lick of a wild animal. Or being scratched in that spot of your back that you can’t quite reach.I could never forget how it all felt. The stale air clasping my skin, as if paralyzing me in place. The blind panic coursing through me. The sound of muffled breaths and stifled cries suffocating the air around us while we did our best not to make a sound.None of us really knew what we were waiting for, and somehow that made it worse. Maybe we wouldn’t have been so utterly petrified if we’d known what we were up against. But we didn’t. We just stood there in the dark, the dewy mist of twilight teasing our tired eyes, and tried not to scream.
My aunt always told me to beware of the monsters in the closet. Of demons and shadows. Mythical beings she read stories about at bedtime. Creatures from the corners of our eyes and the echoes in our footsteps. She sang me eerie lullabies of cautionary tales, sinking in stories rich with disaster and fear so I would recognize any such creature if I ever saw one. When she’d speak these rehearsed sermons of the undead, her hands would tremble, and her eyes would go wide and far away—the shocking blue around her pupils turned into stagnant crystals ready to drop and shatter at any moment. It was as if she had left this world altogether and I had to wait for her to return.
I always wondered where these stories came from and why Maggie recited them to me every night before I went to bed. As a teenager, I thought she was simply out of touch with reality— that there was something about her that wasn’t quite right. I heard it when she spoke and saw it in those wide crystal eyes. Her lyrics never made their way into my mind, at least not until I was much older. They just swirled inside the little head that she cradled and brushed before bedtime.
I was a very protected child in a small home, in a small town, hidden deep within Western Europe.
When she died, I left the only place I’d ever known. I had no one else in Fairbrooke worth staying for.So I moved to Brakerton Heights.