They just weren’t there. The beds were made and there was not a ruffle in the blankets. In fact, no sign that they had been slept in at all.
[Mum?] David’s hands moved in the air in front of him as he unconsciously signed to himself. [Dad?] Then the memory came back. The memory of the something different which had awoken him. His small heart sank inside his chest. Had somebody left? Again?
He ran out of his parents’ room and looked elsewhere. The bathroom. Empty. He ran down the stairs with its dirty grey carpet. Down to the dark hall on the ground floor. Empty. He flicked the light switch but no light came on and a slippery worm of fear crept down the back of his neck. David hated the dark.
He moved through the other shadowy rooms quickly, afraid. The living room, the kitchen, the dining room: none of the lights worked and all were empty. He ran back upstairs to his parents’ room. The small boy stood there in his pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers staring at the bed. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know where to look. He…Sally!
As quickly as he had crashed into his parents’ room earlier, he now threw himself back down the corridor towards Sally’s room.
As usual, her door was shut.
He grabbed the door knob and for just a second froze. A different type of dread grabbed him: the fear of the maddened older sister. (As any eight-year-old boy will tell you: there is no dragon more monstrous, no ogre more terrifying, no witch more cackly and evil than an eleven-year-old older sister). And even now with the terrible news that he had to share, David hesitated.
You and I know, however, that the mind begins to play funny tricks on us when we are alone in the dark. And here all by himself in the middle of the night in this old, dusty, neglected corridor, the deep dark shadows suddenly made themselves known and edged just a little closer. David didn’t hesitate again. He grabbed the knob, gave the bottom of the door a good stiff kick where it usually jammed and threw himself into the forbidden realm.
SallySallySallySallySally! Her face flashed through his mind as he fell into the room.
SallySallySallySallySally! Crash! The pile of books, magazines and games that had been stacked somewhere in the middle of the room went flying.
SallySallySallySallySally! Snap! He didn’t even want to think about what it was that he had just trodden on or the revenge that it would surely provoke later that day.
SallySallySallySallySally! Something stirred under the duvet on the bed in front of him. Something angry, something older, something still capable of beating him in a fight.
“Muuuuuuuuuuum!” It started as a low, terrible moan. “Daaaaaaaaad!” Rose to a shrill crescendo. And then the dreadful, angry realisation. “He’s in my room AGAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNN!” She sat bolt upright, her blonde, shoulder-length hair flicking back from her face, her eyes (usually a startling blue in the light of day) glowering darkly.
“GET OUT! GET OUT! MUM!”
“OUT OUT OUT! DAD!”
“SHUT UP! OUT! GET OUT!”
[mum dad gone zebra garden snow gone!]
“WILL YOU JUST GE-“
CRASH! Sally froze as the sound of broken glass shattered the night!