“Sorrel,” Mona whispered into the dark. “Sorrel, wake up!”
Mona’s brother grunted and then rolled onto his side, exposing his back to her. Mona threw back the covers of her own bed and bounded over to Sorrel’s. She jumped up on the edge and gave him a sharp poke, but she never took her eyes off the window.
“What?” he snapped at her. The sleep was on him and only have his attention was on her. “What do you want?”
“He’s back,” Mona whispered in a voice that said much more. “He’s come back again tonight!”
Sorrel shot up in his bed at her words. All traces of sleep sloughed away from him. His big blue eyes, eyes just like her own, flew to the window where Mona’s rested. Sorrel struggled to focus.
It took him only a few moments to find him. The bent-backed, rickety shape of the creature stretched out against the heavy blue of the Edinburgh skyline. The crooked outline of chimneys surrounded it on all sides, cloaking him in a forest of slanted rooftops. Mona’s heart pounded but Sorrel rose from his bed and made his way toward the window.
“He’s heading this way again,” he whispered. “He’s coming right down the side of Mr. Gunderson’s.”
“What will we do?” Mona asked her brother bravely, her eyes breaking away from the moonlit filled window for the first time. A glint of white, hazy light caught the folds of her linen gown. “He will get inside this time for sure!”
Sorrel nodded solemnly, looking very much like their father for a moment.
“We will have to fight him off. There’s no use waking mother. It is up to us, Mona.”
Mona trembled, but nodded in ascent. It took them only a few moments more to ready themselves and creep slowly down the stairs. They could hear the creature rooting around in the cellar long before they saw him.
When they reached the top of the cellar stairs, they noticed the door was already ajar. Sorrel, taking his sisters hand, edged closer to the open door. They both looked through.
He was there at the bottom of the stairs, rooting and digging. His crooked shape moved even more grotesquely in the thin darkness. Mona edged closer to her brother and peered around him. Something about the creature surprised her, but Sorrel only looked worried. After a tremulous silence the long black head of the creature snapped forward and burning eyes of red peered at them through the darkness.
The creature let out a blood curdling scream before turning and fleeing into the darkness and up the cellar stairs. Mona wanted to scream, but a new fear paralyzed her. Sorrel squeezed her hand and his sister noticed his palm was sweating.
When they had recovered, the two children made their way cautiously down the stairs towards the overturned boxes and trashed belonging where the monster had rested only moments before. Sorrel held his single candle aloft, his eyes darting amongst the rubble.
Suddenly, a glimmer caught the corner of Mona’s eye. She stopped and tugged at Sorrel’s hand.
“There,” she whispered, pointing towards the glowing shape through the darkness. “There’s something there.” Sorrel slowed and stopped, turning towards his sister’s outstretched arm.
Taking a deep breath, they took a few steps forward. It was Mona that bent down to grasp the little glowing box. It’s surface was scratched all over with strange symbols. In an instant it all began to make sense.
“Oh my,” Sorrel whispered into the darkness. “That is very bad indeed.”