Who is it?
I don’t know; he looks ill. Come look.
Mrs. Baker came to the door, drying her hands. I’m right in the middle of doing dishes, she mumbled. Her daughter stepped out of the way.
Mrs. Baker leaned forward to look through the peephole in the door. She was silent for a moment.
Who is it, Mom?
I’m not sure. I don’t think we should let him in.
There’s a lady over there, Mom.
Mrs. Baker turned back toward the kitchen. A woman stood in the doorway. Her eyes were hollow sockets and her cheeks were sunken pits. She made no sound, but moved a little closer and stopped, swaying.
This is the day they always told us about, she told her daughter. Go open the trap door; I’ll be there in a minute.
Mom, I don’t want to.
They won’t hurt you; just go.
Her daughter stood in place, trembling.
Go do it! Hurry! I just have to get some supplies.
The woman made a rumbling cracking noise and started, slowly, forward. Mrs. Baker’s daughter ran down the hall. Mrs. Baker circled the woman and returned to the kitchen, where she pulled out the junk drawer, taking two flashlights and several packs of batteries out. She wrapped them in a dish towel and turned toward the doorway. A large man stood, blocking her, all black teeth and rotting scalp.
Mrs. Baker stopped. Daddy? She said.
Mommy! Her daughter cried, somewhere down the hall.
The man moved away, startled, and moved slowly toward the open door to the backyard.
Daddy! Mrs. Baker yelled. Don’t go!
Daddy, come back!
Mrs. Baker moved to the doorway and watched her father lumber over the grass and out into the alley.
Mommy! She’s coming this way! I don’t like her, Mommy!
I’ll be there in a minute! Mrs. Baker said. Just close the door, I’ll be right there!
Mrs. Baker watched her father lumber away in his funeral suit, and was reminded of her childhood.