My eyes were about to close when I saw movement. Through the window curtains, pulled together against the glare of the porch lights, I saw a shadow glide a few feet and stop. After a few seconds, it moved again.

     At first, I was more curious than frightened. I knew the doors were locked and dead bolted; my parents, a phone call away.

     I thought of waking Brooke and Jordan but didn’t want to disturb the shadow’s next move. It cast a strange profile as it floated several more feet along the porch. When the apparition reached the window nearest me, it stopped and slowly turned in my direction.

     My heart picked up speed. I began to sweat. Whatever abided outside the window remained in place, staring through the glass, through the closed curtains, watching me. I heard myself whimper. Its head angled as if listening.





Annie felt her legs began to buckle. Had she not been holding onto Kate, she might have fallen. They had to get out of there, as far away as possible, as quickly as possible. Annie tried to say this to Kate; she tried to move toward the screen door. She did neither. The door at the entrance to the lower lobby swayed inward another few inches. He was coming.