The meeting places were always so dark and secluded. He always had more than one guy to meet me, too, like he couldn’t trust me, like I was the bad deal happening. Well, he wasn’t wrong. This time I was the bad drug deal, but for them.
I open my eyes and roll over to face the clock blinking 2:06 am in bright green. I think Dad and Mom just got home from their ‘evening’ party, so I roll over and close my eyes. Moments later, I hear another loud thud and glass shattering. What are they doing down there? Are they really that wasted? I sit up and shuffle my white powder, straw, and razer into drawer really quick, just in case my parents come barging in. I stand up, walk to my door, and peek into the long, dark hallway. Huh. There are no lights on, but things are still dropping and shattering. Dad and Mom always turn on the lights when they get home.
My little sister starts to cry in the next room, and I peek back into the hall and then run into my sister’s room and take her out of the crib. Her face is red from screaming so much that she cut off her oxygen supply, covering herself in snot. Ew, gross. From below I can hear a distinct smoky, cracked laugh. F***, he’s here. I knew he’d find out, that I played his damn boys. They never knew what I had coming for them until I f***ed them up at that drug deal. Got away with the whole bag of coke, free of charge. Ha, stupid bastards. My sister starts wailing again, so I cradle her tightly to my chest to drown out her sound and make a run for it back to my room. I trip over my sweatpants, and my knees hit the floor with a boom. I hear that crack of my right knee as I hit the ground and pain shot up my leg like a volt of electricity was just introduced to the muscle. I let out a little whimper of pain. Dammit. He heard me.
I can hear his boots clicking on every step he takes up the stairs. S***, s***, s***, s***. I run to my closet and stick the baby in my laundry hamper and keep patting her, to calm her down. I crawl across the floor and stop in my tracks. He is calling for my name in a whisper that temps a cat to come out and play, “Jack. Jack, my boy. I know you’re here, come on out lad.” I start to panic and grab my phone from the floor next to my bed, but my foot catches the cord of my lamp and it comes crashing down and the phone skates across the floor, right next to the door. Great. My feet are f***ing failing me. I dive into the closet and close the door just enough so it’s cracked and looks natural.
I can hear my bedroom door open and can hear his boots clicking. Click, click, click. I’m watching through the crack of my door, but I can’t see him. I hear the boots stop and my bedroom door close. His boot clicks receded down the hall. He’s gone, and the baby starts crying again. Are you f***ing kidding me right now? I try to calm her down by patting her, but then she starts wailing an ear-piercing scream and I can’t make it stop.
The clicking comes thundering back and bursting into my bedroom. It’s like everything goes quiet and stops, like time almost freezes, and then begins to move again, slowly at a snail’s pace. “Jaaack,” he susurrates with a tempting melody. I begin to breathe heavier and heavier, clawing at the air like it was getting pulled right out of me. I peek through the crack, waiting to get a glimpse of him, or at least what he was doing. Where is he?
I can’t see anything and move closer and closer to the door. Then, all at once, his eye comes into the crack, and the corner of his smile comes into view, his smoky cackle echoing through the room.