Emma tossed and turned, trying to sleep in every position that she could think of in an attempt to get comfortable. She finally pulled her pillow over her head but that was fruitless as well. Whatever that noise was it was getting on her last nerve. She looked around the room to see if there was a clock anywhere but of course there wasn’t.
“This place is out of touch with the twenty first century.” Emma said under her breath. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, knowing that she wasn’t going to be able to get any sleep and got up. She walked out of her room and into the hallway. The hard wood floors felt like ice against her bare feet. She wished that she had kept her socks on but hated sleeping with something on her feet.
She walked out into the living room, passed both Leroy’s and James’ bedrooms. She heard Leroy snoring but nothing from James. She walked on and looked out the window and saw nothing but trees for miles. It was as if the outside world didn’t exist to this family. Although it was dark outside, Emma realized she had to use the restroom now that she was wide awake. She hurried back to her room where she slipped on her shoes and zipped up her hoodie that was already wrapped around her tiny body.
She walked outside and into the darkness, around to the back of the house and into the outhouse. The smell was almost unbearable and nearly knocked her over. It hadn’t been that bad earlier but someone must have used it she thought. She used it herself quickly and burst out of the small building and took a big breath of fresh air. Just as she started to walk back to the house she stopped when she over heard something coming from the other side of the back side of the house. She walked by the house, touching it lightly with her hand so that she wouldn’t get lost in the darkness of the night. She across the yard, attempting to feel with her feet any holes in the ground.
When she reached the source of the noise she saw Suzie in a basement like area pounding on something with a hammer like object. Her eyes squinted from the light, trying to see in and what she was doing and unknown to her that someone was coming up from behind her until the person grabbed her, cupping her mouth so that she wouldn’t be able to scream for her life.
“Shhh,’ she heard someone say behind her.’ I’m not going to hurt you.” She turned around to see James was the one who had frightened her so badly. She slapped him on his fore arm; it was her second reaction next to screaming.
“What are you doing?” she snapped.
“What are YOU doing?’ he asked’ you’re the one snooping around the outside of my house.”
“I kept hearing something and it was keeping me up. You?”
“I couldn’t sleep either. I pretend to go to sleep so that my mom won’t freak out. Ever since I got back my sleeping schedule has been completely messed up.” They started to walk away from the house.
“Where were you at?” Emma asked him.
“I went off and fought in the war. It was a few years after Leroy was born and my pa had left. I was gone for about four years and I come back to this. My mom didn’t used to be like this…all creepy.”
“She isn’t creepy.” Emma said but she was lying through her teeth and the thought that James knew that she was.
“Yeah she is, admit it to both me and yourself.’ He laughed. He had a sweet laugh and didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the family. His mother was a large scary woman with sweat stains and little Leroy was a strange one who Emma had caught on more then one occasion, starring at her and drooling as if she was food.
“So how come you left them, to go fight?” Emma asked him as they sat down on the steps of the front porch.
“I wanted too. I thought I could help my mom out with bills because she was barely workin’ and I wanted to help. That was the best way that I knew of but she changed when I was gone. I came back to my family but she was different, Leroy was different.”
“How were they different?”
“They uh…just different from when I left and I miss the way that they were but I will always love them.” James said. Emma looked at him and really felt bad for him. He seemed to be lost within their world but he seemed to belong in hers.
“Well you seem to be a great brother and a great son, they should feel very lucky to have you in their lives.” She smiled as did he.
“Thanks, that means more then you know.” He admitted to her. They sat there for a few moments, not saying anything then without warning James turned his head and kissed Emma and she kissed back. She had to admit it to herself, James was a cutie! He was tall, dark hair and he was built (now she knew it was because he had been to basic training for the army). His kisses were wet and simply delightful. She hadn’t kissed anyone since she broke up with her ex and that was over six months ago. Honestly she hadn’t met someone who she was attracted to until now so maybe her ending up at this particular house was a good thing.
Slowly James pushed Emma’s body back to where she was laying on her porch. He ran his hand down the side of her body while kissing her harder. A chill ran threw her body and Suzie’s words ran threw her head ‘you keep your grubby little hands off my James’ and she pulled back.
“Did I do something wrong?” he asked.
“No, no of course not uh…I told your mom that I wouldn’t go near you.” She admitted to him. He pulled back and slowly nodded his head as if he was upset at the situation.
“You’re right then, we should get back to bed.’ He said as he was getting up.’ Here let me help you.” He said as he took a hold of Emma by the hand and pulled her up to her feet. They walked back into the dusty house and just as James got Emma into her room they heard his mom yelling for her son. Emma couldn’t believe she was yelling so loud without seeming to care if Leroy woke up or not. James pushed her into her room and closed the door behind him. Emma heard James and his mother talking. They were talking about the police and a missing girl from the area but it was hard to make out much of what they were saying and then they were gone.
She tried to lie in bed and go to sleep, she really did but she just couldn’t. Her mother always said that it was in a girl’s nature to be nosey. She quietly opened her bedroom door and strolled down the long hallway until she reached the living room; there wasn’t anyone there. She circled to the kitchen where she looked around and saw a door that was cracked open slightly. After taking a deep breath she walked forward towards the door. She slid her fingers in the small opening and pulled the door open, finding nothing more then stairs and a single light bulb. In the open air around the light she could see flying dust particles everywhere.
She looked down and saw the stairs and they didn’t look safe but her curiosity, of course took over and she forced herself to brave the stairs. The closer she got to the bottom the more she started to hear a familiar sound.
Pound, pound, pound
Emma looked to her right as she snuck down the stairs where she saw a horrifying sight, so horrifying that she couldn’t scream, she couldn’t move…she just froze.