By Ali Seay
Content Warnings: Child harm.
She’s seen Daddy eat two children. It had been months apart, but Annie had the bad luck of witnessing both from her treehouse in the woods. Daddy hunted at the back of their property. The woods stretched out to many neighbourhoods. There were always kids wandering around.
Her father had turned into something not her father. Something with large jaws and a dark hunger. Something that salivated and consumed.
From her perch, she’d heard him mutter, ‘Not Annie. Never Annie…’
Once, at bedtime, she’d told her mother. Mommy laughed, of course. ‘What a crazy dream!’
‘But it wasn’t.’
‘Oh honey, it was. Just a dream.’
She’d told her best friend Tim. ‘How many drugs are you doing?’
‘None. I’m only ten.’
‘Well, you have to be doing something.’
‘It’s true,’ she’d said on the verge of tears.
Outside, cold wind licked the eaves of the house, howling like a hungry thing. Streetlight twinkled off the enormous icicles that hung outside her window.
The blizzard had come on silent feet in the middle of the night. A sudden snowy surprise. It drowned the neighbourhood in nearly two feet of frigid whiteness. They were cut off.
No school! Snow days! She should be so happy. All the other kids were. And yet, she was afraid.
Her father hadn’t feasted in a while.
Her ears strained. All she could hear was wind and her ears ringing. Then there came the creak of her parents’ bedroom door. Next, a shuffling walk down the hall toward her.
She listened hard and heard him mumbling.
‘Where’s Annie? Need Annie…’
For the last 15+ years, Ali Seay has written professionally under a pen name. Now she's shaken off her disguise to write as herself in the genre she loves the most. Ali lives in Baltimore with her family. Her greatest desire is to own a vintage Airstream and hit the road. She is the author of Go Down Hard (Grindhouse Press) and To Offer Her Pleasure (Weirdpunk Books). Visit aliseay.com for more information. You can find Ali on Twitter @AliSeay11.