Maria and Melissa got the twin beds in Tyler’s room. Mom apologized, but both of them had brothers and said they understood. Amina and Mindy got the twins in David’s room. David was in the National Guard and currently deployed oversees in some place he could not talk about. Jessica got the other twin in Emily’s room.
“Just like at school,” Jessica commented as she unpacked. “This is a preview.”
“Except at school we won’t have Mom downstairs in the kitchen cooking way too much food.” Emily yawned. Now that the gang was there, her exhaustion started catching up with her. She felt safe, whether she was or not. Melissa freaked her out a bit when she sat cross-legged on the floor in Emily’s room, chanted and sprinkled what looked like dust all around.
“Mom’s going to get out the vacuum if you keep it up,” she commented.
Melissa also smeared some oil in a corner of every window and door in the house, and secretly to keep the window cleaner from coming out. Melissa was satisfied that she had done all she could, until Jessica pointed out the heating and air conditioning ducts.
“It might get in through the roof and come down through the ductwork,” so Melissa applied some oil there, too. It was odorless in the air conditioning of August, but it might have smelled in the winter with the heat turned on. Once that was done, there was nothing else to do but go down to the living room where Dad had the Yankee game on. He was an old time Clippers fan and offered to treat them all to a game at the stadium, hot dogs and all. The Mud Hens were coming to town on Monday, he said, but the girls declined.
“I could go,” Tyler offered, and his dad agreed. They had a date.
“And there are always some tickets at the box office if you girls change your minds,” he said.
Poor Tyler, Emily thought. He was sleeping in the basement, but he could hardly complain about having his house invaded by all these young and good looking women. He mostly sat and watched, and it was not the Yankee game he watched. But he said little, like he was suddenly shy. Then again, Emily did not have the strength at the moment to tease him, so maybe he got off lucky.
After supper, which Emily struggled through, the girls made various excuses to go up to bed early. It was the plane trip and the drag waiting at the airports and a busy day of travel, and the family understood, even if Tyler was disappointed to see them disappear up the stairs. Once up, Maria got out her concoction of anti-dream juice and then they had a schedule of sitting up through the night to watch over Emily.
“I feel like the helpless one for a change,” Emily said with a big yawn.
“You are,” Jessica responded. “We’re a team. Go to sleep.”
Emily nodded and had no trouble doing that very thing.
The banging started around midnight. There was banging all around the outside of the house. Mindy sat on watch and Jessica was asleep but sat straight up when there was a tap-tap on Emily’s window. Mindy jumped out of her chair and switched on the overhead light.
“Turn it off,” Jessica ordered, and when she did, Jessica peered out the window to see if she could glimpse something in the night. There was nothing to be seen, so Mindy turned the light back on when Melissa came to the doorway. She was sweating and trembling.
“I don’t have very much magic,” Melissa said. “I won’t be able to keep it out. I’m sorry.” She collapsed in the doorway and Jessica and Mindy got her into Jessica’s bed.
Amina and Maria came last to the door and Amina spoke quickly. “It has not gotten in.” Emily’s mom came out of her room.
“I don’t mind the slumber party, but I would appreciate if you would keep it down a little.”
“Sorry to wake you.”
“Did we wake Mister Hudson?”
Emily’s mom shook her head. “He could snore through a hurricane.” She turned and went back to her room.
After that, Jessica found Emily’s old sleeping bag in the closet beside the bed Melissa was now occupying. Jessica was not leaving the room. Emily, and now Melissa were both asleep and unharmed as far as Maria could tell, but Jessica would not abandon them. Maria took Mindy back to the other room, but Mindy swore she would not be able to sleep. It was Amina’s turn to watch, but before she turned off the light, Jessica got out the army knife her dad bought her when she announced she was going into ROTC. Then she found Emily’s sword, the one made by hand by the four hundred and seventy-year-old Heinrich Schultz. Jessica had no idea if the sword had any magical properties, but she felt safer when she curled up beside it.
The wind picked up at two in the morning. It rapidly reached dangerous proportions around the house. The windows shook. Every door rattled, and if the women had been aware to notice, the doors rattled one at a time.
Melissa became a bucket of sweat and began to whimper in her sleep. Jessica could not wake her enough to get a word out of her. Maria came in and managed to get Melissa to swallow some liquid.
“A mild sedative,” Maria said. “I would rather she sleep than be injured.”
The wind stopped. Amina who was in the corner made her announcement. “It has not gotten in.”
“Good thing,” Maria and Jessica spoke together.
Oddly, this time Mindy slept through the noise. Emily’s mom also did not make an appearance. Tyler did come up from the basement. He decided to finish the night on the living room couch, with the kitchen light on, but the women upstairs did not know this.
Four in the morning is when everything happened, only this time there was silence. Maria was on watch. Maria turned on the small light beside the bed to act like a night light. Melissa and Emily were both asleep, and Maria felt like nodding herself. Jessica’s eyes popped open, not because she had some sixth sense, she imagined, but because Emily’s closet door was slowly opening and pushing up against the bottom of the sleeping bag.
Jessica could feel the presence in the room and it frightened her, terribly. She felt it pause over Melissa before it rounded the bed to Emily’s side of the room. Emily had said that when she was little she took the bed farthest away from the closet door, and now Jessica knew why.
When she had her chance, Jessica leapt up and switched on the light. Both Jessica and Maria caught a glimpse of the creature before it went invisible. It did not look at all like the man in the movie. This creature had absolutely no humanity about it.
As soon as it vanished, Jessica got grabbed by her hair, tossed to the ground, and the light got put out. Maria’s chair got knocked to the floor, and the small light between the beds also went out. Jessica grabbed Emily’s sword, and when Maria crawled to the door and switched the overhead light back on, she was ready. She saw the indent in the rug where the creature stood, hovering over Emily, and she swung the sword as hard as she could. The creature howled.
Emily and Melissa both sat straight up at that sound. Emily punched, and connected with something that doubled over. Melissa raised her hands, though it seemed to the others that Melissa was still mostly asleep. There was a small gust like wind and they heard something crash into the upper corner of the room. The howl came again from there, and they saw a purple smear, like bogy-blood spread across the wall.
Something ran between Maria and Jessica, shoved them out of the way and dove out the window. The glass shattered and everyone in the house came running, except Mister Hudson who continued to snore.
“It is gone,” Amina announced.
“Where?” Emily got up and avoided the broken glass
Amina shook her head. “It is too powerful,” she said as she and Maria helped Melissa to her feet and carried her away from the broken glass.
“I never thought my little spell would stop it,” Melissa confessed in a sleepy mumble.
“A simple lock might confuse an ogre for a second,” Mindy said. “But eventually the ogre will just rip the door off the hinges and without breaking a sweat.”
“I like that analogy,” Melissa said with a bit more strength.
Mindy screamed, “Don’t touch it!” Emily and Jessica were staring at the smear of bogy blood up by the ceiling. Emily at five-six would have had to jump to touch it, but Jessica at five-nine had her hand poised. “Don’t touch it,” Mindy said more calmly, but with a strict to-be-obeyed voice. “Unless you want to be haunted by nightmares for the rest of your life.” She finished the sentence and Jessica snatched her hand back.
“What on earth happened here?” Emily’s mom was aghast at the destruction.
“Maybe it was that big wind,” Tyler spoke over his mother’s shoulder. “I bet it was that wind.”
Emily’s mom looked hard at the girls in the room, but none of them denied it so what could she say?
“Shoes,” Jessica said, and Emily echoed, “Shoes everyone,” while she slipped her feet in her sneakers which were by the door. Emily was thinking about the glass, but Jessica was worried about the bogy blood in case someone accidentally stepped in it.
“Go back to bed, mom,” Emily said. “We will clean up.”
“You think I can sleep? Now I’ll have to call the window people first thing Monday morning, and that is going to cost,” she said. “And your father is going to have to get some plywood in the morning. He is not going to like that. Sunday is his sleep day.” She closed the door to her room.
“Your mom doesn’t know anything, does she?” Jessica noticed.
Emily shook her head. “She doesn’t want to know.”
“A bogyman.” Emily spoke honestly.
“It came out of the closet,” Jessica added.
“Awesome! You had a boogyman in the closet.” They did not feel the need to correct him since that was essentially correct. Instead, they went to get gloves and the strongest cleaners they could find.
“I like my closet,” Jessica said. “Of course it is about as big as Emily’s room.”
“Beverly Hills,” Emily told her staring brother. She looked up at the corner of her room and did not doubt that by the time they finished cleaning, the corner of her room would have to be repainted.